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Hi, I have been having weekly private lessons for about 10 months now. They consist of walking/trotting around the school and in 20 metre circles for about 45-50 minutes, then at the end a canter down the length of the school a few times. There is very little variation, is this the norm or does anyone else do different things in their lessons?
 

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I have been riding for ten years as opposed to ten months, so my lessons are a lot different than yours. I own my own horse now, but I will try to remember what my lessons were like when I was relatively new to riding. When I first would get on I would begin to warm up by walking and trotting around. Yes I did lots of circles, serpentines, went across the diagonal, etc. All the while my instuctor would critique my position. When I started to advance she would focus more on teaching me how to improve my horse's way of going. How to get him to go into frame, keep a steady rhythm, get him on the bit, getting him to really bend around my leg on the circles, all that stuff. Although she still critiqued my position it became more about perfecting the horse, through the way you rode. Of course there was cantering too. At first the main focus was to teach me to canter correctly and not flop up and down on his back. Then more canter work was incorporated into my lessons. Another thing I did was lots and lots of transitions. Usually at the end of my lesson we would jump, which was my favorite part. If you are concerned that you are not learning anything new, talk to your instructor about it. Also what discipline is she teaching you? I dont know much about western, but if you ride english ask about jumping or learning dressage. Mind you, ten months isn't a very long time to have ridden, so you may not be ready for that yet. Ask your instructor to take you out for a trail ride or to teach you how to do lateral work. If you want, ask to do a bareback lesson. If your instructor wont let you ride bareback try riding without stirrups. This helps build a good strong leg. In a few months if you still aren't learning anything new, maybe it is time to look for a new, certified instructor. It can also help to have an instructor that teaches a specific discipline as opposed to general riding.
 

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Let's see ... I just had one today.

We walk once around the ring just to get warmed up. Check the girth and such.

Then we do posting trot around a few times, making sure we're on the right foot when we lift up (sorry, but I learn in French, so I don't know the English terms for it).

We ride in an oval ring and there are big colored blocks in there, so we do slalom courses around them at the trot (both posting trot and seated trot, with and without stirrups). We do small circles around some of the blocks and large circles around some of them (chopping the riding ring into smaller riding rings).

Everything is done going in both directions.

We do seated trot and then hold out one arm, then the other, then drop the reins and ride without any hands, trying not to lose our balance.

We also ride the posting trot while doing crazy arm movements (like a plane, like we're swimming, like we're playing air guitar, like we're playing air drums).

We trot in 2-point position, doing the slalom and small and big circles all while standing in the stirrups.

We practice going from walk to trot, trot to walk, full stops from trot.

We practice taking our feet in and out of the stirrups all while the horse is trotting. Along with that we practice just sitting the trot without stirrups and also posting without stirrups.

We have to touch all the horse's body parts while it's walking (forelock, ears, neck, butt, tail, chest, foreleg).

Sometimes we stop and do a "mill" which is turning 360 degrees around in the seat.

The younger riders learn to stand in the saddle. Some learn to trot while kneeling on the saddle. I'm too old for that nonsense (ha ha).

Occasionally the instructor will put a small log in the path of the ring and we have to jump over it. It's not much of a "jump" but sometimes I get a thrill from it. :p

I do cantoring at the end. I do maybe 6 times around, doing 1.5 revolutions each time, making sure to do both directions. I'm learning to go directly from a walk to a cantor and then back down again without looking like a fool (sometimes I succeed, often I do not.)

Oh, and when it's all done, we do a little trail ride around the property which borders a beautiful river that always freaks out my horse. :)

Today we also did some trotting work in the big arena. The horses move much faster in there. I did half of it at a posting trot and half of it in 2-point position. My back is wasted!

I think I'm very lucky. My lessons are always fun.
 

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Well, ive had lessons for a year but im changing to weekly lessons rather than weekend lessons so they may change, but ill tell you about what my lessons were like before. We had 2 variations of lessons, groundwork and jumping.
In our groundwork lessons we would start by walking around the arena to warm up, then we would do a rising trot. We would spend the next 30-40 mins working on trot, diaganols and two point at the trot. We would occasionaly do some sort of obstacle course at the trot. Then we would spend the last 20 mins taking turns at cantering in a 20 metre circle.
In our jumping lessons we would start by walking around the arena to warm up then we would trot a lap at a rising trot. Then we would straight away get into practasing two point as we went around. Then we would spread out around the arena and take it in turns to trot over a jump. We would go over this jump 4 or 5 times before stopping in the corner of the arena. My instructor would then set up a jumping course and we would each have 2 gos at it. If we had time left over we would canter a bit.
Thats about it :)
 

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My lessons are 45 minutes. We warm up doing some posting trot, making sure that she's at a nice even rhythm, relaxed. Getting her into a nice frame, sometimes we work on getting her on the bit. Getting her to be nice and supple. Sometimes it depends what we need that day. Sometimes we have more obvious problems to work on. Like if I'm not getting what I need and ask out of her, we work on getting completely relaxed. Working with basically a super loose rein, asking with soft cues. It really helps the both of us to focus and get back on track. It really depends. I then probably spend about 15 minutes cantering her, cantering is really more about me working her properly. I know what she needs to be cantered but it's really hard. She's fast, and I'm doing pretty well with shaping her into the corners where she'll leave you if you don't. Giving her enough inside rein and not bracing. We do poles, and sitting trot as well. It's not the same every lesson.
 

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I had only started lessons this month and my lessons are weekly riding 45-60mins. So far im on my third and im on posting trot that id just managed to grasp. We mostly do trotting in circles while focusing on control and balance, and will likely progress to sitting trot if my instructor is satisfied with my posting trot in the next lesson.

My instructor stated one can progress to gallop in 6months provides that they practice riding regularly, not just in the form of weekly lesson but also daily 10-15mins riding.

My lessons are more of leisure riding rather than competitive riding, though I'm hoping to progress to eventing or polo.
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My lessons are usually 1 hour, sometimes more. Currently, we are working on everything my instructor sees wrong :lol:.

There is organization in my lessons, but she is also flexible in what we are going to do that ride and that's why I really appreciate this instructor. She has a plan, but if there is something wrong that needs to be fixed, our focus will turn to that. Basically, whatever we need most of the time is what we will work on. Small steps until we create a better, bigger picture.

For example, my lesson on Sunday was supposed to be trying to get my balance better in two point, making me use my leg more, and rating my horse's speed... which turned into my horse wanting to speed in one corner, which turned into the lesson becoming about fixing that issue. So, our lessons went longer than planned but I certainly do not mind this.

As soon as my horse softened and gave to me, the lesson ended and she got her reward of relaxation.

If your lessons are getting stale or you feel you have have exhausted what that particular riding instructor can offer, feel free to move on. I had to move on a couple of times when I was no longer gaining from lessons and each one was the same thing over and over and over again (with little to no progress). Then I switched, and that new instructor had something new to offer me.
 
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I've been riding for 12 years.
I rode western pleasure for the first 7, then english for the past 5.

I recently started up combined training lessons (training for myself and my horse)
I'm sure my lessons would be progressing differently if I was on a not green horse..

Anyway, we were working on getting our trot even and balanced, working on keeping contact through transitions.
We would be put onto a large circle, not really sure of the diameter, and work on that for walk/trot/canter.
While we were on the circle we would work on multiple things: having my mare follow my post, using my legs (correctly), bending and picking up her shoulders..

We also worked with cavaletti, (not on the circle) to get her using different muscles and so we could both learn to be consistent to, over, and after our fences.

For our jumping lessons we've done LOTS of grid work to get a consistent canter.

ETA: my lessons range from 45 to 90 minutes
 

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My lessons mainly focus on my horse, who is extremely green, and how I can use my own riding skills to train him.

That said, my own position and riding form are not left unattended.

Everything that I ask of my horse must come from a confident, independent, supple, following aide, to an accepting, supple, supportive, balanced response from my horse.

Lately, we've been working on shifting weight from side to side to denote changes in direction, bend, and tempo.

A typical lesson consists of the warm up-sometimes I do that before my instructor arrives (I use my own horse)- then we start with discussing everything we've done since the last lesson while we walk rigidly correct circles and serpentines. Then we discuss anything that I don't understand or had a problem with, followed by a demonstration of that thing and then she will correct my mistake- it's ALWAYS my mistake, never the horse's. Then we work on new material. The whole lesson might be devoted to making him more forward, or more supple on the left rein. After the lesson on something new, we do everything we know how to do confidently, and get critiqued on how to do it better. Then I have to recite what I'm supposed to work on until the next lesson, followed by any questions I might have.

To date we've done nothing more than walk and trot in various directions, but that is an extremely inadequate description of our work.

EDIT; IMO, if your instructor is not explaining why you are doing the work, then there is no teaching involved, just repetitive exercises. It is very important that you are stimulated mentally and learning from your instructor.
 

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Thinking back 100 years ago (horses had only been invented) I recall doing quite a bit of walking and trotting. One hour, once a week. Working on getting my hands to be independent of my seat, sitting up straight, heels down, looking ahead, using my seat and legs to get those endless circles just right.

While I was thrilled to be horseback and could barely stop myself from petting whatever horse I was on, I also got a bit frustrated. I wasn't cantering beautifully across green fields like I did so well in my daydreams.

A friend of my father's, a man who showed in dressage classes, gave me a private lesson for one hour after a few months of lessons. Afterwards he told my dad and I that if I worked on my trunk (we didn't have "cores" back then) and leg strength I would progress faster. Perhaps my father was getting frustrated paying for endless circles.

That led to me mowing the lawn of a woman down the street who taught ballet and treated me like I was in boot camp. I did not take ballet lessons, in exchange for the mowing and weeding her flower beds she coached me on building muscle and improving my posture. And she gave me homework exercises, and my mother nagged me not to waste their "good money" on the horse lessons by not doing my exercises! Yes. Both parents were frustrated with the walk/trot/circle lessons.

It did work. I did progress out of the beginners' class, eventually was cantering like in my dreams, and in two years was catch riding at area shows on whatever horse someone wanted to see go in the handy hunter class. My favorite class.

I did and still do squats, bridging, planks, straight leg raises, and used to use soup cans for arm exercises, now I have 5# hand weights. I've also added a roman chair for that core we all now have.

Now I have a polo coach during our season and she basically yells at me and wonders how I got this old riding this poorly and how have I managed not to take my horses heads off with the mallet. But, when she has a fresh horse that needs some miles, who does she call? Uh huh.
 

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My five year old young lady, has lessons weekly. She walks, trots practices rising to the trot, she walks around poles, she picks up one object and walks it to another barrel . She does around the world, practices walking without stirrups she likes to pratice without reins :) . good for her balance when she is being led of course. She practices riding by herself, as she is still young alot of her lesson is done with the instructor walking beside her some of it is on lead. Her instructor is amazing keeps it fun and my daughter loves it.
 
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