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Riding lessons - leader holding reins

7 replies

Nowthereistwo · 23/04/2022 14:36

Hi, my 6 year old is having lessons at a new stables (stables have only been giving lessons for 4 months now).

She is being led whilst she learns the correct postion and aids etc but the person leading the pony is holding the reins and not using a leadrope. This was the same when they went out on a hack.

This doesn't sit right with me but I don't know why? Obviously when dd tries to steer she is pulling the leaders hand instead of the pony and the pony is just following the leader rather than listening to dd.

Any experienced thoughts on this?

OP posts:
ChampagneJustBecause · 23/04/2022 23:36

Request they be put on lead reins.
They’ll be pulling on child’s hands, spoiling contact, and pulling them out of position.
How are they meant to learn ‘feel’ otherwise ?

Is the yard lazy in other ways ?

XelaM · 24/04/2022 14:33

Have never seen this in our busy riding school. I don't think that's the norm at all.

tuliplover · 24/04/2022 16:26

When I learned to ride no one ever led us. I don't get this at all, and it makes no sense whatsoever to not have the reins. It takes a few a minutes to learn how to sit properly! Ask why they are doing this - it just prolongs the learning (I objected to half my kids lesson being led out on a hack - I said I'd rather they were being instructed, not just sitting passively. We didn't last long at that stables).

Nowthereistwo · 24/04/2022 20:16

I think I'll have to bring it up somehow. I think I'll phase it by asking why they do it and see what they say.

As pp said I have already complained that half the "lessons" have been hacks and not actually learning anything.

OP posts:
Dobirdseversleep · 24/04/2022 20:20

I can’t get worked up about the hack vs schooling lesson for a child who is on the lead rein, both are going to be useful, the school is an enclosed space where ponies sometimes just follow to the rear of the pack, a hack involves different scenery and surfaces, perhaps some less even ground. Whilst on lead rein she is probably going to just be doing walk and trot so a mix of school and hack is fine. To go off lead rein she will probably need to be in the school for a while.

CaptainThe95thRifles · 26/04/2022 13:52

I've known places start kids in similar ways for the protection of the ponies' mouths. The rider pulls on the leader's hand, not the mouth, because the rider is still learning to balance. Small children are not learning "feel", they've got to learn to handle themselves on a horse before they can handle the horse. It's not necessarily the way I'd do it, but there is a logic to it - by the time the kid takes up the reins, they should be past the wobbly hanging on stage. It's a variation of starting kids on the lunge without reins, which is common in some other parts of the world.

As for hacks, I guess that depends on the hack. Being led out around woodland with undulations, bends, roots and fallen branches, small slopes will teach a child to balance and sit more competently on a horse. I'd consider that an excellent educational experience and more fun than walking in an arena. Being led around a flat field or along a road instead of the arena might be a waste of time without instruction.

maxelly · 26/04/2022 14:09

Yeah doesn't sound ideal but might perhaps be for good reason so you might want to politely query? A well trained lead rein pony should always be primarily following the leader/ground person rather than the rider, that's kind of the point, lead rein kiddies are usually pretty erratic in their aids so you don't want a pony that's going to go shooting off the leg or grind to a sudden halt off a mistakenly applied aid, don't get me wrong they should pay some attention to what the child's doing but the best ones kind of look to the leader for confirmation before complying with what they're asked 😄That's why so many ponies are either good lead rein nannies or good first riddens but rarely both!

And they can totally learn out on hacks, like others have said in many ways its better than in the arena but of course it depends on whether she's actually being taught on the hack or if she just sits there and is led around, the latter I would call more a pony ride than a hack, it's still of some use in developing the muscle strength and balance needed to ride but she won't get the hang of steering or rising trot for example without being taught. You do often get the very little tiny tots to not hold their own reins, particularly in trot, because they lack the balance, coordination and concentration to sit properly and steer at the same time, and you risk them dropping them and getting tangled or accidentally jabbing the pony in the mouth but at 6 I wouldn't have thought that would be a problem, maybe for the first few lessons they would want her to focus on her seat rather than steering/stopping the pony but in most riding schools in the UK they want them off the lead rein asap so getting them to steer for themselves is amongst the earliest things they teach, and for that it's better for the leader not to be holding the reins (the leader can have their lead rope clipped to the bit so they can control the pony without having to actually touch the reins)...

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