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I prefer private lessons and would not take a group lesson unless it was a clinic. If I was looking for an instructor they would have to offer private lessons. Just an honest opinion.
 

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In a group lesson, you learn how to correct yourself.
Especially when you don't even know you do something wrong. :D

Well... May be some people always know when they do things wrong. I don't.
 

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Ok, kitten_val, I get what you're saying, but my point still stands! :lol: I mean, if someone's hunching forward dramatically and their heels are slipping way up and they nearly fall off a horse that picks up a smooth trot when they asked for a trot (bad example I know), that should probably give them a pretty good hint they're doing something wrong. I understand that for higher level riders they will probably need more help from an instructor to pick out the smaller things, but at a certain point you should be able to tell when you're say, on the wrong diagonal and fix it.
 

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Ok, kitten_val, I get what you're saying, but my point still stands! :lol: I mean, if someone's hunching forward dramatically and their heels are slipping way up and they nearly fall off a horse that picks up a smooth trot when they asked for a trot (bad example I know), that should probably give them a pretty good hint they're doing something wrong. I understand that for higher level riders they will probably need more help from an instructor to pick out the smaller things, but at a certain point you should be able to tell when you're say, on the wrong diagonal and fix it.
I'm not arguing at all. Lol! I think ANY type of lesson with the good instructor is much much better than no lessons at all. And I don't think you don't progress with the group lessons - you do. I also see the point that group lessons are usually cheaper and not everyone can afford private ones (totally understandable). I think the difference here (as you correctly pointed out) when you go more advanced you indeed look more for those tiny things to correct, and thats where private lessons are more handy.
 

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Private. I never get the attention I need in group lessons.

Jumping group lessons make me mad. You do the course once or twice, then sit and wait for everyone else to go. NOT COOL.
See, I actually like jumping with other riders. I do my course, then have a quick chat with my trainer about the main issues and have a couple minutes to ponder what I need to do to fix it/catch my breath/reorganize myself. Also, I love watching the other riders jump and seeing their faults and how my trainer is having THEM fix it, y'know? I kind of get another chance to see how certain jumps can be ridden and how to handle certain situations.

But again, I'm talking about having 2 other girls (MAYBE 3) go because there are only 3-4 of us in the lesson.
 

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I still take both private and group lessons, but I prefer private. I enjoy the attention of my instructor solely on my horse and I. The moment we have an issue, or I'm doing something wrong, she sees it and tells me how to correct it. It's also nice to be able to work specifically on what I need work on and not have to worry about what everyone else in the group needs help with.

I like group lessons more for my horse than me. It's good practice for him for at the shows to be ridden with a bunch of different horses. I ride on a show team where all 10 of us have a lesson together. It's a lot of fun, but it can get chaotic. lol

You get something different out of both.
 

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I prefer private lessons or semi-private lessons (with my husband). Group lessons are fine to get your horse accustomed to being with other horses, passing & obeying rules while riding with others.
 

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PRIVATE. I can't get away with anything in them :( Which is good! Because I'm not trying to cheat myself out of an education. In groups, I feel like I can sneak things by the instructor, and I'm not as confident I'm doing things correctly.

Actually, I'm really surprised anyone would do groups with 5+ riders! There is no way an instructor can keep track of 5 personal needs all at the same time and have enough lesson time to address all 5 people.

I did enjoy having "groups" when I first started jumping. It was just me and one other person. We mainly just worked on certain combinations and tests, so sitting/watching time was minimal. Me and the other girl actually had very similar riding issues, so I learned a lot from watching her as well. The instructor was great about making sure we were both getting things before moving on. When I moved on to privates is when we started jumping full courses. I don't want to sit there for 10 minutes watching the other's course when I can be riding during that time.
 
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Discussion Starter #51
Thanks everyone for the responses! It is helpful to be reminded of the value of group lessons. For me the primary benefits are getting used to riding around other horses, for both horse and rider, the social aspect and being inspired by watching other riders who are better than I am.

If I were in a position where I could only afford group lessons, I would still try to find the extra cash to pony up for 1 private lesson per month (+3 group/month). I have found I learn much more and improve at a much fast rate with private. While I agree you can learn from watching others, so much of riding is muscle memory and building fast reactions which only comes from time you spend riding, not watching.
 

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I am a very very old man who has been riding for almost 40 years. The last lesson I had was less than a year ago. I had a problem getting my mare to adopt a rounded outline and maintain it. So I had a lesson with my friend who showed me how - or actually showed me why I was having difficulty.

The previous lesson was a few months earlier when I was having a problem with a mischeivious welsh cob who was lazy. What was it that I was not doing to keep the little devil going? From where I was sitting I could not see what was happening although I could feel it. After half an hour with my friend
I'd got the measure of the crafty little devil - he was testing me out.

The point I am trying to make is that lessons never stop so long as you have horses. I'd not choose to have a group lesson, because usually I'll have a specific problem with a particular horse. A pair of eyes from the centre of the arena is always welcome. And watching others make mistakes can be very informative.
 

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I think I'd actually prefer a healthy mix of both private and (smaller) group lessons.

Back in college, we did nothing but group lessons. Usually 3-4 people in a group, the usual nose to tail thing, but our trainer was fantastic and we got plenty of individual attention. And then while we were walking/trotting, he'd give us little horsemanship quizzes, lecture us on colors, breeds, disciplines, history, etc.

Now that I'm getting back into riding, I've done nothing but once-weekly private lessons for the past 10 months or so, since group lessons aren't offered at my barn.

What I miss most about group lessons is the peer pressure. Knowing that while you may not be 100% comfortable doing ____, someone in your class probably is. And you do it anyway, so you're not *that* person. It's like an extra little kick to get you motivated. Plus, private lessons get a little stale when you do them all the time. Right now, that's the only way I can ride at all is in private lessons. While I do like the individual attention, sometimes it would be nice to have a little less attention and have some space and time to figure something out in my head before being called on.

If I could manage one private lesson a week and one group lesson, that would be ideal. But that would mean splitting my lessons between two barns and I'm not sure I want to open that can of worms just yet.
 

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Unfortunately I can't afford private lessons.
And the private lessons at my RS are during the day when I have school, so wouldn't be able to go to them anyway.

If I had my own horse, then yea, I would rather have semi/private lessons.
 

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I prefer private lessons over group. When I was in a group lesson I felt as though the other girls in my group were pushing me into following what they wanted to do, jumping, while I felt more comfortable riding dressage. I jumped for three years because that's what the rest of the group was doing. After a nasty fall, and a year off, I returned to riding but began dressage in private lessons. I felt as though I learned a lot more while doing private over group because all of the focus was on me.
I haven't taken lessons in about two/three years and own my own horse. By taking lessons for both jumping & dressage, and in a group & individually, it taught me the basics & I am now able to teach myself & my horse on my own.
So I liked private better, but group is also beneficial, sometimes it helps you to move out of your comfort zone by being pushed to do something the rest of the group wants to do.
 

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I haven't taken lessons in a few years, but when I used to I always preferred private ones. Group lessons would make me feel really self conscious if I messed up and I wouldn't like the fact that I'd be pushed into doing stuff with the group that I might not feel ready for. :oops:
 

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The barn I'm at now they only offer private lessons... which i find i do learn so much more and love having my coaches full attention, but theres no replacing how much fun group lessons can be with good people!
 

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Private, private, private! I cannot stress how much private lessons can do for a rider. Group lessons are good if you just need more saddle time and don't have your own horse. But I really think it is best to spend the extra money on a prviate lesson and apply what you learned & practice on your own until the next lesson.

From a trainers perpective, it's hard to see everything in a group lesson and to really work with a rider to get them in the correct position, etc. My focus with group lessons is to just try to get everyone to go along 'decently' and stay that way. We only get to work on a couple of things and progression is slow. In private lessons I can focus completely and get so much done in just an hour. Most of the time my students can't even last an hour because they are so tired.
 
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