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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll probably get some crap for this, but here goes anyways. :D

I'm in the position where I am teaching a couple of adults "how to ride". One is a rank beginner (my boyfriend) the other is a good friend who hasn't ridden in years. I'm only attempting to teach them enough basics so that they can go on a trail ride (on a safe horse) without endangering themselves or others. Neither one of them is open to taking lessons from a real instructor (despite my numerous attempts to get them to), so that's where I come in.

Does anyone have any helpful suggestions or methods? I've already started working on a general lesson plan, but I'd like some other people's input as I've never really done this before (beyond teaching kids the basics of turning).
 

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Have they been around horses before?
If not I would get them to groom and learn how to tie a horse and tack up, this could help them be comfortable and confident with the horse. I'm assuming you have some real 'bomb proof' horses for them to learn on. Once they're comfortable with the handling of horses and aren't afraid of them then they can get on and ride around.
I would teach them the one rein stop, that way if they ever have a run away they'll at least the knowledge of what to do (giving them more confidence). Then you can get them to learn the basics of riding - turning, stoping, backing, trot, lope, walk (not in that order...lol) After learning the basics comes the fun stuff - miles. Keep it fun for everyone and best of luck.
 

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The trick with teaching adult beginners is that you have to give them enough of the basics to keep them safe, but you can't drill them in the same way you do juniors or they'll rebel. The fact that they've refused to take formal lessons tells you they have zero tolerance for trotting a circle in the dust being told "Heels down, look where you're going, back straight."

So....you have to cover position, but focus on the functional aspects -- if you do it this way, you're better able to control the horse; not, it looks better or what's expected in the show ring.

As far as basic control, once you've taught them the mechanics, do lots of games...red light, green light, Mother, May I, and similiar ones, that focus on their ability to control their horses independently, rather than moving as a group. Motor vehicle metaphors work well with adults -- talk about safe following distances, how hard it is to turn without forward motion, etc.

Set very specific goals - I want you to be able to catch, groom and tack up by yourself without assistance; I want you to able to w/t/c both directions of the ring and perform simple figures without coaching from the ground, etc., to keep them motivated.

Good luck!
 

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Safety stuff first. Emergency stop. Mounting/dismounting from both sides. Emergency dismount. Proper tack/tacking. I would also start off by getting them to think about riding as being balanced as opposed to "holding on". I would pay close attention to not only the control they have of the horse, but also the control they have of themselves. Hopefully they are receptive & you can enjoy this experience with your friends!!! Best wishes.
 

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Yeah, you definitely can't drill adults like you would kids. My trainer says her kids would attempt a hand stand on her horse if she asked, but we adult riders are a tad more difficult since we're older and set in our ways. The big thing with adult riders seems to be building confidence, so I agree with the above posts. Teach them balance, power steering and brakes. Give them all the tools they'll need to stay safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great suggestions so far! I think with my boyfriend the safety stuff will fly. Especially if I make it funner for him. He's pretty nervous around the horses. I definitely like the idea of the games and such.

My friend I'm not so sure. She rode enough as a teenager that I'm really wondering how well she'll take my help. She isn't very well balanced and tends to hold on with her hands (especially now that she's had 10 years or so off). I'm considering some lunging with no reins to start things off this spring. That might be a little boring for her though.

I don't have a horse thats "safe" for them to ride out of the paddock, so unfortunately they will be confined to that. Of course, helmets are going to be a must and release forms.

Keep the suggestions coming! Also, anyone have any good books for my friend? She's a busy mom so it would need to be something a little shorter and less technical than most of the books I have,
 

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I am in the middle of reading The Rider's Problem Solver by Jessica Jahiel and it has really made a difference for me. I like the conversational language a Q&A format.
 

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I try to correlate what they are learning to something they already know. It's new territory and can be frustrating - especially if the instructor is younger than the student. If they can relate to something in their lives, it's more relaxing and easy to grasp.

I also explain why some things are done the way they are. And of course encourage questions.
 

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My friend I'm not so sure. She rode enough as a teenager that I'm really wondering how well she'll take my help. She isn't very well balanced and tends to hold on with her hands (especially now that she's had 10 years or so off). I'm considering some lunging with no reins to start things off this spring. That might be a little boring for her though.
I am teaching my nephew right now and he's one of these that THINKS he's ready for the rodeo :shock:. I have done the lunging exercise with making him raise his hands above his head at the jog and close his eyes at the jog. He now realizes that he needs some basics and good balance and is fine with the lunging as long as I change it up and keep it interesting. I also make him do a lot of steering around cones and stopping whenever I say stop so he learns control. I give him specific patterns (similar to a trail course or horsemanship) to add some interest.
 

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Unbelievable. (But I believe you.) Too much responsibility on you. Why won't these 2 take proper lessons from a professional instructor? Not good for your relationship to teach your boyfriend. REALLY not good. I don't need to know about horses to know that. Maybe he is afraid to take lessons and make mistakes, but if he tries to learn from you, this will just end in conflict between the two of you. He should learn and make his mistakes with an independent person. Also unfair that your friend is leaning on you and not getting lessons. Too much responsibility for you - say no and send them off for lessons. Or ride with other friends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Boyfriend has no real interest in horses beyond occaisionally riding with me. He's done ok so far, though I wouldn't take him on a trail ride on either of my horses.

I'm not really worried about it causing problems with our relationship. I'm not afraid to be "mean" when it comes to my animals and he's the same way with his hobbies.

Friend has only ridden a couple of times in the last month. She didn't listen terribly well either time. First time Soda didn't listen to her at all and then Lily "ran away" with her the other day. Now she's much more willing to listen.

Friend just doesn't make (or have) time for lessons and doesn't "really" think she needs them. As I said I'm overly picky with my horses and I'm not afraid to speak up when they aren't doing something right.

It actually hasn't caused any real problems as of yet, beyond momentary annoyance that is. Thanks for your advice though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I can imagine!

The bf basically just sits on Soda and Soda follows me around. It works for riding around the house. If he ever wants to trail ride he'll have to learn more and that's all there is to it. It's not my problem really. I've set the standard and it's up to him to decide if he wants to go forward.
 

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Sometimes pictures of them riding or even a video will help. That way they really see what your talking about, because us adults don't like to be pointed out things or told were doing something wrong (lol). I once took a picture of my hubby riding his QH and his hands were clear up by his head, which also meant his reins were so loose, when I showed that to him he realized how dumb it looked and that he had no control.
Also, if your friend is a little older and its been numerous years since she rode, she may have done a lot of the self taught thing and back then things were so much different (just hop on and go). When I learned to ride I was hanging out a neighbors who had some Welsh ponys and after awhile she finally said "if your going to hang out here all the time, then you need to start riding that pony and ride bareback." So I just learned basically on my own and get a little defensive now when I am pointed out that I'm doing something wrong. I was riding with another friend a couple of weeks ago and she is also a trainer, but when I asked her to point out stuff she did a great job of explaining WHY you do it this way and how it WILL help both the horse and rider. So if you could maybe explain the why, like: "Hey, if you hold the reins and hands off the neck it will...." Then maybe she won't get defensive.
Good luck.
 

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My husband would also NEVER take lessons from a professional instructor. Just not something he would do because he is stubborn. We are not at the point of me teaching him how to ride because we dont currently own our own horse, however when the time comes, I plan do pretty much what everyone has said here.

You just have to remember to be patient. Instead of telling them everything they are doing wrong, try to put a positive spin on everything. "Your leg position looks great! Remember to keep those heels down". Something to that effect.

Also, I am not sure if you are working with them both together, but you may want to keep them separated until they both get a general grasp of everything. If your bf is anything like my husband, he will get embarassed quickly if anyone else is watching him ride. Working with him alone will make sure that he doesnt get overly defensive about anything and you will be able to keep your eye on him and only him.

Good luck :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks guys. I like the "explaining why" that will probably help with both of them. As of now the Bf has ridden maybe 3 times this summer and the friend has ridden twice, so the whole lesson thing never really materialized.

Those couple of times I've basically given points when A. They are hurting the horse (i.e. jerking on their mouth, kicking to go, but saying/pulling "whoa") B. I'm worried about them hurting themselves. Otherwise I've just kind of let them be.

Bf really doesn't want to take direction, but he really wants to ride Soda (if we ever trail ride together). If I could trust Soda to behave he could probably handle a trail ride. But as of now it's not a reality.

Friend never has any time (stay at home mom w/ 2 kids that runs a daycare and is starting another small business) and doesn't want to listen. We did do the "run around like crazy" thing when we were kids. I had riding lessons and had been riding literally since before I could walk. She met me later in life and we just put her on bareback and she figured it out w/ trial/error. So she has the typical bad habits of that type of riding added to the 10 or so years of no riding. Which isn't a huge deal, I had/have a ton of bad habits that I work to correct every time I ride.

Anyways, I've since realized she doesn't really want to take lessons, she just wants to get on and ride around. So Lily is "safe" around the house, so I let her ride the other day. After having Lil "run away" with her a couple of times, she was more cautious. Thankfully. I was able to give her a couple of pointers too. We'll end up taking it one ride at a time I'm sure.

But thanks for all the tips! I'm thinking of using some of them for my neice until I can find her riding lessons close by. No one's really willing to do a lot of driving, so my options are much narrower.
 
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