Giving lessons

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Giving lessons

This is a discussion on Giving lessons within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Frustrating giving horse lessons
  • What is involved in giving horse lessons

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  • 1 Post By Rule of Reason

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    01-13-2012, 10:19 PM
Giving lessons

The county that I used to show horses in through 4-h is shrinking. It went from 115 horses to 21 horses within a year. Probably from a mixture of the bad economy and people simply loosing interest. I am a 4-h "graduate" and one of the few english and dressage riders that showed in that county. My 4-h leader wants me to get other riders interested in riding english so hopefully at the next fair there will be more activity. I donated some old tack I don't use: a saddle, bridle, saddle pads, ect. And the thing is no body knows how to ride english. So the club leader had me help one girl with english riding. I'm a decent rider, and I used to be heavily involved with taking lessons from a few great trainers. I first started helping her with showing her how to tack up, and explaining basic stuff. When she mounted I told her how her postition should be and worked on warming up. The lesson I gave her was just very basic material. We did work through a couple of problems her mare had; like being a bit balky and sucking behind the verticle. But pretty much everything I told her was so...basic. She's really quiet and doesn't ever speak up. I'm a shy and kind of awkward girl myself. I know what I want to say, it's just I have a hard time describing it clearly since I get this feeling she's not listening to me since she seems so unfocused. Does anyone have any suggestions to make it easier for me to get more in detail while I'm trying to explain something and also make it less awkward feeling? I can't really read her if she's enjoying it or not. Should I ask her questions like "do you understand that?" or something just for clarifcation since she doesn't really say anything. I'm not getting paid or anything, and I don't claim to be a trainer I'm just helping kids get started on english.
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    01-14-2012, 12:10 AM
Definitely ask her if she understands! I started teaching a friend of mine who doesn't speak English fluently English riding lessons a few months ago and had the same problems as you. I could tell he was focusing and trying really hard but he never said a word. Sometimes I stop him and explain something and he'll nod along but I can see that blank look on his face like he has no clue what I'm talking about. If I never asked him if he understood he would never tell me that he didn't. As for getting more comfortable the only advice I have is keep trying? Sorry that's not very helpful I know, but same as you I had a very hard time explaining myself. Sometimes I even found I would confuse myself or say something completely wrong and have to correct it. Now however you can hardly shut me up I'm always correcting and giving advice where needed. Teaching is definitely a skill and it takes time to aquire it and feel comfortable so don't beat yourself up, doing basic work is perfect for beginer riders.
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    01-14-2012, 03:58 AM
Yes, ask questions. It sounds like you did fine. I think you'll find if you keep it up you'll actually develop a "patter," kind of a script, you know, of things to say. You'll figure out that *most* people understand when you word it a certain way. Think back to how your own trainer(s) taught you and take the best from their examples. Think about how you like to have things explained yourself.

"Do you understand?" is okay, but personally I prefer to ask, "Does that make sense?" Somehow it seems less condescending to me (but then I train adults, not kids). Another trick you can use is to ask them to explain it to YOU. And of course, have them do as much themselves as they possibly can (but help them out enough so they don't get frustrated).

If you keep giving lessons, you'll probably also realize that you need to teach things in a certain order (like tacking up before riding, LOL), and so you may be able to write out a "lesson plan" beforehand. Then you'll kind of have an outline in your head of what you need to touch on, and the words may come out easier.

Have fun!
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