What do you look for from professional English lessons? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-09-2011, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Southern Colorado
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What do you look for from professional English lessons?

I am trying to buy some English riding lessons for my little sister for Christmas, and there are so many people around here that think they know how to ride because they use an English saddle, but they work out of their back yard and I am not okay with that. I am looking to find a professional facility that provides horses and experienced trainers in the discipline. I used to practice low level Dressage and began HUS but it has been years and I am considering taking the lessons with her.

What I want to know, is what do you guys look for in a professional lesson/training session for English riding? I know that she would like to give the show jumping circuit a try if she really falls into the whole English thing, so that is the direction I want to steer her in. As far as fair prices, lesson horses, a knowledgeable trainer, etc, what should I keep an eye out for?

I have been riding forever, I am very experienced and I train as well but in the Western discipline (i.e. Western Pleasure, Reining, Working Cowhorse, etc) but she is very timid and a beginner rider. Please, any tips and advice would be wonderful :) Thank you and God Bless.

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APHAforlife is offline  
post #2 of 7 Old 12-09-2011, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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There are several possibilities, including teaching your sister to direct rein, but in an Western saddle. Since you live in CO, you might want to see if Julie Goodnight has any certified instructors--I don't know if she does, but her home base is in SW CO (I think), and I recommend her style of teaching.
Do you have any friends who ride English? And, do you own a beginner horse? Your friend could teach your sister on YOUR horse, that you already trust. Your horse doesn't care what style of saddle you put on him, as long as nothing hurts.
Otherwise, do a search for Certified instructors. Look for one who is fairly close and doesn't mind you watching a lesson or two before deciding. The person you want should have a string of calm and VERY RELIABLE school horses. My old QH, "Ro Go Bar," (1982-2009, RIP) was quiet and happy not moving until he had to. He gave many of my students a great deal of confidence. I even had one lesson with a timid beginner where the student just sat on him for the first full hour, and we talked. I made an exception for her and let only ride him until her confidence was better. Hope this helps! =D
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-09-2011, 12:54 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
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Speaking of my own experience only... I find 3 things to be important to me: 1) I and my horse progress, 2) Every lesson I learn something new and it keeps my attention, and 3) The instructor is honest and straight while encouraging (of course, lesson price is important too lol! ). I take dressage and jumping lessons (separately) BTW.

Now what works for one person doesn't work for other. So with lessons sometime you really have to try several trainers before you find one that works for you greatly. If your sister wants to show later on I'd look for the lessons in show barn from the instructor with successful students. Try to look for references on barn in area (I could find references on almost any trainer on my local forum when I was looking for one while back).

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post #4 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 06:12 AM
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Ask to "audit" lessons at some facilities, once you narrow your search. Any trainer/barn worth their salt should not have a problem with this. Is the instructor calm and encouraging? Are their riders in yours and your sister's age group? Do they have horses for beginners? Watch the other students - are they having fun while learning?
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-11-2011, 08:23 AM
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definetly sit in on lessons. Also look around an trust your feelings. What does the place look like ? A golf course or a garbage dump ? Horses look well kept, area maintained ?
Ask the trainer what their medevac plan is, the fact that they have one or have thought about it ahead of time goes a long way towards showing a certain level of professionalism. A place i looked at had a red plastic fishing box nailed to a fence post with EMERGENCY stenciled on it. In side the box was a phone, and inside was written, 911, Vet's number address of facility, and GPS coordinates to nearest place a helicopter could land.
Now none of those things prove the instructor is great and I am sure there is someone somewhere living at a salvage yard that is a great teacher, but play the odds and trust your feelings.. There is nothing that says you are committed for life. Take a couple lessons and see how it goes.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-13-2011, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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1. Do they ride well
2. Do they work with (your sister's) teaching style
3. Are you learning?
4. Do they have good lesson horses?
5. Are they affordably priced?
6. Do they have the right facilities to teach?
7. Do they have experience riding professionally or with training?
8. Are they honest, caring, and concerned about your well being?

Not in that order of course! But that's what I would look for.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-13-2011, 12:26 PM
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Are they insured.

That is step one and should not be skipped.

After that simply go to the various facilities you are thinking of and look around, watch some lessons. Being an experienced rider you will know a good lesson program from a bad one. It does not really matter that it is English or Western or whatever. Talk to the instructors about teaching timid riders, etc.
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