Horse Riding Lessons Advice ASAP! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 05-01-2015, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Saskia View Post
I know everyone praises lunge line lessons and I am sure they are super beneficial but I'm not sure they're the best early lessons.

I've known a few beginners who started with lunge lessons and it was too confronting to them. They felt out of control and powerless. Especially bending, putting hands on head etc. It might be "good" for them but I don't think its that enjoyable.

I'd spend the first session making it fun and empowering the rider. Teach them basic control, do some pole bending and patterns, transitions etc, basic ground work. Then maybe after a few sessions start the lunging for part of their session.

Maybe I'm wrong, but that's just my two cents.
I agree with Saskia on this. The first lesson for an adult would be leading and grooming and a little about tacking up ( remember that even adults will forget some things before the next lesson) The riding part would be learning stop, go, right, and left. Then on to figure eights and small circles. This builds confidence and I want the student to leave the first lesson feeling "Wow I can ride a horse at a walk!" I want them to learn the basics of correct position but again there is a lot to remember so I want the student to learn to feel for the correct position. Once I explain it I will say "feel for your legs" more often than "legs forward, heels down" for example. I think once the student has confidence to control a horse at a walk, a lunge lesson might be helpful. You can control the horse and they can concentrate on sitting or posting to a trot.
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post #12 of 19 Old 05-01-2015, 11:15 AM
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I start my first lessons on an exercise ball. I have them straddle it & feel how them moving their body a little moves the ball & explain how it works the sameway with a horse. The ball also helps them learn to keep their feet under them.
They next thing I have them do is remove a shoe, put a bit with reins under their foot & I jerk like crazy on it(kidding about that part) I do have them pull on the reins so they know how little it takes to send a signal. That gets the point across.
I always tack up the horse myself, especially the first few times. I explain as I go. I find people are anxious to ride & won't remember the details anyway.

I ride the horse first so they can see it's not a killer & I show them basics including what not to do. I use a regular leather halter for early rides to save my horse. I can ride them from the ground so really it doesn't matter so much what the person does- I have the brakes.

One thing I am really fussy about is for the rider to always have the reins in their hand while mounting, even though I am also holding them & never to fully trust the person holding the horse. I try to trick them too now & then by telling them to" let go of the reins, I've got them." The correct answer is 'No"

When teaching it's really important to explain the 'whys' not just the how to's.

I mainly teach raw beginners & fear riders so your rider may need less.
I think you'll have fun.
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post #13 of 19 Old 05-01-2015, 12:18 PM
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I have someone I am teaching that got bucked off a horse at a gallop. She CAN gallop, she used to love it, but she is terrified. I have had 4 lessons with her now for an hour each and we are still doing patterns at a walk. We have started having me lead the horse at a trot, then do a walking pattern, then lead at a trot. She gets scared if the horse starts walking fast or shakes her head at a a fly because of the other horse she used to ride at her lessons. Those lessons were given to her by a teenage girl (can't say anything about that since I am one..) but they taught her stuff like jiggle the reins for go and it's okay to hold onto the saddle horn all the time. So, I have had to correct those things. We are just barely starting to trot a little bit. I guess what I'm saying is go slow, but you have to push a little bit more each lesson as they get better if they are scared. My jumping teacher pushes me and I don't want to disappoint her. Sure, my goal was to be able to lope jumps, but the lesson horse is very energetic and her lope+jumps+english saddle kind of scares me, teacher told me I could do it and to try the jumps at a lope after doing them at a trot for a couple times, I did it because I didn't want to disappoint her, but I did it. And I got better. I went over the jumps once at a lope but next time, I know I will have to do it more than once, because she pushed me until I am comfortable and then pushes me to do the next thing. Sorry, I kind of rambled. :)
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post #14 of 19 Old 05-01-2015, 12:28 PM
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It's my experience in learning and in giving my short teaching/advice on things that mirrors many here. Repetition and taking it slow. It can cause some people to get a little impatient, especially if they pick up the simple bits fairly quickly, but the key is that you want those core basics to be ingrained to the point where its near second nature. To where they don't have to think they just do.
That requires repetition - it means each lesson will want to recap what the previous one went over before you even think about teaching something new; and for a hands on skill you want to repeat key parts in action not just go over the theory.
A solid foundation is much easier to build off than one built too quickly and which then means if something does go wrong they have a much firmer grounding in the basics to work from.

I'd also encourage you to have them do some self critique of their riding. That is ask them how they feel about what they are doing. It's a very good thing to do if you spot them doing something wrong. You pause things and ask them to go through it and hear their thoughts. That way you can identify why they are making a certain mistake (sometimes over and over) without realising - it also means you can find out if they know they are making a mistake and correcting it in the wrong way or not ascribing enough importance to it to make a correction.

Originally Posted by natisha View Post
I try to trick them too now & then by telling them to" let go of the reins, I've got them." The correct answer is 'No"

When teaching it's really important to explain the 'whys' not just the how to's.
Trick questions are always a bit iffy - a rider has to have confidence and trust in the trainer so that if you say something they know to do it. Might come a time when you do want them to let go - when the best and correct thing is to let go; but if you've built up a history of tricking it will make them pause. Might not even be reigns, could be something else that suddenly you tell them to do out of the blue that isn't normal.

That said you could certainly do it in a short term more jovial way (ergo once or twice after teaching the lesson) just to drive home hte point (which I suspect is what you're aiming for).

And I fully agree as to the whys. Indeed I always encourage people to ask why not just take critique or commentary at face value. Generally speaking I have found that its the most important thing; not just the instruction but the why; why its important; why you do it this way etc... Without the why instruction is sometimes pointless as you only end up teaching them such core basics that they can't build from nor adapt into other situations.

As another thought some "anatomy mechanics" can help as well. Nothing in-depth but having an appreciation for what is going on with the horse and their bodies - understanding the mechanics of a situation - can really help make people appreciate certain core aspects (rather like the example above about the bit in the foot).
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post #15 of 19 Old 05-01-2015, 01:36 PM
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Start off gentle, the way its done where I work is to teach people from the get go to groom, saddle and bridle their own horse, every time, and I think that's probably a really good thing. people get to learning that horses aren't out to kill them and in that and they start learning to handle them in a very basic sense.

Most of the lessons I teach are of children, though I have taught a few adults, and I'm only very new the whole horse riding instructor caper (I have been riding horses for around 31 years and training them for about 20 to 19 years so the whole horse riding thing isn't new to me), though I seem to be picking up the instructing fairly quickly even through I'm having to learn a whole new way of riding to do it (I am learning to teach "English" style though I orrigianlly learned Western/Vaquero style). What I have noticed in the teaching I have been doing is that safety is really a big deal.

Having done the teaching I have, I think its 1) surprising that this person was cantering after three lessons, and 2) that the girth was in a position to get loose in the first place, someone who has ridden three times is in no position to know how to cinch up a saddle, it all has to be checked and double checked by the instructor. But be that as it may, and assuming everyone is ok, put past things behind and get on with doing it right next time.

since this person is willing to continue, I'd start off nice and gradual. So, as I teach people I like to think of things that a person needs to ride well. they need good aids. legs, hands and so on, they need a good seat, they need to relax, and all of it to me at least seems to depend on a good seat. I watch people ride and if their seat isn't there they pull on the reins to stay on the horse, they can't engage their leg aids, they cant use the reins properly, and they cant use their seat.

What I would do with this person, were they to show up and I was their instructor is to work on their seat. I wouldn't have them do anything past trot. I wouldn't necessarily have them on the lunge line, but I would keep them hemmed in fairly close and keep them working on getting something approaching an independent seat (or as much of that as possible in a one hour lesson). Just getting their heels down, and under them, moving through the hips and keeping the hips in the saddle with the legs consistently where they should be, relaxed through the shoulders and arms so as not to be pulling on the reins and their hands relatively still.

slow and steady would be the key, do it at a walk, then perhaps rising trot. if there is any uncertainty in steering or impulsion/stop in the rising trot, pull it all back to the walk, do lots of exercises to marry up good control with a good seat.

I don't know what this person you are teaching is like, hopefully they are mature enough to understand that faster (i.e. canter) potentially means more dangerous. If the person is anything like the kids I teach they are always champing at the bit (pun intended) to canter, and they need to be reined in (yep, another intended pun) for their own sake, but usually if you give them a task that is RELITIVELY complex enough they forget about wanting to canter. So what I mean, is if I figure a person isn't to a stage they can, say trot, and they want to, I tell them, "well lets see how you can control the horse at a walk doing, such and such a task" I make that task such that it pushes them to the limit at a walk, and pretty quick they see that they need to work on control rather than speed.

Slow and steady ALWAYS wins the race where quality and safety are concerned.
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post #16 of 19 Old 05-04-2015, 03:57 AM
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I've had kind of a nontraditional training and point of view, but I think that the first few lessons should be on the ground and a person should know how to handle a horse on the ground and understand how to tack up/groom/halter/basic horse safety/knowledge/etc before ever getting on a horse. If someone can't handle a horse on the ground, then how do you expect them to handle a horse when they're on its back and there are a million more things to worry about? I feel like there are too many people who jump straight into riding without ever actually getting to know and understand how horses work. I have a friend who rode for a few years and is an excellent jumper, but she didn't know what colic was when I mentioned something about it a few months ago. Doing more groundwork in the beginning would solve a lot of the problems mentioned above, and a lot of the problems caused by first time horse owners who don't know how to care for horses or good riders who don't know how to train.

After the student is comfortable on the ground and understands how a horse will react and respond to things, then I think they should start on a lunge line, bareback. This allows them to work on their seat without worrying about reins or stirrup length or anything. Once their seat improves and they feel more confident, they can move up to the trot and maybe eventually to the canter. Sometime after they develop a good seat and balance and learning to trot, I would switch them to a saddle.

At this point, I would work on transitioning them to the saddle and teaching them to keep their seat and to not rely on the horn or their hands. After this, I would gradually transition them over to riding with reins, instead of on a lunge line. Most people I know started in snaffles, but depending on what you're doing, it might be easier to teach them to one hand in a curb first. Once they mastered all of the gaits and plow reining and neck reining, then I would move to riding in different arenas and starting some trail rides. Once they were comfortable riding anywhere at any gait, then I would begin to focus on a discipline. It would also be good at this point to try having them ride other horses so they can learn to adjust to each individual horse's strengths, weaknesses, and training.

Of course, most people don't like doing this because they want to jump straight into cantering or barrel racing or all sorts of complicated things without taking the time to actually learn and understand. I believe in starting both horses and riders very slowly, but in today's world, people want everything right away. I feel like that's where most of our problems come from, but I guess some people aren't willing to wait a little longer to be a little better.
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post #17 of 19 Old 05-06-2015, 12:37 PM
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My first question would be what makes you capable of offering instruction? Not asking to be mean or expecting an answer but to give you time to pause and reflect. I would expect if you felt the need to ask here you may not be as ready as you think you are. Do you have insurance to cover you, your horse and protect your/family property should something happen? Even a liability form won't offer complete protection in the event of serious injury. What is your age? How long have you been riding? Have you had instruction from someone knowledgeable that you could pattern your first lessons from? Do you have experience training and working with horses? Is your horse an already finished beginner safe horse? Why? For your safety and or age? If you are under 18, are your parents aware that you are offering lessons? Are they aware of the liability involved? I personally would start with basic grooming and handling and end the lesson with walking in an enclosed ring. I love the idea of the exercise ball. I may have to bring mine out for a lessons. Never thought to use the foot for feel. I always placed a shortened broomstick with attached reins in their hands and worked the reins from behind their back.
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post #18 of 19 Old 05-07-2015, 02:04 PM
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I would start her in a round-pen or on a lunge-line. I find that it is a HUGE confidence builder for people who have had any type of a negative exp. It's nice to know someone is also in control in case anything ever happens.

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post #19 of 19 Old 08-11-2015, 08:54 PM
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I rode for a long time then I did teach some lessons in my early 20s. As a rider transitioning into teaching, I had to remember not to overwhelm the rider with to much info.

They need basic info and repetition. Heals down shoulders back, eye forward. Pick one aspect to 'teach' for 3 lessons, then add it something new.
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