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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay. So I'm not really patient or good with little kids wo don't know any better. But recently I needed a new way to pay off my training at Toni's because she hired tons of paid hands to do chores. She said if I could teach little kids lessons, she would have more time to teach her advanced lessons and she would give me a breeding to her stud and 30 days training + board of my two studs. I will be teaching all through the summer, at least twice a day sometimes up to six lessons.

Dear God. I hate myself for agreeing to this.

Don't get me wrong, I love kids from a distance....but I can't spend hoursa day with them. Every day. For three months. That's trying my patience.

My first lesson was this morning, (I got out of classes. No work or anything. Free days) and I had four little girls. One screamed like a banshee everytime her horse trotted,the other simply refused all of my instructions and replaced them with her own, one was completely oblivious to my presence, and the fourth was actually trying, whcih brought me hope.

These kids are all six years old on old beater ponies.All the horses are capable of working still, but are completely numb to their commands. Toni wants me to teach them to lope. Oh goodness.

So I guess I need advice. I don't know how to deal with children real well, and I don't remember learning to lope real well. I was lopingin kindergarden....But then again I guess these kids are really close to that age too. I'm just teaching them basic leg aids and positioning and suff. The good little girl (Amy) already has her position almost perfect......with a little more practice. She knows where to put her legs even though they aren't long eough to reach all the way down yet. She can move front and rear ends, sidepass, all the stuff. She posts to trotting and stuff.....Next step is loping. I'm confident she can do it, but the others I'm not so sure are ready for it.

Advice please!
 

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from what I've seen my BO, trainer and some other trainers do-tell them that if they don't listen, they can get off the horse and wait until they're ready to listen to your instructions and actually try, simple as that. they'll get angry, and they may go home and tell mommy and daddy that you made them got off-just make sure you explain what happened to the parent(s)
same with the screamer-talk to her about it nicely, and everytime she screamed, then she ought to get some sort of timeout-such as doing something she doesn't like (as long as it's safe).
and if the one is oblivious to you-I would stay right by her and call her out on every single little thing you can-she'll learn to pay attention if she has a mind, especially if she's a child.
I've never taught lessons, or dealt with kids and horses together-I'm going mainly be just general things here, that I've done with my little cousins when I'm trying to teach them something.
oh, one more thing you could do, especially with the one that's ignoring you completely, walk her around. she won't like having to walk right beside you and have you hold her reins, if she listens, she gets her reins, if not-oh well. *shrugs* I'd imagine these working, if they're anything like the kids I've dealt with. :3
and about the loping-only teach the one that's ready-they'll eventually want to follow and ifthey listen and try, you'll allow them to; otherwise they get left behind and have to continue with all the "basics" that they'll most likely think are "stupid" or boring. :3
hope I helped some. :#
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That actually helped a bunch. Thanks, I'll have to try that. I really, really like Amy and I Xander her having phenomenal ridng in the future. She's already REALLY good, better than some of the older girls I see Toni teach.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry for the typos. iPod has an auto correct on it that messed me up. That 'Xander' was suppose to be 'see her'
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no problem, of loveto hear how it works out for you. (:)
and haha, she probably looks better than I do after a good 1.5 hour trail ride and run in the hay field on my wide little drafty I been riding. ;-; haha but I don't think I'd trade him for any of the other horses in the barn :3 he doesn't know this though haha
and yeah, it's great when a youngin shows reallygood potential, coz they'll have all the
time during their growing up to improve even more..which would be great, I'm going to do all Ivan to get my kid started young if I end up having one d:
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Six? In my opinion, serious riding lesson shouldn't start until about eight. It just doesn't seem to click when they are that young, and it's hard to built on their skills. But that was a little off topic -- back to normal programming!

Kids are like foals. High strung, full of energy, cocky... They're hard to teach. Like a foal, you have to keep them interested. You can’t have a full, intense schooling lesson with little kids, like you could with someone older. You have to teach them very, very slowly and slip in the important stuff beneath a layer of fun. Also, you have to give them their independence. Less repetition. Put them on a safe, easy going pony and take them on a trail ride. Find a field and tell the kid to pick a pattern and trot it. Weave around trees, do circles and squares and triangles -- Anything to keep it from getting boring.

Another thing that I’ve found helpful is to simply ask the kid what they want to do that day. Let them teach themselves, so to speak. Don’t let them know anything was your idea. Let them be independent and let the lesson be fun. They’re young, so advance stuff isn’t really the focus. Work towards little goals. The focus of little kid lesson is to get them comfortable around and on a horse and build a good foundation for later years, when lessons became less about comfortable, safe, controlled chaos and more towards showing or jumping or what ever they choose.
 

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mine seems to be doing the same thing XD smushing words together and auto correcting wierd things D:
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I know it, but these kids want to compete and they want to compete NOW. Little Amy ready does Gymkhanas on her own. God I love that girl. But I don't think six Ostpolitik
young....I was taking lessons at five. Mom taught me on her own before that... Of course I wasn't doing
much, but no more than these girls.
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I don't think 6 is too young...I was definitely riding on my own (wtc) by that time, and I started lessons around that age too, even though I already knew how to ride.

As has been mentioned, you have to keep this group 'interested' in what is going on; make learning a new concept fun, and even though everything has to be repeated in order to get it across, try to keep your cool, and figure out creative ways to reward them for good efforts.

Maybe set some guidelines for them, especially in the area of taking direction; it is for their safety and benefit that they listen to instruction, especially around horses. Sit down and talk to them with their parents present, and set forth the rules, and stick to them. For example if you have to ask a child to pay attention more than 3 times, then he\she needs to dismount, and sit in a designated 'time out' area...if they really want to ride, they will learn how to pay attention really quickly, because they won't want to have to get off!
 

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One word.. Games.
The main technique that I use with teaching little kids is to teach them in games. That way, they forget about being pains in the backside and the competitiveness of it kicks in. Promise them that if they do what you want they will be able to play a game afterwards, but make sure it is a game that will help them build skills. Safe games of course, that nearly goes without saying.
Now, I teach one girl and she's my age and on the taller side (Its rather imposing!). She insists on doing everything the opposite of what I tell her to do. At 6, it's more forgivable, but at 16/17/18, not so much. My way of getting around her was to first tell her that "Your horse's back isn't strong enough for you to do sit trot all the time" and "If you cause a little kid to fall off, you get to face the parents of that little kid," but that didn't work so she couldn't play any of the games until she started to cooperate. Even at her age, games are the highlight of the lesson. She's also not allowed to ride her favourite horse if she's misbehaved the week before (I got tears for that, "But I wanna ride Bernie!" "Sweetheart, care factor zero, build a bridge and get over it.") and gets to help me to stable duties afterwards.
I had another little banshee once so we played musical markers and blasted the music to drown her out (don't worry about that spooking horses, even my completely nutty Tb was fine with it). Because everyone was listening to the music and not her, she shut up because she wasn't getting the attention anymore. Attention seaking may not be the case with your little screamer... lol.
I agree with all the above suggestions too =] but those are what I've found have worked for my students.
Good luck with the teaching! =]
(Ps. I don't think 6 is too young, I started at 3.)
 

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Agreed with everyone on keeping it fun! Make sure there is a lot of variety to the lessons. Make little details an integral part of your teaching - yes they are young and high strung at this age, but they are also little sponges, and setting up their future outlook on handling horses starts NOW, so keep in mind the major impact you are having on these children as future horsemen. Teach them to pick up on and read their horse's body language by playing "guess what my horse is thinking" games. Sacrifice 20 bucks out of your own pocket at the local dollar store to give them prizes, stickers, incentives for doing well. Since they are gung-ho on competition, utilize that as a teaching tool - you have 4 kids, all the same age and relative skill level - use that to your advantage! Set up easy, mock horse shows where everyone wins something.

Those that are more timid, don't push them too hard. Be willing to do some lessons from the ground and work your way up!

The biggest thing that will help you, I think, is changing your own mindset. I was much like you before I had my own child - like, oh god, kids. But since a lot of times the 6-10 year old crowd was my bread and butter in lessons, I thought of it instead of teaching brainless children, think of it as teaching the future horse generation - what are the things that you cannot stand your current horse peers not knowing? Remedy that for the future!

Also set some very hard and fast ground rules that are total and complete - you scream, you're off the horse - grounded for the remainder of the lesson. You yank on a mouth - you're grounded - you fail to listen - you're grounded.

Good luck, and believe it or not, you may soon find you are loving it in spite of yourself. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Lol, thanks guys! I'm teaching another lesson this afternoon so I will try everything you have suggested. Hopefully I can get it down before Ihave to teach six lessons a day haha :)
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I used to teach for four summers and i found they get bored very quick!!
I didnt have time to read through all the posts but i do know mine adored games.

Traffic Lights- Red means stop. Green trot and orange walk. You start them at one end of the arena and call out colours this improves all transitions. When they improve you can make green canter and orange trot this keeps them working there ponies constantly.

Simon Says- Call out different parts of the pony and last to touch is out. There alll going to need to know about body parts might as well learn now.

Drill Work- Make simple patterns and encourage them to catch up with each other adjusting there paces til there in time with each other.

Field work- Everything becomes more interesting in a field if however they ignore you they get off. You csasn do a simple schooling session in tthe paddocks which is much more interesting then an arena.

Races- Set up a a course on both sides of the arena include two poles to canter between, a jump, weaving, a block to dismount on and then mount back up. Each team has 3riders and the fastest wins. You do however set a pace for each section of the course.

Hopefully these help you.

O and with cantering we tend to lead each pony holding on to the childs leg to secure them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I can't run fast enough to canter and hold onto the kid....Amy I will let canter on her own but the others will be on a lunge.
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Usually with the young kids it does take a while. If the one that screams only screams when the horse trots it's probably because she is scared of it. Check to make sure her reins aren't to long. As for the other ones you just have to keep after them. Do circles, get them going around cones, get them doing things where it is one at a time (this way the one that is more advanced can do things faster/harder).

I always leave time at the end for some games. My favorites to play with the kids are tag, red light / green light, and what time is it mister wolf.

For tag pick a speed that they aren't allowed to pass so it stays safe. The kids are only allowed to tag the person, not the horse. And there is NO hitting or they have to stop playing and stick with you while the other kids play for a bit. What time is it mister wolf is great for getting them to count the horses front steps. Then when the "wolf" says lunch time everyone runs back to the other side of the arena. It's great because the ones that are scared of going faster will WANT to go faster.

Hope that helps :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So Update:

Amy has cantered four circles around the arena and even cantered through a figure eight. She's doing so well! She can do four turns on the haunches (I see reining in her future!) and the same with forehand turns. She sidepasses beautifully and is impressing everyone....still :D

The "Screamer" (Her name is Kyra) I have been making dismount whenever she does scream, and has loped a few circles on the lunge. She is having trouble with forehand turns but is getting haunch turns rather well. Sidepassing is decent too. She ahs started to realize that posting is a good option for her horses trot.

The one who ignores me (Tanya) has been removed from the lesson and replaced with another girl (Mandy) who is very much like Amy, which is making me feel better.

The last one (Kayla) has started listening to my instructions a little bit more. She's almost mastered the lope on the lunge but seems scared to lope on her own. She handles walking and trotting realy well and haunch turns really well, forehand turns, but is having trouble cueing the sidepass correctly.


I want to switch out two horses.

Amy needs something more advanced. She is currently riding Chopper, an older roan arabian gelding who has all the buttons but is incredibly push-button. No challenge. I want her to ride Lyra, a ten year old QH mare who would provide more of a challenge for her. She's sweet, gentle, knows everything, but she's more responsive. Switch, or no switch?

The second is one for Kayla. Her horse is starting to have a problem lopng on the right lead, and even though I'm not worried about leads yet I'm worried about his soundness. He limps on that lead terrible bad. I rode him last lesson and he nearly fell under my weight. He's so strong on the left lead, but once he gets on that other lead he just completely crumbles. I'm getting a vet to the barn to have a look at him, because the last time I saw something like that the hip with actually deteriorating. I am definately switching her, but the problem is there is no acceptable horse for her to ride that isn't already being ridden too much during the day.

I'm thinking I will move Amy onto Lyra and give Chopper to Kayla. But they are both so attached to those horses.....I'll have to make Toni tell them, 'cause I am a sucker for those tears and I couldn't handle watching them cry over their horses.

Sound good? Hehe :D
 

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I used to teach at my local riding school and abo****ely loved it :) The trick is to make it fun for the kids, and try to get a relationship going with them. Be easy going, happy and most of all LOUD and ENTHUSIASTIC! Be patient and kind and they will love you to bits in no time :)
 

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So Update:
I'm thinking I will move Amy onto Lyra and give Chopper to Kayla. But they are both so attached to those horses.....I'll have to make Toni tell them, 'cause I am a sucker for those tears and I couldn't handle watching them cry over their horses.

Sound good? Hehe :D
Sounds like you are doing great! I can tell the difference already just in the feeling of your post. I would normally say switching a child to a more advanced horse when she is not "finished" on the first one is a bad idea, but I think in your circumstance it's a wise decision. Try to make it all about the excitement of "graduating" to a new horse, rather than leaving their old friend behind to make the transition easier and something both girls can be proud of. I hope the lame boy turns out okay.

Good job to you!! I knew you could do it! :clap:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Indy! I agree that it's bad to move a kid too soon, but that boy needs to get a vet checked in him.
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I totally agree about the games! Also, Sally Smith's centered riding book has a lot of good descriptions of how being centered/ balanced/ properly positioned feels- and describing to my 5 year old daughter how to keep her heels down, for instance, made more sense after reading that book. That said, I do not envy you!
 
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