Ideas for beginner lesson for Adult? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-27-2020, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Ideas for beginner lesson for Adult?

Since we're in quarantine and the weather is starting to get nicer, my boyfriend has asked that I teach him how to ride. He's been on a horse exactly one other time in his life, which was when I took him on an easy, follow-the-leader trail ride last summer. So, suffice it to say he's a beginner-beginner .

If I just have him going in circles for an hour nit-picking his position/posture/hands/etc he won't be very happy about that, so I'm looking for some fun and interesting ideas for these lessons. I think it will be best to start him off doing walk-only until he feels confident enough to want to trot (He tried it on trail with me and wasn't a fan).

Don't worry, I've been teaching him the ins and outs of horse care and tack for a while, so I've got that covered. And I've taught lessons before, just never with someone so inexperienced.

Our first lesson is tentatively set for tomorrow, and I've got some "cones" set up for some serpentine, and some poles set up as chutes. I plan on just focusing on steering (Figure 8s, clover leaf) for now at least, along with getting the basic form down and all that. I'm definitely down for more steering obstacle ideas though!

Thank you in advance!
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-27-2020, 11:49 PM
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well, have him close his eyes for short periods of time, perhaps with you holding the reins, so he can tune into the 'feel' of moving with the horse's motion. Have him turn and put one hand on horses rump, then the other, staying upright in the saddle. Have him take one foot out, then the other, pick stirrups back up again.
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-28-2020, 06:59 AM
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1. Keep his lessons simple and SHORT:)

2. Don’t let him try to “re-invent the wheel” with the reins when he thinks you aren’t looking.

2.1. DH did this to me in 2002 out on a difficult trail. Had my horse not been the one with the horse sense and a solid trail horse, things could have ended badly.

I married him anyway but he has never been allowed to sit on any of my horses since that time - never - ever - not - into - the - next - lifetime.

***
I wish you the very best of good luck:):)
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A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-28-2020, 07:07 AM
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Don't nit-pick. If you want him to keep at it, don't pick apart his position. Focus on one thing per lesson, even one thing per week. don't expect everything to get fixed right away.

Keep it short, and praise him! Tell him he's a natural at something. I mean, don't lie, but find something to compliment. Teaching someone you love is completely different from teaching a stranger. Do you have two horses? Play games together. Turtle and hare (how slow can you get your horse to go from point a to point b, then how fast at the walk without breaking into a trot). Really though, 20 minute lessons are plenty. He may be very sore. Men don't open up at the hips as much as women. Give his body time to adjust. Encourage stretching before and after. If you overdo it, he'll hate it and won't go back.
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-28-2020, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewclaw83 View Post
Our first lesson is tentatively set for tomorrow, and I've got some "cones" set up for some serpentine, and some poles set up as chutes. I plan on just focusing on steering (Figure 8s, clover leaf) for now at least, along with getting the basic form down and all that.
This sounds fine for a first lesson. If you want to have him focus on something make it one thing like hands or sitting up straight or whatever. Just really basic steering is a good first one.

No to the nitpicking lol. Guys hate that especially when trying to learn something, it's called nagging :)
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-28-2020, 08:53 AM
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If he's anything like most people he'll want to trot and then canter before hes "ready" ahah. In the lessons I've been in that had men in them as well as helping a friends husband it is also my experience that they struggle with opening up and relaxing.. unless they are already into some sort of fitness/flexibility hobby. The only thing I am strict on is contact with any noob I've allowed on my horse (and any non-noobs too!). I do not like people that fidget with the reins or move their hands too much and ofc those that are a bit too heavy handed. Posture? Bit of imbalance? Legs and toes everywhere? I can deal with those. But hands? Nope nope nope.

Some ideas:

- if English get him to do his stirrups from the saddle (or practice going up or down a hole). Also get him to tighten the girth himself.. or try ^>^
- teach him how to prepare to mount and get on "alone"

- once he's comfortable on his own in the arena or pen don't just be on him constantly. I really liked it during relaxed sessions where my instructor would say "the last 15minutes of the lesson is your own". It's sort of a given that you can't just hoon the horse around the arena. But when he's ready walk away and just observe from a distance. Let him have some time just to connect with your horse. Let him ask her to trot because he asked her and not because you asked. Those moments for me were the most precious, even if it was just walking on a long rein at the end of the lesson.

- if your horse is ok maybe lead him and make him go on your horse bare back. With my friend I also made her get on facing backwards and doing a lap on her tummy sideways

- once on make him do things like reach for the ears, reach back for the tail with each arm and reach for his toes etc

- maybe at least 5mins no stirrups walking each session to help stretch and in later lessons make that 5mins trotting instead and hopefully a whole lesson and a canter! One can hope!

- I also really like it when you attach something to the arena that requires you to sort of park and wiggle your horse to get (and bend down). A bit like doing a gate... and give him a location. If successful both your horse and he get a treat ^>^

- Egg and spoon xD

- 20mins-30mins is DEFINITELY enough

Take plenty videos.... they always wanna watch themselves. I just cringe when I see me ride tho ahaha
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-28-2020, 10:18 AM
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I'd start him in a western saddle. About the only arena work I'd ask of him is standing in the stirrups at a short trot - while holding the horn with one hand to get the feel. I've now been riding for 12 years and this guy still hates sitting a trot. Not in love with posting either. If the horse is trotting, not "jogging", then I prefer to get off his back and stay off. My horse prefers it too - studies shows it reduces peak impact pressures by 20% compared to BOTH sitting and posting.

Then either play games in the arena or go out on a trail. Western teaches to leave a little slack in the reins unless you need to ask the horse something specific. That is a good approach for a beginning rider.

Do NOT tell him much about "position". IMHO, position quickly becomes the enemy of balance, and good riding is about feeling the balance. Position is static and resists motion. Riding is more like staying on a surfboard or playing handball - you move to play the game.

I started jogging in 1972. What I didn't realize when I started riding in 2008 was that the muscles that need to be tight for good running need to be loose for good riding, and vice-versa. To this day, the fastest way for me to get my legs and hips looser - and to find my balance on a horse - is walking or trotting while standing in the stirrups. I see nothing wrong with using one hand for steering and one on the horn during those first few minutes, standing in the stirrups just walking or light trotting. After 5 minutes, my body will be loose enough that I can ride better. In the meantime it gets me used to staying balanced above my stirrups and stretching my legs down long around my horse.

But I think most guys do best learning by trying rather than learning by listening. A lot of us overthink things too, and riding isn't about rules but about feeling and adjusting one's balance to match the horse. Don't know where you live but hills, lots of turns, SHORT trots (50 yards is fine at first), rough ground are great for keeping man and horse busy with footing and balancing together.

And if the horse can be ridden bitless, go bitless to start. If not, emphasize a little slack in the reins and moving the hand (or hands) to keep a little slack since the horse needs to move his head. Tell him the horse is his team mate and he needs to learn to help the horse help him. That is is a team sport. If there is anything I'd like a new rider to learn it is that horses love working as part of a team.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-28-2020, 11:16 AM
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Depending on what sort of horse you have, I would honestly just teach him the basics and how to be safe, and let him explore the arena how he would like for the first 'lesson'. Make sure he is holding the reins correctly, communicating with the horse clearly, and what to do if things go wrong. Beyond that, give him a bit to figure out how to find his ideal balance point.

I'm lucky enough to have a horse that is pretty much bombproof, and generally 'adjusts' himself to fit what level of rider he has. I've had a complete beginner ride him WTC after I struggled to get him working correctly with me - he just knows when to be challenging, and when to be forgiving. My non-horsey SO decided he wanted to learn how to ride, and I spent 10 minutes just watching to make sure he understood the basics, and let him have fun. Every time we go out to ride I always ask if he would rather just go on a ride or if he would like to have a more formal lesson. Once he decided that he enjoyed just going on a ride, he would ask much more often to formally learn things, because he was now invested in becoming better.

Since that first day when I saddled up for him and just let him have fun, every time afterwards he insisted on grooming and saddling his own horse, and learning more. When we just decide to have fun and go on rides, I still keep an eye on him and teach him little things while we go. When the farrier comes out, he asks to come and watch the farrier work. When the horse dentist comes out, he also asks to come and watch. When he sees me do something he hasn't yet learnt, he asks me when he can learn how to do it, and what he needs to learn leading up to that.

I guess with all of this, the main thing I recommend is to give him a chance to really catch the 'horse bug' before loading him with things to do and learn.

Toofine - 1998 Half Arabian
Minnie - 2013 Morgan
ClearDonkey is offline  
post #9 of 15 Old 04-28-2020, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
well, have him close his eyes for short periods of time, perhaps with you holding the reins, so he can tune into the 'feel' of moving with the horse's motion. Have him turn and put one hand on horses rump, then the other, staying upright in the saddle. Have him take one foot out, then the other, pick stirrups back up again.
This is a good idea! Might save that for next time time though, as closing your eyes on a horse does require a bit of trust lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
1. Keep his lessons simple and SHORT:)

2. Don’t let him try to “re-invent the wheel” with the reins when he thinks you aren’t looking.

2.1. DH did this to me in 2002 out on a difficult trail. Had my horse not been the one with the horse sense and a solid trail horse, things could have ended badly.

I married him anyway but he has never been allowed to sit on any of my horses since that time - never - ever - not - into - the - next - lifetime.

***
I wish you the very best of good luck:):)
Oh definitely. I work at a public trail riding barn and am very used to helping people with the reins XD
On our little summer trail ride, he rode my horse. Yeah he's not doing that again lol. I have one of the trail horses here right now, I think they should get on like two peas in a pod (hopefully!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Don't nit-pick. If you want him to keep at it, don't pick apart his position. Focus on one thing per lesson, even one thing per week. don't expect everything to get fixed right away.

Keep it short, and praise him! Tell him he's a natural at something. I mean, don't lie, but find something to compliment. Teaching someone you love is completely different from teaching a stranger. Do you have two horses? Play games together. Turtle and hare (how slow can you get your horse to go from point a to point b, then how fast at the walk without breaking into a trot). Really though, 20 minute lessons are plenty. He may be very sore. Men don't open up at the hips as much as women. Give his body time to adjust. Encourage stretching before and after. If you overdo it, he'll hate it and won't go back.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgnmoose View Post
This sounds fine for a first lesson. If you want to have him focus on something make it one thing like hands or sitting up straight or whatever. Just really basic steering is a good first one.

No to the nitpicking lol. Guys hate that especially when trying to learn something, it's called nagging :)
My apologies, it seems my wording was not clear. I said that I did NOT want to nit-pick, as I KNOW he would hate it lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalraii View Post
If he's anything like most people he'll want to trot and then canter before hes "ready" ahah. In the lessons I've been in that had men in them as well as helping a friends husband it is also my experience that they struggle with opening up and relaxing.. unless they are already into some sort of fitness/flexibility hobby. The only thing I am strict on is contact with any noob I've allowed on my horse (and any non-noobs too!). I do not like people that fidget with the reins or move their hands too much and ofc those that are a bit too heavy handed. Posture? Bit of imbalance? Legs and toes everywhere? I can deal with those. But hands? Nope nope nope.

Some ideas:

- if English get him to do his stirrups from the saddle (or practice going up or down a hole). Also get him to tighten the girth himself.. or try ^>^
- teach him how to prepare to mount and get on "alone"

- once he's comfortable on his own in the arena or pen don't just be on him constantly. I really liked it during relaxed sessions where my instructor would say "the last 15minutes of the lesson is your own". It's sort of a given that you can't just hoon the horse around the arena. But when he's ready walk away and just observe from a distance. Let him have some time just to connect with your horse. Let him ask her to trot because he asked her and not because you asked. Those moments for me were the most precious, even if it was just walking on a long rein at the end of the lesson.

- if your horse is ok maybe lead him and make him go on your horse bare back. With my friend I also made her get on facing backwards and doing a lap on her tummy sideways

- once on make him do things like reach for the ears, reach back for the tail with each arm and reach for his toes etc

- maybe at least 5mins no stirrups walking each session to help stretch and in later lessons make that 5mins trotting instead and hopefully a whole lesson and a canter! One can hope!

- I also really like it when you attach something to the arena that requires you to sort of park and wiggle your horse to get (and bend down). A bit like doing a gate... and give him a location. If successful both your horse and he get a treat ^>^

- Egg and spoon xD

- 20mins-30mins is DEFINITELY enough

Take plenty videos.... they always wanna watch themselves. I just cringe when I see me ride tho ahaha
Having him do no stirrups for a bit to help him stretch out is a good idea, as is the "15 minutes to yourself", I may have to use these! Thank you! I was going to do 20 minutes ish, but maybe I'll do 15 of the "lesson" and give him 10 minutes to explore things on his own?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
I'd start him in a western saddle. About the only arena work I'd ask of him is standing in the stirrups at a short trot - while holding the horn with one hand to get the feel. I've now been riding for 12 years and this guy still hates sitting a trot. Not in love with posting either. If the horse is trotting, not "jogging", then I prefer to get off his back and stay off. My horse prefers it too - studies shows it reduces peak impact pressures by 20% compared to BOTH sitting and posting.

Then either play games in the arena or go out on a trail. Western teaches to leave a little slack in the reins unless you need to ask the horse something specific. That is a good approach for a beginning rider.

Do NOT tell him much about "position". IMHO, position quickly becomes the enemy of balance, and good riding is about feeling the balance. Position is static and resists motion. Riding is more like staying on a surfboard or playing handball - you move to play the game.

I started jogging in 1972. What I didn't realize when I started riding in 2008 was that the muscles that need to be tight for good running need to be loose for good riding, and vice-versa. To this day, the fastest way for me to get my legs and hips looser - and to find my balance on a horse - is walking or trotting while standing in the stirrups. I see nothing wrong with using one hand for steering and one on the horn during those first few minutes, standing in the stirrups just walking or light trotting. After 5 minutes, my body will be loose enough that I can ride better. In the meantime it gets me used to staying balanced above my stirrups and stretching my legs down long around my horse.

But I think most guys do best learning by trying rather than learning by listening. A lot of us overthink things too, and riding isn't about rules but about feeling and adjusting one's balance to match the horse. Don't know where you live but hills, lots of turns, SHORT trots (50 yards is fine at first), rough ground are great for keeping man and horse busy with footing and balancing together.

And if the horse can be ridden bitless, go bitless to start. If not, emphasize a little slack in the reins and moving the hand (or hands) to keep a little slack since the horse needs to move his head. Tell him the horse is his team mate and he needs to learn to help the horse help him. That is is a team sport. If there is anything I'd like a new rider to learn it is that horses love working as part of a team.
I guess I didn't specific the saddle I was using either, all I have are western saddles atm lol
I'll definitely have him try standing as well! And letting him try things. Thank you for your response!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearDonkey View Post
Depending on what sort of horse you have, I would honestly just teach him the basics and how to be safe, and let him explore the arena how he would like for the first 'lesson'. Make sure he is holding the reins correctly, communicating with the horse clearly, and what to do if things go wrong. Beyond that, give him a bit to figure out how to find his ideal balance point.

I'm lucky enough to have a horse that is pretty much bombproof, and generally 'adjusts' himself to fit what level of rider he has. I've had a complete beginner ride him WTC after I struggled to get him working correctly with me - he just knows when to be challenging, and when to be forgiving. My non-horsey SO decided he wanted to learn how to ride, and I spent 10 minutes just watching to make sure he understood the basics, and let him have fun. Every time we go out to ride I always ask if he would rather just go on a ride or if he would like to have a more formal lesson. Once he decided that he enjoyed just going on a ride, he would ask much more often to formally learn things, because he was now invested in becoming better.

Since that first day when I saddled up for him and just let him have fun, every time afterwards he insisted on grooming and saddling his own horse, and learning more. When we just decide to have fun and go on rides, I still keep an eye on him and teach him little things while we go. When the farrier comes out, he asks to come and watch the farrier work. When the horse dentist comes out, he also asks to come and watch. When he sees me do something he hasn't yet learnt, he asks me when he can learn how to do it, and what he needs to learn leading up to that.

I guess with all of this, the main thing I recommend is to give him a chance to really catch the 'horse bug' before loading him with things to do and learn.
I plan on putting him on a trail horse that's pretty experienced with beginners, and I'll definitely let him explore on his own a bit! He's already helped me tack several times, and so does want to do it on his own lol

Thank you for all the good suggestions guys! This was very helpful
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-28-2020, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Just to follow up a bit, the lesson went great!

What I ended up doing, was I had some cones and poles just set up for various exercises in the arena. After I helped him tack up (Which he's done before, but only ever with my help), we went out the the arena, I helped him on, then I gave him 5 (ish) minutes where I told him "Just walk around and get a feel for the horse". The very first thing he did was a serpentine around the cones! XD I think this period of exploration definitely helped.
After the 5 minutes (ish). I had him come over, I showed him how his heels and hands and everything should be, then I had him walk around and did a little "red light/green light", then taught him how to back up.
We then re-approched the serpentine, and I showed him how the various aids made differences in steering (Hands only, vs legs only, vs looking where you want to go, etc). He liked the comparisons and being able to see the differences. We did a couple different patterns with the cones, and figure 8s. It was not too hard for him at all, in fact it might've been a little too easy!

(Disclaimer: I very much abbreviated what we did in the lesson, and how we did it )
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