what would you expect from lessons?

(275 Posts)
ThatVikRinA22 Tue 30-Oct-12 19:29:28

just wondered really as i had my first lesson tonight, i used to ride as a child but ive not ridden for over 30 years.

the first school i had booked with were very lax and when i showed up for my lesson tonight they claimed they had tried to phone me to say the instructor hadnt made it in - they had not tried to phone me and i told them that - then they changed their story and the man said he couldnt ring as had locked himself out of the house, and said they would be in touch. Still no call from them, not even an apology.

so at short notice i booked at another school and went for my lesson tonight.

i told them id not ridden for a very very long time and would need to be treated like a total novice.

it was an arena, a very placid horse and i really had a wonderful time, but i just wondered how lessons normally go?

i found i couldnt concentrate on technique because i was trying to keep my horse going, he was lovely and an old hand but in trot he wanted to stop....is it a good idea to learn to control the horse and learn technique at the same time?

im pleased i was let loose to some extent and i think i will learn quickly - alot of it came back to me tonight though i will need tons of practice and im sure alot of this cant be "taught" and has to be learnt on the job as it were.....but i know my balance is awful and though i was told id done really well, it all felt a bit clumsy and i dread to think what i looked like!

how do first lessons normally go?

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:53:53

thanks 50 - im sure that some of it that she is terribly pushed for time with so many horses and thats why she does rely on volunteers to do some of these jobs.

i dont mind as long as im getting some learning from it - saturdays that just doesnt happen but sundays it does - still not a lot because there is so much work to do, but i shouldnt moan because i do go willingly and i love being around the horses, and just being there and listening to her is in itself learning.

i think if i were to be going on a regular basis i would broach the subject but fact is im going to be back at work before long so wont be there every weekend - ive yet to find out if she would like me to go maybe one day a week on my days off, so im making the most of it while i can.

i will ask her next week if i can tack up the horse i have my lesson on, if she has 5 mins to stand with me while i do it.

if the learning grinds to a halt then so be it, i wont go weekly just to shovel shite, but for now, while im off work, ill go. im going tomorrow and weds to help out because of pony club days.

if it feel that its becoming a very one sided exchange then i will go just for lessons and leave it at that. smile

Littlebigbum Tue 19-Feb-13 09:19:47

Yeap half term, I have no answers to this. I spent most of my child hood hang round the stables not sure if I would now. Do ask if she is running stable manage courses in the summer, it might a good hint.
Don't be to dishearten finding a good RI is half the battle and if you want to learn tack up as part of your lesson, that is ok!

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 19-Feb-13 19:54:49

yes maybe i should ask as part of my lesson.

i feel a bit weepy tonight which is daft because i guessed what i was going in for today (and tomorrow,) but i was doing "yard work" - ie- mucking out while all the kids got lots of tuition on feeds, learnt to groom and tack up, and basically did everything i have been nattering to learn for weeks. sad

and she implied my mucking out wasnt up to her standard so showed me how to do it (this is the first time ive been shown properly to say ive been doing it for a couple of months now) my mucking out is now immaculate but takes me about 25 mins - she says it should only be taking 15 mins but im not as fast as her.

im going in tomorrow simply because i said i would and she is relying on someone else to do the yard work, but i think im going to have to think about what im getting from this "exchange", which is nothing at the moment.

ive worked 4 days this week for nothing - literally nothing - no learning despite today and tomorrow being "teaching" days.

so im feeling a bit of an idiot. maybe i need to just ask for a lesson dedicated to tack and grooming. and pay for it in cash, not work.

Pixel Tue 19-Feb-13 20:07:02

I was going to suggest that you asked if you could pay for a stable management lesson instead of riding one day. Does she ever do 'pony club' type things for adults? When we had a riding school at the bottom of our road (now sadly houses) the owner used to do evening sessions where groups of people could go along and be shown how to put on rugs, mix feeds etc for a small fee.

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 19-Feb-13 20:42:37

she doesnt have many adults who need to learn these things so i think i will just ask for a lesson dedicated to stable management instead of relying on good will and working for nothing.

i was asked to go in to be fair, but i thought i might get some learning from it - today i discovered not...im not sure i would have done 4 days this week for nothing otherwise....

ill do tomorrow, but am going to not go in on saturday. Sunday is my lesson and she asks me to help out - im going to keep it to a day a week i think.

Auntmaud Tue 19-Feb-13 22:51:37

Whereabouts in the Uk are you, Vicar?

Littlebigbum Tue 19-Feb-13 23:01:45

Oh Vicar and whereabouts are you I know peeps everywhere, my fingers are crossed that she knows that she has a gem in you.

Littlebigbum Tue 19-Feb-13 23:02:24

Don't go in on Saturday

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 19-Feb-13 23:15:16

im in yorkshire - the school is in north yorks officially but near the east yorks border.

im not going on saturday. ive already decided. that would make 5 days work for nothing this week - and no learning either. plus, she runs over on all other lessons and gets so cross with herself for doing it (ive suggested setting an alarm) and yet, my lesson was cut short this week - with the promise that i would ride again later that day - of course we both got busy and it didnt happen. sad

i absolutely love my RI, but i think complacency has taken over my goodwill slightly - its only natural as ive been a bit of a mug. i need to stop it now though as im getting nothing from it anymore. the learning has stopped.
i know how to muck out to perfection
i know how to load a muck heap.
i can put on a head collar and tie up a horse
i can untack
thats about the sum total of my knowledge for 3 months work.

no grooming
no hoof care
no tacking up
no understanding of feeds

and all that was taught to pony club kids today while i mucked out. again. i actually could have cried but im being silly - and its just the depression i think - i forgot my meds yesterday....

she is lovely. im just making it too easy to be used. so i need to stop now. if i pay for an hours lesson i could learn to tack up and groom.

ill just have to do that.

Zazzles007 Wed 20-Feb-13 09:09:59

Hey Vicar, I've just caught up on your thread. Don't be too disheartened about what has transpired - there are many such stories just like this if you hang around the horse forums for long enough.

I think it might be wise for you to think about what you get out of this exchange - will it be "I'll just go for lessons, otherwise I get taken for granted" or are you happy to do some hard graft, knowing that you are unlikely to get much learning in return. As she doesn't have many adults there, I am willing to bet that she is foisting all the unappealing jobs on you, as you have more responsibility than the kids do. If I were you, I know what I would be doing - the former, rather than the latter.

Please know that not everyone in the horse world is like this. In my younger days, I had an amazing horsie mentor, who allowed me to ride and retrain the horses she bought. In fact, I would often still be riding late in the afternoon, while the other kids were feeding up grin. And recently I have met a lovely lady who is letting me ride her hubbies horse each week for free. All it takes is some horsie knowledge and meeting the right people at the right time. You'll get there smile.

Hope this helps.

Littlebigbum Wed 20-Feb-13 09:42:38

My Fatherside of the family comes from Ingleton so we spent summers and Christmas there, we use to go to a riding school near goat gap inn nearly 30 years ago!
Do plan to treat myself to a weekend at http://www.facebook.com/cumbrianheavyhorses they were on unicorn trail and I would so love to do most of there hols. I'll let you know if I do!
Also my Bff for ever went on a family hol with her sister they went riding with trailish places the first was terrible and I think they were lucky to come of it with there life's. But the second was amazing, in fact the owner invited them up for Appleby sales so they could buy a pony and rebreak it in her yard, then travel it home. With the worming and vet cert done because so many yard won't let you bring in anything with out it.
As soon as I know the name I'll put it up for everyone.
Also I'm doing the https://class.coursera.org/equinenutrition-001/class/index it is a free equine nutrition course pls see if it is not to late to start. It is very good. As for the other thing any of us could teach you that in 10mins and would. Frustrating or what.
Fingers crossed that today goes better

50BalesOfHay Wed 20-Feb-13 11:15:24

We need to do a Tack Room campaign to find Vicar a horse to play with. There must be someone here who's near enough! If you fancy moving to Leicestershire you can groom, feed, pick out feet and tack up my horses to your heart's content grin

KissingKittyKat Wed 20-Feb-13 12:48:08

I have been following this thread but not commenting (I think they call it lurking..)

Vicar I would suggest just being upfront with your RI, tell her how much you love the lessons and how much you feel your riding is progressing but just be honest and say that you don't feel like you are learning much from the yard work other than shovelling shit! I would say that you appreciate that horses involve lots of dirty work and you are not afraid of the dirty work, but just that you would quite like to learn a few things like picking out hoofs or tacking up as well. If you are working day in day out for free the least she can do is teach you these basic things. Maybe she is so busy and tied up with her own jobs that it hasn't really occurred to her that you have never been taught to tack up.

I used to help at a stables when I was younger and to be honest 95% of the chores were shit shovelling, only about 5% was actually working with the horses. However I did get a free riding lesson for every 2 days I worked. OK so if you work it out in monetary terms I earnt about £1 per hour but at least getting the odd free lesson made me feel like I was not just being taken advantage of. Also I had volunteered , so not like they had asked me to go and work there or anything.

In the meantime, why not look for YouTube videos of tacking up etc. I know it is no substitue for the real thing but everything helps. Or buy some good books with pictures.

Also why not go on a riding holiday for some intensive learning? I have seen a place called Highlands Unbridled that do working horse care holidays quite cheap. I have never been there so no idea what it's like and can't vouch for it, but you could research it.

There is also a place called Freerein in Wales which gets good reviews (and I think a couple of Mumsnetters have been). They offer an 'onto the trail' holiday for beginners where they teach basics like tacking up as well as riding. It's meant to be very good from what I have read (although not cheap).

Littlebigbum Wed 20-Feb-13 19:07:16

Love Highlands Unbridled cheers for that Kissing. 50bales Thames valley is nice 6hrs of poo picking.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 19:44:12

grin thanks 50 if i were nearer i would take you up on that.
kittycat thanks - i will try and talk to RI on Sunday. Today i have mucked out (properly!) and set fair 11 stables, emptied, scrubbed and refilled 11 water buckets (no hose pipe so all done by lugging buckets of water about) while RI had lessons, and did the 2 remaining stables - i went today expecting pony club but it wasnt, it was cancelled so it was just yesterday.

she is at pains to thank me and i just think she genuinely is so pushed for time so often that she doesnt have time to teach me. My being there is a help to her, no doubt about it, and she is thankful, but its no longer of any help to me. She asked me when she would be seeing me again.

im not going in on saturday (which i think was a shock as ive been every weekend since being off work) but i have come home having done Sat, Sun, Tues and today, now my back is killing me, my arms ache, ive got blisters on both hands, ive cut my finger, my legs are covered in huge purple bruises (ive no idea why but i presume its the wheelbarrow!?!) and my arms and hands are still covered in scratches from the hawthorne hedge from when i poo picked the enormous field....so i need a break.

and i need to talk to her. but i just dont know what to say. i like being there, its not as if i dont, but she suggested i start going to help out to get some experience, and im not getting experience of anything other than yard work.

Mirage Wed 20-Feb-13 20:05:17

Can you say to her 'I need some experience in grooming/tacking up,ect,what do you suggest?' and see what she says.

The bruises are from the wheelbarrow,I get them too.Shame you aren't near me,I'm a dab hand at speed grooming & tacking up.Today I bought 2 ponies in,picked out feet,groomed,cleaned brushes and had started to tack one pony up in the time it took the dds to eat a snack & get changed into their riding kit.grin I could do with a hand some days.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 20:57:17

im just going to ask for a lesson dedicated to grooming and tacking up. if i pay for it then it will happen.

at some point soon i need to get my head around going back to work - so i will be there less anyway, i will just go one day a week to help out with no expectations.

when i want to learn something ill pay for a lesson on it. i think thats how its going to work.

mrslaughan Wed 20-Feb-13 22:15:39

Vicar, as happy as you are with your RI - she really is taking advantge of your goodwill, - which I think you are already feeling.

Every yard I have ridden at - has had "volunteers", but it has always been a 2 way street. Whether it has been work helping with the horses in exchange for riding lessons - or tuition on things such as grooming and tacking up. the yard I am at now, there are ladies that share the weekend responsibilities, and younger kids who help out at the riding school, but get lessons free, or at a reduced rate.

With that in mind why don't you find a way to ask her if you could organise some sort of quid pro quo, she gets the help, which she isn't actually paying a wage for, and you get something else in return - like one free lesson a week.

Oh yes - and looking after horses is hard work, but when it is your own, presumably you will only have 1 :-), so only one stable etc......

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 22:31:40

i know sad i just dont want to sully the relationship we have which is really good - i just dont know how to say it without her taking offence - she is lovely but i get the feeling she could take me the wrong way....she is very much a teacher and expects perfection - volunteer or not.

she is quite critical sometimes even though the labour is free.....she expects jobs to be done efficiently, her way, and done properly - and that goes for kids and adults. i find it hard sometimes as she shows me one way and then her DD shows me another....im now realising the way she does things is the most time efficient and so im adopting that.

but yes - i need some tuition, i do however think i may need to pay for it because she is so so pushed for time. she appreciates the help - i know she really does. but you are correct that im getting nothing in return for the work im doing. i do feel im treated as staff....(without pay)

ive made a rod for my own back here i think. the thing is its going to stop when i go back to work anyway so im loathed to rock the boat too much. i really like her and i think things will change a bit when im back at work and not skivvying any more.

Pixel Wed 20-Feb-13 22:40:44

The other thing to consider is that you've already said you intend to keep your future horse at the yard. It could get awkward if the RI gets too used to relying on your help as you will feel obligated to carry on even though you will be wanting to spend the time with your own horse. Unless of course an arrangement is come to where you get a reduced livery or a free lesson or something like that.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 22:47:13

i know.
i really need to pin her down though about livery - she doesnt have any at the min - the last one she had was a disaster and the poor horse got very ill and had to be pts sad

she told me before that if i got a horse that could be on working livery she would reduce my fees.

but m not even sure she has room now. she is at max capacity.

i need to talk to her once i can ride properly. its pointless getting a horse yet - i cant ride well enough, so its by the by for now.

i do need to talk to her about what im getting from the work at the yard....i will. just need to figure out how to talk to her. really dont want to offend.

Butkin Wed 20-Feb-13 22:49:42

I'm going to cut to the chase and refer to your original question - What would you expect from lessons? -

a. I would expect to pay a reasonable amount of money agreed in advance for with an individual or group lesson.

b. As an adult I wouldn't offer to help around the yard. I would expect the riding school to pay proper staff a proper wage. It is normal to give young teenagers rides/tuition in exchange for assistance but not adults.

c. Right from the start I would expect (if required - which you do) the chance to groom my mount, pick out their feet and tack up with assistance. You are doing them a favour in doing all this but good experience for you.

d. In the first few lessons I'd expect some work on the lunge with and without stirrups plus some general riding around the school first at walk but quickly (in first couple of lessons) progressing to rising trot.

e. Within half a dozen lessons I'd want to be learning aids to canter.

f. Within a dozen lessons I'd want to be thinking about jumping small cross poles.

h. I'd want to investigate what opportunities there are for hacking.

i. I'd want to see what proper stable management courses are offered. This doesn't mean lots of mucking out. It means learning about all sorts of appropriate tack and how to use them properly and to put them on and off etc. Discussion about stable kept or grass kept horses and different sort of feed and forage. Discussion about medications, treatments, horse welfare etc.

I learned all the above within about 4 months of going to the riding school for the first time. DD obviously learned loads from us as a young child but now (aged 9) Pony Club rallies include flat work, jumping and a decent level of stable management. She even suprises me with her knowledge of bits!

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:01:08

ive done this all wrong then - but she asked me to go in and help for the experience and thats what i wanted above all else.
how else do you find enough out to own a horse?

im not a good enough rider to progress as fast as you say butkin - and she is looking after me on that score.

she is really very knowledgeable but she works alone all week - she just isnt earning enough to pay for help, so i dont mind helping out to keep her there, its just getting slightly complacent now. i thought i would get some of that knowledge in return for help but she doesnt have time. so many horses and just her there means she is really pushed.

like i say - it will have to stop when im back to work anyway - or i could just stay and help one day a week after my lesson.
im to blame for this really - ive was so keen that ive allowed it to become what it is.

saintmerryweather Thu 21-Feb-13 07:59:31

i dont think you are to blame vicar not at all. i think like others have said that shes taking advantage of you. you are also not too bad of a rider to be progressing as fast as butkin says. tbh if youre still on the lunge i would be very hmm. you should have moved on to riding independently and learning to control your horse yourself long before now. that is NOT your fault. youve got more patience than me, if my instructor insisted i stay on the lunge for months as much as i love her teaching style, i would be off.

i firmly believe that once you are off lunge and walking trotting and cantering by yourself you will feel like a much better rider. and cantering on a hack is just amazing

Floralnomad Thu 21-Feb-13 10:07:58

I'm going to chip in here as well , I think that after your first couple of bad experiences you found this woman and have kind of been swept along IYSWIM. If I were you I'd be looking further afield for a large ,efficiently run school that does courses for adults in stable management and horse care . You said you canter now so you probably ride well enough to go on a novice adult group lesson ,which would also mean you meet people who are likely like minded and at the same sort of level . You never know you might meet a like minded individual that you could at some future point you could share a horse with . Also when you ride with other people its way more fun than riding on your own , and you can always have the odd private lesson to really work on something . When you are ready to have your own horse you can then look around for a good livery yard that caters for your needs ( ie shift work / weekday help/ etc) . Or you may find that a horse share works better for you first . I think you may ride better than you think you do but your current RI wants perfection and let's face it few of us are !

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