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  1. #1

    Default Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    Hi - a bit of advice please. My daughter is 12 years old and has been taking twice monthly 30 min private lessons and twice monthly 30 min shared lessons with her friend who can only ride fortnightly. My daughter has been riding this way now for 14 months approximately and really enjoys it, but I get the sense that the instructor feels that she should have progressed more. She is able to walk, trot and canter (although has some issues with transitions into canter because she tends to "bounce") and this seems to be the main bug bare for her.

    As an experienced rider myself, I feel that some of the basic building blocks have been missed by the instructor ... they have never been shown how to shorten their own stirrups, they have never been taught to do sitting trot, only rarely ride without stirrups, no trotting poles used, aids not explained. The lesson she had this weekend left her close to tears, she was on a new horse who although was very good, was quite naturally bouncy. The instructor spent most of the lesson shouting at her and her friend and not encouraging them, she tells them that they should be able to do this by now but I disagree, 30 mins in the saddle weekly doesnt add up to much plus she doesnt explain what they need to do to improve other than yelling at them to kick, kick, kick. They both came away from the lesson very flat and feeling like they are "rubbish".

    I have access to a friends horse who is a kind and sane all-rounder and I am considering taking up her offer of a part loan to help move the kids on .... Does anyone have a view on how many hours in the saddle being able to competently canter should take for a kid? I am totally missing the point/being over sensitive and teaching kids to ride is different from when I learnt 30 years ago or should I take the opportunity of taking my daughter back to basics. If that is the case can anyone kindly suggest some lesson plans to get her secure in her seat? Thanks for your help.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    I would expect her to be reasonably competent in canter by now as long a she is not extremely nervous, I would be using poles regularly from a very early stage and would be likely to have introduced small fences as standard, the 1 2 1 lessons would include some lunging to help her really become independent without stirrups and work on her position.
    She will not progress if the instructor is not doing any more than shouting commands, all instructions need to be backed up with reasoning and explanation not just shouted aimlessly, if they always have the same person that may explain why they are not making progress, looking forward a few sessions on the lunge would be useful to get the basics better established without the child having to keep the pony going .

  3. #3
    Not slacking-multitasking
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    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    I had fairly rubbish instruction as a kid, despite my mum trying to find the best options locally, they just weren't very good. It took me years to actually be able to canter properly, partly because either the school made a big deal of it (or had a school with a bricks problem), or I then in turn made a big deal of it in my head. At least at one place I got a lot of sitting trot without stirrups practice in but realistically it was very frustrating and unnecessary.

    I would definitely consider taking on your friends horse, though maybe with some external tuition?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    Your friend's horse with a good freelance instructor sounds a good plan.

    Whereabouts are you? Someone here may be able to suggest a good riding school and/or instructor.

  5. #5
    Old nag equi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    30mins once a week is not going to teach anyone to ride properly in my honest opinion. If she really likes it, she needs to do it more, its really the only way to learn. Is there a reason shes only in private lessons and not in groups? (cheaper in a group obviously)

    If you think your kid is ready to ride more than 30mins a week do try your friends horse part loan, but you would also need lessons on it and the other lessons too so she cant ride just "one" horse.

  6. #6
    Sport horse
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    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by willothewisp View Post
    Hi - a bit of advice please. My daughter is 12 years old and has been taking twice monthly 30 min private lessons and twice monthly 30 min shared lessons with her friend who can only ride fortnightly. My daughter has been riding this way now for 14 months approximately and really enjoys it, but I get the sense that the instructor feels that she should have progressed more. She is able to walk, trot and canter (although has some issues with transitions into canter because she tends to "bounce") and this seems to be the main bug bare for her.

    As an experienced rider myself, I feel that some of the basic building blocks have been missed by the instructor ... they have never been shown how to shorten their own stirrups, they have never been taught to do sitting trot, only rarely ride without stirrups, no trotting poles used, aids not explained. The lesson she had this weekend left her close to tears, she was on a new horse who although was very good, was quite naturally bouncy. The instructor spent most of the lesson shouting at her and her friend and not encouraging them, she tells them that they should be able to do this by now but I disagree, 30 mins in the saddle weekly doesnt add up to much plus she doesnt explain what they need to do to improve other than yelling at them to kick, kick, kick. They both came away from the lesson very flat and feeling like they are "rubbish".

    I have access to a friends horse who is a kind and sane all-rounder and I am considering taking up her offer of a part loan to help move the kids on .... Does anyone have a view on how many hours in the saddle being able to competently canter should take for a kid? I am totally missing the point/being over sensitive and teaching kids to ride is different from when I learnt 30 years ago or should I take the opportunity of taking my daughter back to basics. If that is the case can anyone kindly suggest some lesson plans to get her secure in her seat? Thanks for your help.
    Hi,
    A few questions/ points to consider.

    What are your daughters riding goals? Does she want to show jump? does she want to be a safe hacker? I'ts important that both you and the instructor know where you are heading.

    Have you ever taught anyone before? I've taught for a number of years. My nephews first lesson with me ended with him crying in the centre of the school because I wouldn't ' let him jump as high as the pony can jump!'( he couldn't do rising trot!) Teaching family is way harder than teaching external clients!

    Is there another instructor / school your daughter could attend? It dosen't really sound like she is getting much from her lessons. I second the group lessons - it's fun at 12 to be making horsey friends and learning together gives each child a period of instruction and then time to digest the information and to learn from others. Most riding schools offer fun days / pony club activities which at 12 are so much fun!

    How long to establish a basic, balanced canter? 14 hours for one, 5 hours for another, a lifetime for others.

    The horse you potentially have access to may not take to having a novice, at times nervous and unbalanced child onboard. If it is a larger horse than she is used to it is sometimes easier to master sitting trot on a longer striding horse or pony.

    If you decicde to go ahead and teach your daughter yourself then maybe consider her having a lesson at a riding school at a regular interval. This will help you check how much progress has really been made - compared to how much your daughter learns to ride one horse.

    Think about the things that you feel have been missed out and plan sessions to cover these things - but remember that while you or I would be happy to school for 40 minutes, it might not be fun for a 12 year old!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    Thank you for everyone who has taken the time to reply, and with some excellent insight and information. She is in private and semi private lessons because she was formally in a group and they kept adding more and more kids into it. At one point there was 11 novice riders in a small indoor with one instructor. There was a lot of misbehaving with the ponies and on a couple of occasions the situation got out of control and I thought it was dangerous as non of the kids were particularly in control. My daughter wants to be more than a happy hacker and would love to try some dressage eventually. I have never personally "taught" anyone to ride and I take this point on board. I guess I am sensing that she needs for one to be riding more than 30 mins a week to make progress and may be better going to another school or voicing my concerns over the class sizes at the current one. We are based in Cheshire - many thanks.

  8. #8
    Not slacking-multitasking
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    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    It isn't your lack of experience of teaching that will be the issue but parents trying to teach children is a tricky balance and best done with other back up that the parent can refer to when 'supervising' rather than teaching themselves if that makes sense.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    11 novice riders in a lesson with one instructor, an instructor that shouts andmakes your daughter feel rubbish. First and foremost I'd look for a better RS as the one you are currently using doesn't sound very good at all. FWIW my daughter started riding with group lessons, no more than 6 in the group and all a similar age and level. The ponies she rode were a suitable size and fairly forward going so she didn't need to kick all the time. She was popping tiny cross poles in trot almost from day one and the instructor got them cantering pretty early on. She fell off from time to time, all the kids did but there was a friendly but competitive atmosphere that encouraged them to get back on and not make a big deal of it. It was fun for the kids and my daughter really looked forward to her lessons and never ducked out regardless of the weather and it could be grim at times. She was somewhat younger than your daughter but being with other children made it more enjoyable and I think made her braver.

  10. #10
    Old nag
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    Default Re: Lesson plans for beginner and missed building blocks

    There are clearly issues with that particular RS - whatever your decision a switch there is probably in order. Is there a pony club center near you that does lots of activities? Its a great way to start - and to learn stable management alongside riding. Just do make sure it actually runs a decent range of activities - not all do.

    There is no doubt that hours in the saddle make a difference. But you could also look into horse-y camps or holidays. A number of schools run residential camps in the half term and summers and at 12 that might be just the ticket (but be aware of the tears on the way home because you would not buy the one she fell in love with...).

    If she is genuinely interested now would be a great time to get a share or loan (or buy..). School work has not yet reached the pressure of GCSEs; boys and other social activities are not yet firmly on the horizon. But if the horse is less than suitable she will - quite understandably - loose interest very quickly. 12 is a great age to be getting out and about and finding out about all the various things riding has to offer. I'm a great fan of pony club in that respect (branch or center).

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