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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 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?

MoonlightandWerewolves Tue 30-Oct-12 23:01:39

Sounds like the second school took you at your word and gave you a beginner's 'schoolmaster' - i.e. a reliable beastie who knows his stuff, but also knows what he can get away with.

From a first lesson, you should come away feeling pleased to be on a horse and the instructor should have gained some idea of your confidence, balance, fitness and expertise levels.
Did they take you through all the paces and explain ahead of each change how to complete the transitions? Did you feel comfortable when they were suggesting seat, hand and leg adjustments to improve during the lesson? Also, did they provide detailed feedback at the end and suggest what would be worked on for any subsequent lessons?
If yes to the above, then sounds as though it was a good, and properly planned, first lesson.

Also, hope you remembered the Epsom salts for the post-lesson bath! grin

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 30-Oct-12 23:10:05


i came away feeling pleased to be on a horse, definitely. loved it.
she didnt take me through all the paces or explain anything - what is a transition???
she told me to sit more into the middle of the saddle and relax more. she told me i was pointing my heels down too much,
nothing else - no hand adjustments or leg adjustments although she did say i should be able to get a hand between my knee and the saddle....(i was gripping with my knees too much!)
no feed back at the end of the lesson.

MoonlightandWerewolves Tue 30-Oct-12 23:40:43

Well, at least it confirms you want to be back riding again.

A "transition" is just the change between the paces - so, walk to trot, trot to canter and so on.

I wouldn't write them off just yet - if you felt comfortable with the instructor, it could be worth booking one more lesson and asking for feed-back / more direction during it to see if they build on this first one?

If it was just the 'finally back in the saddle' bit you enjoyed though, then you might need to see about finding somewhere else.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 31-Oct-12 01:13:55

im just so disappointed that the first place was so bad and unprofessional.

the second place - seemed ok but i thought i would get more "instruction". i booked another lesson, the girl was quite young and i wonder if she is qualified tbh. the horse did more than she did.

dont know confused

Wilding Wed 31-Oct-12 05:47:00

I would go for another lesson and see how you feel after that, tbh - if it's your first one after a long time it will have been more about getting you used to being on a horse again, they won't want to over-burden you with instructions right at the start. They should get stricter about positioning etc as you go on. If you're concerned about your instructor's qualifications, just ask - any decent place should be able to reassure you on that front.

The ploddy horse sounds standard - I was always given total slugs when I first started having lessons. It's annoying having to keep pushing them on, but on the plus side it really helps build up your leg muscles! As you get better they should put you up on more lively/difficult horses.

Zazzles007 Wed 31-Oct-12 07:49:17

Hi OP, I get the impression from your lesson that you were pretty much let loose in an arena, and then 'supervised' by a young lady, who didn't seem to give you a lot of instruction. Does this seem a fair assessment?

In your situation, I think I would have expected quite a bit more - the instructor usually talks (almost) non-stop during the lesson and should run through anywhere from 2-6 exercises which help both you and the horse 'go' better. In your case, I would have expected that the instructor would have given you constant feedback on your seat and position, with lots and lots of minor corrections so that you are sitting better and able to influence the horse to go better. These exercises would be done at the walk, and even more so at the trot.

As Moonlight said, the exercises you would have learnt in the first part of the lesson at walk and trot, are then applied in the canter (the hardest gait to do stuff in) to test your learning. Then the instructor would end the lesson on your strengths and areas that you need to work on in the next lesson.

As for the young girl who 'instructed' you, I would be tempted to call the riding school and see if there is a 'head instructor' or someone more senior to her to give you your next lesson. Try booking a lesson with the main instructor and see if there is a difference in the quality of the lesson.

Hope this helps.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 31-Oct-12 10:23:45

that just about sums it up zazzles yes. Its a mother/daughter set up and im just not sure the daughter is a fully qualified instructor, i dont feel like i can ask, there is only her and if she isnt thats that.

There are n't many places around here left to try though.

im still angry that no one has bothered to call me from the first place that let me down and didnt bother cancelling my lesson,

i think there is one more place to try, i might give them a call.

i dont mind a ploddy horse at all - the ploddier the better and they did say that as i progressed i would be put on different horses, but she kept asking me if it as coming back - it wasnt!

im going to need a lot of lessons i think to get confident enough again. i certainly didnt feel confident to canter at all and my trot was a tad clumsy - a bit hit and miss.(literally! my arse is testimony to that today!)but i asked them to treat me like a totally new rider. I mounted, was told how to hold the reins, then basically i walked and trotted around the arena without much more instruction after that. maybe im expecting too much from a first lesson.

im going to go back for another and im going to ring another school (tehre is one left!) and have a lesson there to see how it compares.

thanks all for the input.

Alameda Wed 31-Oct-12 10:36:07

I would expect to have to 'think' constantly, not just mentally but all over, and a running commentary of praise mingled with constructive criticism/instruction.

Alameda Wed 31-Oct-12 10:38:33

(instructions I can understand, not 'drop your left hip' and that sort of thing)

agree it is a good idea to pay more for a BHSAI or equivalent

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 31-Oct-12 11:10:12

well ive just booked another lesson with a fully qualified lady who used to teach at a college

she sounded much more what i was expecting - she said she will have me on a lunge and wants to see me in the daylight so she can assess.

ive told her i want to learn from scratch and i told her what i was doing - booking a lesson with each local school - she was very happy with that and says that once i have had a lesson with her i will not want to swap....

she told me all her qualifications and certificates and sounded like an older lady. ive told he i want to learn everything with a view to having my own one day. She was lovely.
lesson booked with her for Friday morning.

Wilding Wed 31-Oct-12 11:32:22

That sounds much better! You should definitely be getting a running commentary, especially in a one-on-one lesson - when I said they wouldn't overburden you with instructions I just meant that they should be focusing on basic aids & position rather than the more complicated stuff, but if you were just left to wander that's rubbish! Re: some of the comments above though, I'd be very surprised if they expected you to canter. I started having lessons again after a 10 year gap and didn't canter at all to start with, as the school believed in establishing a good seat and getting pupils completely confident in trot first.

Good luck with it on Friday - do come back and let us know how it goes!

Really missing riding now - am currently in the middle of a country that's absolutely stuffed with horses and I have no way of getting to them...

<wanders off grumbling>

MoonlightandWerewolves Wed 31-Oct-12 12:26:23

Confidence is good! Hope you have a great lesson and let us know.

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 31-Oct-12 17:58:32

i popped into the equestrian store to get some half chaps (sore shins today!) and told the lady in there about the lesson - she said it sounded like easy money was being made so im really hoping and praying that the new place on Friday is going to be much better.....from what she said on the phone i suspect she knows much better how to teach.

i will update. my motto is if at first you dont succeed!!

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 01-Nov-12 22:57:53

i found the first school that let me down on Facebook. ive posted a comment. im really so pissed of with them, i have spent £120 on equipment and to be let down like that really really has annoyed me - they never did call me to rebook or explain.
they obviously dont need the business.
what ive found is that sitting someone on a horse and charging £23 per 30 mins is easy money, it doesnt seem to matter whether youre qualified or not, professional or not.

i am hoping to goodness that tomorrows lesson at the other school ive found is better.....

MoonlightandRoses Thu 01-Nov-12 23:03:34

Well, at least you're going into the next one armed with things to look out for and ask about.

Mind you, if they're good, you'll see it definitely isn't easy money. (Not always easy on the pupils when they use the outside arena in the howling gale/lashing rain either though...grin)

One of the best teachers I had was a mad Swede who had been a junior international - she only considered you had been working if you fell off the side of the horse at the end of it, due to having no power left in your legs! Bloody tough, but definitely learned things.

Looking forward to tomorrow's update. smile

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 02-Nov-12 11:30:32

HURRAH! ive found a proper instructor!! grin
she was lovely and i actually learnt something! the other "school" stuck me on and watched me ride.

This one actually taught me how to make the horse move without kicking, how to stop gently and properly, how to sit, most importantly, and how to hold the reins properly - i didnt get to a trot but at least im learning that its all about your body, how you talk to the horse through your body movements....a revelation!

im so happy. she was fab and ive booked again for next week. I told her i would love eventually to own my own and she i can go early if i want to learn to groom, and she will do everything with me, stable management and the works, im so happy! Learning to ride is going to take me a long time, but at least im learning

mrslaughan Fri 02-Nov-12 16:13:19

Where-a-bouts are you? Can you share the the name of the last school you went too.

ExitPursuedByABanger Fri 02-Nov-12 16:18:46

Sounds as if you have found a wonderful place to learn.

Keep us updated on your progress.

Alameda Fri 02-Nov-12 18:21:46

smile I'm so pleased! This is such an expensive hobby it's reasonable to expect something for all the £££. I have a friend who rides with enviable grace and skill, she had an insane perfectionist for an instructor who didn't let her canter for YEARS. So it probably pays to go slowly (not that slowly!)?

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 02-Nov-12 19:37:54

I'm thrilled. This lady cared deeply for her horses welfare and is a proper instructor, I
Really liked her too. It's called Woodall riding school and it's near brackenholme fitness park, between Howden and Hemingbrough in East Yorkshire. I've been like grin all day! She is exactly what was searching for. It pays to try a few places.

MoonlightandBonefires Fri 02-Nov-12 21:04:11

Yay - Happy Friday! Hands Vicar a celebratory wine.

Nice to see 'third time lucky' actually working.


Zazzles007 Fri 02-Nov-12 21:59:52

Vicar what a great update. Your new instructor sounds like a real treasure. Learn as much as you can from her, and you will go far grin. Learning about horses is a great journey, and you've gotten past one of the first big hurdles, finding an instructor that you like.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 02-Nov-12 23:22:02

i knew i hadnt got the right instructors until i found her.....she is so knowledgeable, she understands horses and thats what i wanted - i had been so scared of hurting the horse i was on on tuesday, the instructor at that "schoo"l said if i hurt him he would tell me - that wasnt good enough for me......i wanted someone who understood horses and this lady is just fabulous. i was there an hour and a half in total and she charged me £20 and told me more about horses in that time than ive ever heard from anyone before.....i loved her.
i know now you dont have to kick them to ask them to walk
i know that you only need the lightest touch on the reins and that even on turning the other rein is important
i know what a closed rein is
i know what the horses withers are
i know how to stand around a horse (same side as her!)
i know how to sit (need more practice at this!!!!)
i know how to ask the horse to move
i know how to ask the horse to stop
i know what their sharpest sense is (those big ears are not for nothing!)
i know that they rest their back legs when standing
i know that if they rest their forelegs something is wrong
i know how to measure how long my stirrups need to be
i know that the girth needs adjusting and why

she was wonderful. exactly what i was looking for. i am thrilled i have found her, i was starting to lose faith!
she better not retire before i get my own! i am truly thrilled to bits and cannot wait for my next lesson....

she is a treasure. and her horses are lucky. smile

MoonlightandBonefires Fri 02-Nov-12 23:28:01

It's great when you find a good instructor, isn't it. So glad you did. You'll also find that just shifting your balance in the saddle (i.e. looking the way you want to go) will help with changing direction. Ditto with changing the pace/rhythm of your rising and moving with the horse, will change their pace and speed (horses do not like off-kilter bumping in the saddle) with minimal rein use to do so.

The analogy I was taught for the rein was the hold should be similar to having a small bird in your hand - constant for re-assurance and communication aid, but soft, not squeezed tight.

Am looking forward to the updates on your 'riding log' over the next months (and years!)

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