Dd(9) has recently started learning to ride, she's had 7, 1 hour lessons so far. Is it normal now for beginners to have a leader all of the time? When I learned to ride at a similar age it was on a friend's pony in thier field and I was cantering within a couple of weeks and never had anyone to lead so I can't judge what's normal. I'm getting a bit frustrated watching DD plod around as a passenger. The leaders are all young girls who are frequently told to let go and just walk alongside but inevitably within 5 mins are holding the reins again and fussing the ponies at every opportunity. I'm not sure how the riders are able to learn control when they're not allowed to do any controlling. Do I wait it out or look for a different school? I did speak to the instructor yesterday who said the kids in the group are almost ready to not have leaders.
You and I both probably learned when it was a damn site more laid back. I think there is so much fear of anyone getting hurt (I was routinely thrown off and I'm fine!) or litigation if their kids get in a scrape that the schools don't like to let anyone progress really until they're in their early teens or so. It feels a shame really. Perhaps there is an alternative class dd could go in? or private classes with just the instructor?
That sounds like a long time on a lead rein to me.
Whilst I wouldn't expect cantering, I'd certainly expect them to be trusted to steer and stop at walk.
However the insurance costs for riding schools are absolutely nuts these days and a lot of things that were expected as a skill/torture (e.g. canter no stirrups) 20 years ago have been quietly dropped off the lessons over the past 10 years or so.
My daughter is having the same experience OP. She's had seven lessons and is almost always led , she's gradually being left unled for longer periods of time. When she is left in control she learns so much more and it is frustrating to see the pony club kids do too much for her sometimes.
Though I do have to admit that she has a way to go before she should be allowed to progress out of the 'have a go' lessons that she is taking. Her lessons are group lessons (6-8per session) as that's all we can afford and they are also good value. My partner knows a bit about horses from his upbringing and fully approves of their stables and believes the ponies are well looked after there so I will stick with sending her there though.