What to expect at first lesson - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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What to expect at first lesson

So I'm really excited for my first lesson (that I plan to have sometime in summer) and I've already done research.. which I don't know if it sounds silly but I ALWAYS research in depth before doing something. ( I've learned that with hamsters, if I haven't have researched in depth about them before getting my first hamster, then mine would all be unhappy and probably dead / died faster. )

Anyways, what did everyone do at their first lesson? (also I should mention that I have no experience riding!) Did you get a tour of the property? Basic horse care? Started to ride?

Thanks! :) (this forum has already been extremely helpful..!)

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post #2 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 06:54 PM
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I would imagine they'll probably have the horse up at the barn. If its a good barn, they may show you how to groom (have you groom) and tack up.

Then you'll probably go to the arena. They'll probably just keep you at a walk, learning how to balance, heels down, stop, turn, etc. Maybe attempt a trot if they feel you're ready.

Don't forget your helmet.
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Roman View Post
I would imagine they'll probably have the horse up at the barn. If its a good barn, they may show you how to groom (have you groom) and tack up.

Then you'll probably go to the arena. They'll probably just keep you at a walk, learning how to balance, heels down, stop, turn, etc. Maybe attempt a trot if they feel you're ready.

Don't forget your helmet.
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Thanks!! :)

( I don't plan too! )

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post #4 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 08:27 PM
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Do show up early. There will be paperwork to fill out.

First lessons are always a little awkward as you don't know anyone you need to do this business stuff and as a beginner (or even a more experienced rider) you don't know the drill.

Just show up early and bring a good attitude. Most places require helmet and shoes with heels. No this doesn't mean high heels. Most places will at least provide helmets but if you have your own awesome. It sounds like you do and I'm a little surprised as you say you haven't ridden before? If you have a fitting certified horseback riding helmet awesome, if not that is what you need, no bike helmet. Wear jeans or yoga type pants assuming you don't have riding pants.

If you want a tour ask for one *at their convenience* but I would expect one in the traditional sense- you should be shown all the stuff immediately relevant (I would have people walk with me and talk them through what I'm doing "this is where the brushes are" etc) but not a traditional tour of the property. I say "at their convenience because a busy lesson barn may not be able to provide that, if you want the traditional tour and to talk more broadly make an appointment before hand to tour the farm, a good farm would be happy to oblige.

Depending on the barn/schedule/time or general business I would either expect to groom or to have the horse ready. If you want one or the other this is the time to specifically say "so this is great but for next time I would like to try "x" if possible" (DO try and groom your own horse, the only way to do this is all the way!!). Then you will go in and ride, see first part of the paragraph you may help "undo" all the stuff after- cool the horse out/untack/brush etc.

It really depends on the barn and if you have any questions or want to try something different next time ASK!! I would definitely expect the staff to be reasonably accomodating or have a good answer why not (you may not be allowed to get your horse out of a group pasture for safety reasons for example). Do expect to be babied at first they don't know you and you are a beginner, but baby should be more "mentored" then pushed aside, this is supposed to be enjoyable and a learning experience which goes far beyond riding.

Riding is hard and possibly dangerous work, while you may trot or do offline work a good instructor will make sure you are solid in the basics before pushing you ahead. Don't expect too much too soon, that's a good thing, a good instructor will keep you entertained though, again this is supposed to be enjoyable (I just put this as some people are all "I've ridden 3 times why am I not jumping 3 feet").

Just communicate. I know I loved when people talked to me and if someone wanted to get on and get off fine, but if someone wanted to learn all about the horses (including and esp obscure "researching" questions ;)) and help as much as possible I would definitely encourage that as much as possible!!
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 09:37 PM
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First lessons really can vary.

Some riding schools take the approach where they want you to learn from the ground up, so they might introduce you to an unsaddled horse and show you how to groom and saddle.

Other riding schools take the approach of riding first, of getting the student right into the action for the first few lessons, and then later down the track educating them about saddling and grooming and stuff new riders might find "boring" without any riding context.

Some places expect you to saddle up before your lessons, so the entire time you pay for is spent riding. Others have the horses saddled throughout the day so there isn't an opportunity to prepare them.

The best thing to do is turn up early, introduce yourself and be open to whatever they do. Even if you haven't done your research the horse isn't going to die like a hamster :P
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 09:59 PM
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I assume you have already talked to the coach about what you will need in terms of attire. (I know that some people prefer not to wear a helmet, but if you plan on wearing a helmet (I do and recommend it at least for beginners but thats a whole 'nuther post) I can't stress enough that bike helmets are NOT riding helmets)

Some barns tack up for you, this is a pro/con sort of thing: On one hand you don't have to do anything but on the other you don't get the experience. Also they're likely to get it right.

If you tack up yourself (I have always tacked up for myself) ask as many questions as you want (I find it helpful to have someone show me by placing the saddle on the horse and then taking it off and then putting the saddle on myself -- this is for both the positioning of the saddle and how to get it up because there is a technique to this too). Tacking up correctly is of course important to your safety and your horses safety and comfort.

As for the actual riding portion of the lesson, each coach tends to have a different approach. I started riding at a barn where they tossed me up bareback -- it was good for my riding but the sink or swim method tends to be stressful for some folks.

I'd day most of the barns I have experience with will toss you up on a horse on a lunge line (you can google it) because this also helps with your position as your focus is on you not the horse. You will likely walk and trot a little. You may be introduced to the posting trot because even though it requires more leg strength and seems harder it is actually easier to balance. You kinda flop around at first if you try to sit it (it does take abs to do it right)

"I don't think he ever gave a thought to other people's opinions, which was just as well because they were often unkind."
-- James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-06-2015, 10:31 PM
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It depends on your instructor. At my first lesson many many years ago I learned how to put on a halter, lead a horse safely, basic grooming skills, basic saddling and bridling skills, and how to go, stop, and turn. Just remember to ALWAYS ask if you are unsure or curious about something. And have fun!
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-07-2015, 01:40 AM
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If you're quite nervous, an option is always to go and watch a lesson so you know what to expect.
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-07-2015, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone!! I'm guessing I will eventually go on a longe line since there are a lot of pictures on the website of kids on it.. anyways I am ordering paddock boots from amazon soon.. and most likely a helmet but we'll see! Here's what I've been lookin at ( My friend helped me pick things out as she has been riding for 8 years =) ) -

Amazon.com : Troxel Spirit Schooling Helmet Small Black : Equestrian Helmets : Sports & Outdoors

http://www.amazon.com/TuffRider-Wome...=paddock+boots

Another question, the first few lessons do not have to do with the discipline yet, no? It's just basic riding + horsecare? Or did it vary with you guys??

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post #10 of 21 Old 05-07-2015, 09:00 AM
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Leave all of your research behind and don't continually mention what you read or saw on a video. He or she knows what they are doing and don't always appreciate help from a beginner. I'm not saying to stop learning on your own, but simply don't offer up suggestions based on the little knowledge you have.
Just listen carefully, don't interrupt, be serious and strictly follow his or her directions.
You can certainly be friendly to the other riders, but don't seek to start conversations. You will find that riders are there for one sole purpose and that is to become better riders. They typically don't have an abundance of time to spend at the stables and they are paying for that time, so be mindful of that. They aren't being arrogant, but simply focused. You will be as well.
It is a difficult sport to learn and you never really completely learn it. That is one of it's beauties.

Relax, ride and enjoy !
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