Lesson length issues - maybe time to move on?
I started up with a new weekly group lesson recently (a couple of months ago). It was going ok, but almost every lesson will start around ten minutes late, then finish five minutes early.
I earn my own money to pay for my lessons, so, understandably, I'm getting very annoyed at paying for an hour lesson and only getting 45 minutes. It's not a cheap hobby! I've called up twice this week to ask to speak to the yard manager about it, each time she's been "busy" and hasn't called me back.
The other problem I have is that the group has recently added two new novices, meaning we're back to square one. This weeks lesson had us only trotting for the hour. I didn't learn any new techniques or feel any improvement in my riding. I'm capable of cantering and small jumps, so it just felt like a huge waste of money.
Last week I had a different instructor that I really really liked. I had instant improvements in my riding and she had everyone looking great. Trouble is her only group lessons in the week are very advanced, and I know how it feels to be held back, so I can't really go into those groups.
I found out she does freelance instructing. I loan a pony one day per week, so could maybe have fortnightly lessons with her. I can get myself ready and warm Bruno up before I start my lesson, which is a big bonus! I know I'd see more improvement faster. The only cons with that idea is that I do enjoy being in a group and making friends, and I like learning to ride a range of horses.
What are everyone's experiences with freelance instructing? I'm a bit stuck on what to do.
Group lessons are sociable, but I think it's time for you to move on. And I would suspect that you will be ready to move in to the other group soon so you could always go for a few individual lessons, and then see about joining them.
Once riders are competent at w,t,c and jump, it is a lot easier to have a mixed ability lesson so you may actually be able to fit in with them now.
What's more important: socializing or improving your riding? There is no wrong answer. If you're paying for lessons you really shouldn't the socializing too much during the lesson though, so its probably not the best means of making friends anyway.
Personally, if it were me, I would try to take private lessons whenever possible.
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We had similar issues in our lessons with beginners being added to my daughter's group. Plus, my daughter is focusing on showing whereas these children just wanted to learn to ride without a real goal. (Which is fine, but it meant the lesson curriculum was not ideal.)
We resolved the issue by moving her to private lessons. She sometimes misses having other kids to ride with, so we try to go to playdays, trail rides, clinics, etc where she can ride with other kids her age...but her lesson time is focused on the skills she needs to accomplish her goals.
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I found private lessons to be most helpful for learning and progressing. No doubt they are more expensive, but you have all attention on you and your horse for the whole 45 mins. :)
Considering you're being short changed on both time and having new lower level riders introduced to your group, going private sounds like a far better option for you. Heck, once you improve some with private lessons, maybe you could join that other more advanced group you like.
I personally prefer private lessons over group ones, as you really get your time out of them instead of only a 1/3 or 1/4 of it. I went to groups lessons for a month and it seemed like I improved very little and learned nothing. My horse could easily jump 3' and up but I was stuck doing a little over a foot. Plus I got absolutely no feedback. Like above people said, whats more important, socializing or improving?
I'm selfish. I do private lessons only, when I have lessons. :-)
I want that instructors attention on ME for 100% of the lesson so I get my money's worth and I make the improvements I want.
Granted, I don't take lessons on a regular basis, so it's not as expensive that way, but for me, private is the way to go. I socialize before and after the lesson -- not during.
I think people have got the wrong end of the stick by me talking about the social aspect of a group lesson.
I don't have ANYONE to ride with at home. I always ride by myself. So getting to ride in a group with other people is quite a nice novelty for me.
But yes, I understand that's not the way for me to improve at all so I'll be sorting out private freelancing lessons with that instructor I like. Thanks everyone!
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