Teaching group dressage lessons?
My first post! Im currently working for a therapeutic riding center. We have 9 wonderful therapy horses who are great at their jobs. They are all senior horses. In addition to our regular therapy program, I have 2 groups of "able-bodied" beginner (w/t/c) adult riders. In the past (and all of my current therapy lessons) are private lessons. This is my first experience teaching a group. I am finding this to be quite a challenge as I feel I cant give all of my riders the attention they need. Neither horses nor riders have had previous dressage instruction. I know what needs to be worked on in both horse and riders separately but put them all together and I feel overwhelmed. I have tried teaching themed lessons (i.e. rhythm/relaxation, riding simple tests etc). I see so much progress in my private lessons but my groups seem to be progressing like snails (and they dont even have a physical/mental disability as my privates do!). I feel like I must be doing something wrong. My question is, what is the most effective way to teach basic dressage to a group of "average" riders on elderly "dull" horses. I know I cant expect perfection from them but id still like to give my riders a solid foundation. Any suggestions would be great!
This is my biggest challenge when I'm instructing as well! I often don't teach more then two (which can still be tough when one rider needs a little extra help with a horse who's having a bad day) but when we need to do make ups I bump up to three or maybe four. I try, if at all possible to give each rider a solid ten mins or so (depending on your time limit) of instruction. If you can give them some attention and something to specifically work on them send them back to the rail to practice while each person works on their vice it can work.
It's tough! If I remember other tricks I have I'll post em. Teaching is much harder then my instructors made it look!
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Romie, I'm speaking as a student, not a trainer... :) I did take group lessons in past and never progressed much (I did take them in 3 different barns). I did a good progress in my privates though. So its definitely something common. May be bring student one by one in mid of the arena to work individually while others are trotting around.
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