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How many riding lessons for a novice 4yr old? Shared or individual lessons?

(9 Posts)
Onlyaphase Sat 06-Aug-11 20:50:22

DD has just had her first riding lesson, after months of asking to ride a horse. The lesson went really well, DD enjoyed it and is talking about the next time she rides etc.

The stables is shut for 2 weeks now, so the ponies can have a holiday, and of course I now have lots of questions for the owner/instructor, and she isn't around. Can anyone give me some idea in the meantime about the following please?

How often should DD be having lessons ideally? And should the lessons be private or shared? Shared lessons (max of 4 people) are £12 for 30 mins, private lessons are £16 or £18 I think, so cost is obviously an issue here, but are shared lessons more fun?

Do children start off with, for example, fortnightly lessons and then build up to weekly ones? Practice outside of lessons isn't possible unfortunately. I was thinking of fortnightly shared lessons, but then is this often enough to actually make any progress in riding?

Are there any other questions I should be asking the owner before we start regular lessons to avoid surprises later on?

As you can gather, I haven't ridden for 30 odd years, and don't really have a clue. Any words of wisdom would be gratefully received!

strictlovingmum Sat 06-Aug-11 21:04:18

Our DD did first two individually, thereafter, one in pair, and then in the group of four.
First two are very important, so she understands, simple commands, positions etc.
And yes group lessons are more fun, DD rides ones a week.

Onlyaphase Sat 06-Aug-11 21:17:24

Ooh, thanks for that. I like the idea of changing the lessons round as she progresses.

strictlovingmum Sat 06-Aug-11 21:36:06

Individual ones are more expensive, so any more then two, I would be bithmm about stables tb.
In group lessons they are able to ride along side other children, so yes it is often helpful.
Good luck, I am sure she will enjoy it, what a wonderful thing to have as a hobby.

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Sat 06-Aug-11 23:40:21

Id probably go for group lessons to start with while she is small, personally. She gets less intense attention, more time to think about things, and can also learn from watching the others, whilst having fun and playing games and things like that. Maybe progress to individuals when she needs to move to the next level.
Love the nickname BTW, Good luck with that! grin

Butkin Sun 07-Aug-11 06:58:01

DD started at 2.5 by having private lessons intersperced with us helping her of course.

By 4 she was having group lessons (usually about 4 children) and this really improved her. It a) gave her some recovery time, b) seeing other kids do something inspired her c) she realised it could be social fun.

Onlyaphase Sun 07-Aug-11 08:20:47

Thanks everyone, this is really helpful. Thinking about it, I'll go with group lessons as Saggy said, this means less intense attention which is probably a good thing at this stage. And more fun and games with more than one person there too.

The instructor is lovely but can be less "oh well done for trying" in that touchy/feely everyone gets a prize way than DD is used to at preschool etc. I'm happy with this approach personally, but it is more abrasive than she has experienced up to now, so a group lesson is probably better than 30 minutes of this on a one to one basis.

Poledra Tue 16-Aug-11 09:13:44

I've just started DD1 (7 yo) at riding lessons, at the stable I used to ride at before she was born grin She had three walk-rounds (one-to-one with a junior instructor) and this week, had a lesson on the lunge rein with the senior instructor (who is quite hard on the adults but lovely with the children). He's proposed she has at least one more lunge rein lesson, to get her trot moving, then he wants her to move to a group lesson, as he says it's much more fun for the children to ride together than on their own. Hope your DD enjoys it as much as my DD1 (and I get to go riding too - result!).

LizaTarbucksAuntie Sun 04-Sep-11 07:17:01

Littlemad just started lessons and is in a group of 4, 2 girls the same sort of age as him and 1 much older girl, but all seem to be at the same ability level.

I was wondering the same thing about how best to set up his lessons because he's taken to it like a duck to water - I've never seen him so keen to do what he's told and concentrate so hard (not stealth boasting just delighted to have found something he's so into!)

Anyway I'm planning to book a set of 10 lessons now which will be more or less weekly (10 because the stables give a 10% discount) After that we'll see how it goes I suppose.

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