Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
My first lesson started with a brushing and tacking lesson.
Then after that we moved up to walking.
I was taught how to sit properly, leg position, controlling the reins, focusing on keeping them down and learning how to stop the horse properly.
Little reminders like not staring at the ground, using soft eyes, patting the horse when it does something right for me.
Once I was comfortable with this, my instructor had me stand in the stirrups at a halt. Then sit. Then stand.
Then we started walking and did this.
Then when she thought I was comfortable, we moved to a trot and she told me "up, down, up, down" until I could find the rhythm of the horse to post to the trot.
Once I could do that around the small riding ring, she started having me do turns and circles at the trot. Then we started doing a lot of 2-point work at the trot. then lots of directional changes in 2-point.
Then we moved on to no-stirrups work at the walk and then the trot. I had to hold onto the saddle pad for a long time (still have to, actually), but I'm getting more comfortable with it.
Eventually I learned to canter, though it took me a long time to do it and be comfortable. Now we're doing dressage type things along with jumping, and the same things I've done since the beginning.
It's only after I was doing lessons for a year that I did anything on the longe line! So if you have a small arena, you can do the lessons in there without the longe line and it might be better to learn the proper balance that way (on the longe, I find myself always falling towards the center). But longe-line lessons are good for learning to work without stirrups and without hands. That's what I used it for, anyway.
“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare