Realistic Expectations for lessons? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
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Realistic Expectations for lessons?

Hi guys!
I'm a newbie here and to horses. Last month I began to take lessons. superexcitingyay! I'm also sooo very sorry for this long post! I would like to set a goal for myself of what I'd like to be able to do by the end of the year but I don't know what's realistic? Also, what kind of schedule do horse coaches take with their students usually?

I am now in month 2 of lessons with a private coach who does lessons out of her own barn with her own horses. I started out going once a week for one hour (hour and a half sometimes). Once we started trotting I began trying to squeeze in twice a week. I'm not sure how many lessons I've had at this point. I would say I've had about 6 or 7 lessons or so?

So my question is- where are lessons usually at, at this point?

I am still working on trotting and have yet to try the canter/lope (is there a difference?). I've been off the lead rope for the last 3 or 4, started in a Western saddle but switched to an English saddle. Monday I did walking figure 8's over poles trying to get him to get the correct leg over first. It was only his (yes, the horse's), second time trying it though lol. I also did trotting over poles, both sitting and practicing posting. I'm better at steering when sitting the trot but I'm working hard at getting everything synced up with my posture, leg pressure, getting him to keep going, keeping on the right diagonal and steering while posting. (Which is harder than I though it'd be!)

She said she wants to make sure I have everything down before trying anything faster which I'm fine with. And I know I'm out of shape so maybe that's why I feel like I will never get past trotting and learn the canter. xD I'm just being impatient. I want to learn it all now! I love my coach so much but I don't want to ask and let her know I am impatient with myself lol.

I just wondered how other teachers went about teaching things and what I should expect in the upcoming lessons/months.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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A lot of the beginning stuff is "boring" but best not rushed! You will thank your trainer for a lifetime for laying down a good foundation! Horse back riding is a life long adventure, I've been riding 10 years (all different disciplines & trainers), teach some of my own students and I still take lessons!

I'd expect you to know how to post on the correct diagonal, do up up down steadily, have good body position, and be able to ride without stirrups. When they can ride without stirrups I'll let my students canter. Then comes the work on the seat, transitions, and leads. Then canter poles, no stirrup canter and simple lead changes. I'd say all that can EASILY take a year, or more, to learn.
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 08:34 AM
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It depends a lot on the trainer and the person taking lessons as well.

Some people learn faster than others, and it may apply to individual tasks as well. One thing you might pick up the first time you try it and other things make take a lesson or five to conquer.

Just take your time and enjoy! Better to learn it slowly and correctly than quickly and have to be taught again someday...
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Central Western NSW, Australia
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Put it this way -

Slow and steady wins the race really applies to horse riding. I've been riding irregularly for years, without lessons, and because of that it's not uncommon to find beginner riders who can ride better than me. It sounds like you have a wonderful trainer - You don't want to rush things. If you get everything perfect before moving onto the next step, learning that next step will undoubtedly be so much easier. Being able to sit the trot makes cantering easier, being able to do two-point makes jumping easier, being able to ride without stirrups helps you stay on!

At the rate you're going, I don't think it'd be a stretch to say that by the end of the year you could walk, trot, and canter comfortably and control the horse in each gait. Heck, depending on your trainer, you might even be starting to jump.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 09:46 AM
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Every trainer is going to have their own way of doing things and a good one will make sure you are 100% comfortable with one thing before rushing into the next. I rode as a child and then went without for about 25 years. When I got back to it a few years ago, I took some 'remedial' lessons to get back in the swing and then trailed for a while. Then last year I decided to learn English. One of the girls at the ranch taught me as a beginner and then I went to the main trainer. My goal with English was just to know how...since several of my friends have horses they only ride English and I am always being asked to ride them. When someone came to the ranch who really knew how to ride western (before him it was hunter/jumpers who just gave you a western saddle)...I started taking lessons with him. He knew I could ride and had no problem with walk, trot and canter, but I needed some fine tuning.

Now I have a new trainer that is working with me and my leased horse.

I ride with people who have been around horses their whole lives and still take lessons. We are never finished learning. I've also found that if you are having difficulty with one aspect (like my posting) it can help to try a new trainer, sometimes they can break it down and explain it in a way that clicks for you.

I was telling someone I ride with that another friend didn't understand why we still took lessons...knowing I'm a football freak she told me to tell them 'Tom Brady still had a QB coach, doesn't he?'
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 02:54 PM
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It all depends on you, your past experience, confidence you express, skill with what she has presented and age. It also depends on your trainer and her philosophy and method for teaching. Younger students (younger than teens) can be moved along fairly quickly as a general rule and exposed to much more quickly then scaled back to work on specifics. Teens it just depends but adults tend to move at a slower pace.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 06:41 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Different instructors have different ways of teaching.

Many students just want to be able to ride like they see on TV, or fast like their friends. To cater to this some instructors begin by moving people through pretty quickly, moving up paces once they have basic control and balance. This means that pretty soon the person might be cantering. However, is this student really riding, or just a passenger on a horse that knows what to do?

Eventually, once a student has moved through enough the next step is to improve it, which I think is where a lot of people stop lessons.

Then some instructors take a more skill based approach, working on and achieving competence as you go along. Even at the walk there is a lot to be learned; asking for a frame, extended walks, collected walks, flexion, turns, leg yielding, stopping and turning with seat. Then at the trot all of those things, and sitting and rising, adjusting paces, 2 point, stirrupless riding. Then there is riding in an arena, and riding out and I think a lot of people do spend a lot of time at walk/trot. I know when riding, I spend a lot of time at walk and trot. I guess I just feel that until I achieve what I want at the trot, there is no way I'll achieve it at the canter because to me the trot is in a way the easiest pace to achieve things in.

So I don't know what level you should be at. I learned in the sort of "fast and imprecise" way, and spent years later having to learn everything else. I would have preferred to learn it all right in the first place. I think as long as each lesson you feel that you learn something, and that you have improved on things, then you're moving at a good speed.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-28-2013, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for all the advice and feedback! I had no idea it took that long to get good as what I always considered to be the 'easy' strides LOL. I was wrong on that one!

I definitely do think that books and movies make it seem like people ride a few times and then they are off into the blue yonder Or yes, indeed I think Saskia has a point and that maybe the kind of lessons that I've heard about are the kind where you learn everything quickly but not maybe with as much quality. I could understand why people learn how to make the horse walk, trot, canter and then decide to stop. After all what else is there to learn? lol, apparently there's a lot!

Well, then I will just relax and go with the flow!

Today during my lesson my coach told me there might be a horse available that I can lease. (I had expressed interest last week.) Her boss is acquiring one this weekend that could work for a beginner. I told her that I might have been rushing things. I trust her to be a good judge of where I'm at and what I can handle. I'm thinking I'm probably not ready yet but it's nice to know that there is a possibility out there.

Oh and another reason I love her- Today she had my lesson horse in the paddock untacked. She gave me lessons on how to catch a horse and halter him so that he can't run off. That was exciting for me lol! I didn't know there was a method to it. (Well if they listen haha.) I caught him a couple times, then put his bridle on and led him to the barn where I brushed him out and saddled him. Then we went back into the ring and I practiced lunging him up to a trot. And then I got to ride. Because I'd expressed an interest in leasing she had the whole lesson set up to show me what I would have to do if I was on my own. Very awesome.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-28-2013, 04:39 AM
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It sounds like you have a great instructor. Most won't take the time to do this and you are getting quantity over quality. There a MANY of those fast-paced push it as fast as you can lesson barns around here where you really don't learn how to ride, they throw you on a horse and you're jumping within a few months. It may sound fun, but it is NO good in my opinion. Like others said, you need to learn the basics slowly!

It's great that your instructor is teaching you how to catch a horse, tack up, and lunge. I didn't know how to lunge until after 8 years of one had taught me.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-28-2013, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Central Western NSW, Australia
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If only more people had instructors like yours! Seriously, don't let that woman go anywhere, she's gonna turn you into one heck of a horsewoman.

But you get a lot of credit too, for realizing that horse isn't something you can learn overnight. And you aren't jumping into the possibility of having a horse! Such a relief to see.
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