Horsemanship lessons? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-19-2011, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Horsemanship lessons?

I was hit up today about giving lessons to a girl here in town and I said I would have to think about it. I've never given or gotten lessons before so maybe some of you folks who are a little more experienced with that part of it can enlighten me.

I know about all the insurance stuff that is required so we can skip over all that and I will require that the girl have a helmet and proper riding clothes.

What I am wondering about is everything else.
How much do you guys pay (I know it varies by area but I want to get at least a slight idea of what the average going rate is)?
Do you pay by the session or by the hour?
How long are your sessions?
How often do you go; once a week, more often, less?

I won't be able to really cover proper tacking up and stuff yet because she is still too young to do that herself but I will be covering basic safe horse handling along with riding.

Anything else that you can think of, feel free to chime in .
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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Just bumping this up because I really am curious. Also, it's not just restricted to students. If you teach lessons, please post as well.
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 09:43 PM
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How old is she?

My 7yr old has been tacking up for the past 6mo or so, I have a box for her to stand on and obviously she is "helped" the entire time but she knows what to do.

I pay $30 an hour because of her young age, she only rides for a half hour at $15. Her actual "ride" time is 30mins, the tacking/untacking is not counted.

She rides approx. 1x per week during the Winter, Summer she will be riding more frequently as she won't be in school.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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She's 4. I am still a bit hesitant just because she is so young, but then I remember that I was riding at that age. Plus, even if she was older, tacking would be nearly impossible for her, I don't have any ponies and all my stuff is so heavy LOL.

Thank you for the info D.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 09:53 PM
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Oh yeah, I forgot.... I am so used to my kiddo's tiny English saddle which weighs practically nothing. I don't think she can lift the kiddo Western saddle I have.

Well.... she can brush his legs! LOL My kiddo rode a 16hh Warmblood for a while, that was about all she could reach!
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 10:10 PM Thread Starter
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LOL, I'm sure Nester will get his fill of brushed legs and fingers in his nostrils.
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 10:13 PM
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My instructor gave lessons to a four year old with her own horse! (And she could almost ride better than me a 15!)

Because a four year old doesn't have as much focus as an older child, she only got 30 minutes of riding time. The girl who took lessons had enough experince to trot a horse all by herself. But for a first timer, I would say leadline lessons may be a good way to get started with your student

The lessons were given once a week. The cost was $25 a session (I believe). I also paid $25 for a 1 hour session. If the lesson ran a little long, she didn't charge more.

Hope this helps!
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Knack, I appreciate that.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 10:22 PM
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I generally charge $15 an hour (once a week). For younger kids (the youngest I'll teach is 6, I've found that younger kids than that really don't have enough control over themselves to be able to control a horse too...and they have a harder time focusing on the teacher and they tend to be more easily frustrated, in my experience) I suggest to their parent that we can try an hour long session the first time, but I advise them that a 45 minute session might be better since younger kids have a hard time focusing for a full hour. I've been charging $13 for 45 minutes.

I think that a small child who's never ridden is quite a bit different than one who's grown up around horses, like you did. You probably had a sort of innate sense about them since you probably watched other people (grown ups) ride quite a bit (and how the mechanics of put the reins like this and the horse does that, etc), but a child that's never been around a horse is probably going to have a lot more fear and concern, coupled with less understanding about how horses "work", about what the horse "might" do. So that might another issue for you to consider, do you have the patience to work with a kid that may very well just want to sit on the horse for 15 minutes and do nothing else for the first few lessons? Are you able to put any agenda/lesson plan you may want to have to the the side and just go off of what the kid is comfortable with?

Another thing I found to be super important with my littler kids was to have a tiny (I think the one I'm using is a 10 or 12 inch) saddle. I'm actually borrowing one from my camp right now and that's been so amazing. It became apparent to me after my first lesson or two that my 15 inch saddle was not going to cut it. It might have been different if I was teaching on level ground, but those poor kids were sliding all over and having the hardest time letting go of the saddle horn (especially since the stirrups couldn't get short enough for them).

Another thing I do is I keep them on the lunge line for the first bazillion sessions (until they can stop, start, and steer without too much thought). Especially for the scared ones, they seem to really gain confidence knowing that they are in control but that I'm also in control if they need me. I like to do all sorts of crazy stuff with them, like having them stand up in the saddle, put both their hands in the air, take their feet out of the stirrups and put them back in without help, etc. I think those silly things really help them become more confident that they are going to stay in the saddle, it helps them develop an independent seat, and it helps them not rely on their hands so much.

And with the 4 year old, I would tread very cautiously, actually, I don't think I would do it. But that's just becuase I know Lacey isn't THAT calm yet and the facilities I have access to aren't easy enough for a child that small. If I had a perfect horse and better facilities, I think I would still be cautious. I mean, one scare for a 4 year old could really turn them off horses for life. But, at the same time, if you have the ways to do it safely and make it fun, I think that would be really great! I mean, I wish I had started riding when I was 4! I had to wait until I was 8 to ride a horse for the first time and it was lame to have to wait that long.

Wow, novel much? Haha Hopefully some of that was helpful! Good luck! Giving lessons is so rewarding. I LOVE it. The key is staying positive and acting like nothing is a big deal, even if your horse almost ran over the kid (Lacey.................LOL!). Lessons are great, and the gifts you get from kids sometimes? Priceless. Today my favorite kid (6 years old) gave me a sheet of paper that had a few drawings, each drawing (that looked sort of like blobs) was labeled in order: "cat, rabbit, horse, elephant, dolphin". It was super great.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

~
Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-20-2011, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot Wallaby . Getting the saddle won't be a problem, my brother has one that his youngest was using before losing interest in horses, plus, Nester is about as calm of an old plug as you could ask for.

I didn't really have much of a lesson plan except to keep them in my roundpen for the first quite a while until she could confidently stop, walk, and steer. I hadn't really thought about the lead line thing until you mentioned it though so really thank you for that.

I'm still debating so every little bit helps to give me new insights about what I might face if I decide to take this on. In all honesty, doing this scares me more than getting on a young horse, how silly is that?
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