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DD's Riding School

(13 Posts)
emlu67 Mon 27-Jun-11 14:32:15

I wrote on here some time ago that my DD (7 but petite) has been riding the same pony week in week out, the smallest laziest one they have. She had two or three rides in a row on different ponies recently and did OK on them but now it is back to the lazy one again each week.

She has been on the same lesson for almost a year now and I can see her having little chance of improving and being moved up to the next class when she spends so much time just getting the pony to go forward that she has little chance to concentrate on anything else. Other children seem to come and go on this lesson and are rarely given this pony even if they are the same height and ability as DD.

I did complain this weekend when she was on it again and was told I should ask that she is on something else each time I book although usually you are not allowed to choose. I told them that I really don't mind which one she rides but spending 9/10 lessons on the same one is giving her no variety at all.

I am not the type to complain so felt really bad even mentioning it to them but lessons have changed so much since I was a child (health and safety I presume) they don't get to do a lot in her lesson as it is and DD is really keen on doing well and moving up. Sometimes when I see a less experienced child on a good pony not wanting to canter I know DD would give her right arm to ride it!

I am going to vary times and days so will get a different instructor (although it is not the instructor who chooses the ponies, in fact I don't know who chooses) in the hope of her riding something else.

I don't want to move stables as it has a very good reputation but DD and I are getting fed up, suggestions please?

CMOTdibbler Mon 27-Jun-11 14:37:09

I'd do some trial lessons at other places to see what they were like tbh. Reputation or not, the important thing is your dds experience.
Over the summer is a great time to see how other places are.

Disasterpiece Mon 27-Jun-11 16:03:57

Without wanting to sound very rude... Actually how capable is your daughter? Is she very confident? Able to walk, trot and canter with full control of the horse? Ride a 20m circle on her own etc?

It may be that she is not quite ready for the next "level" of horse weather she want to have a go on a faster one or not.

If she is a very good rider and you are not happy then go somewhere else, lessons these days are so expensive arent they.

Get her in to 30 minute private lessons. Im not a fan of group lessons, they get to used to just trotting along behind the horse in front and dont imporve themselves at all.

What are are you in?

VivaLeBeaver Mon 27-Jun-11 16:18:41

Doesn't sound very good to me. Regardless of her ability I can't believe that a riding stables that does kids lessons only has one pony suitable/quiet enough if your DD has been riding for a year.

Hopefully now you've said something then she'll get a different one. If not find somewhere else. Its not good to be on the same pony every lesson.

emlu67 Mon 27-Jun-11 20:24:05

Thank you for your replies.

Disasterpiece - she is in a group lesson of 6, is very confident in walk, trot, changing rein, circles etc and can get into canter but only with the instructor helping to encourage this pony. There are a couple of other very safe ponies of around the same size that are more willing but she just never gets the chance to ride them and if she does that will be the week they don't do cantering in the lesson! Also her usual instructor tends to get helpers to lead all but the safest ponies in canter, I don't know if this is normal or not!

She has cantered more forward going ponies by herself a few times (with a different instructor) and managed quite well so it is just such a shame that she can't practice a bit more often.

I hope now I have said something they will take notice but I will look around at other places in the meantime.

Disasterpiece Mon 27-Jun-11 20:29:27

So the pony is holding her back then isnt it. Thats no good, especially as lessons these days cost a small fortune!

Does the riding school do private lessons? If so definitely give it a try if you can afford it. If they dont then look around for somewhere that does.

What area are you in? Maybe someone can recommend somewhere.

slipperandpjsmum Tue 28-Jun-11 18:42:40

In what way does it have a good reputation because this does not sound great to me!

I would have a chat with them about your concerns give them one more chance and then take your business elsewhere!

horseymum Tue 28-Jun-11 20:23:55

Have you thought about trying vaulting instead? She will get loads of experience cantering on great horses and learn so much more than just plodding around in a group lesson. Have a look on the british equestrian vaulting website to see if there is a club nearby. She could always go back to riding lessons after a few months and her seat will be loads better, she will be more confident and able to think more about steering etc. I would second the poster who said to be honest about her ability though as I have taught riders who have been to lessons for years elsewhere but cannot actually get a pony to ride a 20m circle away from the others or stop trotting before the back of the ride because the are so used to riding in a group lesson they have no independant ability. Also ask for some private lunge lessons if you don't fancy trying vaulting, they are so beneficial.
A petite child may need quite a willing pony if her legs are not very strong or effective. maybe she could do some other fitness during the week to build up her strength. If it is quite a stocky pony, it might not even realise she is there!

Disasterpiece Tue 28-Jun-11 20:37:23

Private lunge lessons are fab!

When I was younger my instructor used to have me riding bareback with no bridle, my eyes closed and jumping.

Probably not allowed to do that to children any more though grin

BlueChampagne Wed 29-Jun-11 16:36:18

Agree that some private lessons might be the best way forwards, and not on the lazy pony. Hopefully will make you seem and feel proactive rather than just complaining, since you don't want to move stables. If you can build up a rapport with another instructor, you'll find it easier to voice your concerns.

Good luck & let us know how it goes.

emlu67 Wed 29-Jun-11 18:55:30

The riding school she goes to only does private lessons for adults so I won't have any joy there. Vaulting lessons sound interesting, I had no idea there was such a thing!

Horseymum I totally agree about the petite child thing, I am sure her legs are not even in the right place as they are so short and the pony so round! I have seen older children ride said pony in the next group up and they don't seem to get much out of it either so I know it is not just my DD, in fact pony wants a doze most of the time and should probably should be in retirement by now anyway or just used as a lead rein. Forgot to mention DD is quite capable of riding independently and not just following the one in front but this is only noticeable when she rides something else!

Disasterpiece you made me laugh about the bareback brideless jumping. I used to do similar things but am sure this would never be allowed nowadays. Current instructor actually makes helpers LEAD the ponies on the 5 minute hack after the lesson on a path around fields which are ON THE PREMISES so the children are not actually riding at all even though all off lead rein. Health and Safety gone mad!

Anyway got talking to a mum at school today and she has recommended somewhere that her son goes to. I have booked up a lesson for DD weekend after next, she will continue with her other lessons for the time being as well but with a different instructor until I get to know the new place better then we can decide which is best or alternate weeks. DD so keen and confident I just can't have her plodding round anymore!

Disasterpiece Wed 29-Jun-11 19:04:16

Emlu67 That sounds like a good plan.

Yes there are lots of things you are probably not allowed to do during lessons now. Riding with your eyes closed is brilliant for your balance though. I just remembered I used to ride a bit like a penguin with my toes out when I was about 7 so she used to tie my stirrups to the girth!


horseymum Wed 29-Jun-11 21:04:57

hope you have some success trying new place. re not being allowed to go bare back etc I say it again VAULTING!! you get to stand up, turn around, hang off the side etc, whilst horse is cantering (obviously when you get a bit better, done in walk at first!)

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