Group lesson, individual or both?

Discussion in 'New Riders' started by Calluna, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Calluna

    Calluna Member

    I want to re-inivgorate my riding lessons. So far I've had private lessons, but the last couple I felt that I didn't get enough "coaching" really.

    I have been mulling it over. I spent quite a long time choosing the RI to teach me to ride (complete beginner) only to find that she left the RS after I'd had two lessons! (Grrr...) I've had a two different girls at the RS teach me since then, but to be honest, the lesson I felt I got the most out of in terms of explanation and "teaching" was given by a girl covering for her friend and not a regular instructor.

    So, I was thinking that it would be good to do a group lesson, so that I could watch how others were corrected and taught as well as thinking about what I'm trying to do, though I missed out on this weeks one because I left it late to book and it had filled up. DUH! But it would be saddle time and an opportunity to try and practice what I've been taught so far...

    The alternative I suppose would be to change my day, as that would probably automatically mean I got a different RI who might coach more.

    What do you think? I know there have to be periods of consolidation whenever you learn something new and a private lesson is expensive practice. Would a group lesson be equally as valuable in a different way?
  2. Joyscarer

    Joyscarer New Member

    One of the things I hated when I returned to riding was having a different instructor each time. I found and instructor I liked and booked my private lessons specifically to be taught by her. I made it plain in the office that I wanted continuity of teaching at this stage in my riding.

    Having said all that though, I am very self concious and lacked confidence in myself and my riding.

    In hindsight, I should have had a few group lessons to push me into having to deal with other people. Now I have my own pony I'm very much a loner. Very confident when it's just me and the ponies but not in my comfort zone with others.
  3. eml

    eml Moderator

    I usually recommend new riders start with about six private half hours, first learning the basics of start , stop, steer. The second on the lunge working on sitting and rising trot, then depending on the rider a few more to establish and ability to control the horse in walk and trot. Then I like them to join a small group (2-4 people) to learn to get their horses attention and generally get practice time. Then I built up canter from a few steps to cantering around the school and popping small (tiny) jumps. After this I then like people to have a mix of private (direct instruction) lessons and a group to practice.

    Some people feel pressured in a group, some need personal one to one time. generally though if you and the instructor work together either can work..if you and the RI don't gel you won't learn!!
  4. Jay.o

    Jay.o New Member

    I would try semi private lessons if they're available? I find I learnt more than being in a group lesson and was less intense that a private, especially when I was just starting out. At my school they concentrated on one person at a time mostly, although they'd explain the exercise/aim to both of us at the same time. One of us would watch/try it on our own (if confident to do so) whilst the other was getting the 1-2-1 from the instructor - then, we'd swap over. I felt it gave me time away from the 'teaching' bit to mull it over in my head and to try bits and pieces on my own. In a group this isn't really possible as there'd be too many paople in the school.

    If you could watch a couple of lessons from the other intsructors, that would probably help you decide which day to switch to, if any... You may find another instructor with a similar teaching style to the original one you liked.

    Maybe a couple of lunge lessons may be of use as well. I find them great for concentrating on me instead of Ben for a change. I sometimes think I concentrate so much on him and how he's going that I forget I may have picked up habits adapting to a certain move or exercise.
  5. Doogie

    Doogie New Member

    Personally i prefer group lessons - with no more than 3 others and only if you can work in open order so you arent just stood around waiting for the other riders to finish a movement all the time.

    Apart from being a bit cheaper (so I can afford more!) I find that if the RI has all their attention on me I get a bit flustered by all the instruction they're giving me. In a group they tend to focus on one thing and then leave you to figure it out for a bit whilst they concentrate on someone else and then come back to you and see how youre doing.

    Plus you learn quite a lot from watching other people and "earwigging" when youre having a bit of a breather yourself!

    I think it's down to the instructor. They have to be good at multitasking and picking up on things really quickly.
  6. Laura_107

    Laura_107 Active Member

    I have had private lessons, restricted private lessons (with my two friends), and group lessons and I think there is something to be gained by all three.

    I found privates really helpful to focus on something you wanted to achieve, and meant I was able to ask the RI as many stupid questions as I wanted :redface:! It was also good when I first started lessons again because I was pretty self conscious and thought I would be rubbish!

    Restricted privates are probably my favourite. We are all about the same level, and feel completely comfortable with each other (well I feel ok with them, I think the other two get a bit nervous and embarrassed sometimes!), it means I get to see how they are doing it right/wrong and how it should/shouldn't look. Also they might think of things that I haven't, so more people to ask questions. My RI always tells us to watch the others and listen to what she is telling them, to try and spot what they are doing wrong/right and to take note of how the horse is working, since we may well be riding that horse next week. It is nice only having 3 or 4 of us in the school too, plenty of space to work and not get caught up with each other.

    Group lessons are good too for the same reasons above, though be careful there aren't too many in the group. I once had one with 6 others, all on big horses and it was chaos! My RI FORCED me to join a lesson on Saturday with the 'good people' who have been riding there for years, one owns her own horse and the other teaches there! I was petrified :redface:, my stomach was churning and I just thought I was going to make a complete idiot of myself (my other friend chickened out and left me to it all alone!) BUT, it was really good, the girls were lovely and it meant I could watch them and see how it should be done. When they were doing something my RI would talk us through it so we could see all the actions. And I only made a bit of a fool of myself once...:redcarded:
  7. Calluna

    Calluna Member

    Thank you all. Lots of good, helpful and sensible sounding advice - you really are great.

    RS is shut today of course, but I have now got a much better plan in mind and feel much more cheerful about the whole thing!
  8. Demson

    Demson New Member

    Group lessons can be beneficial in the fact that you can watch others and learn and you can get time to practice on your own while the intructor helps someone else. You won't feel under pressure so much and this may help you to relax better. On the other side you do not get the full attention, so say there are 6 in a group technically your paying for 10min of the instructors time. I also find in groups that a lot but not all instructors teach everyone the same way regardless of the horse, the riders ability or experience.

    I find these better for me, I find I get the instructors full attention and due to having my own horse I always book in a Freelance Instructor so that I am guaranteed the same person everytime. This is great if you find an instructor you get on with and you feel each lesson ends on a postive note.
    If you don't have your own horse and use a school horse make sure you are matched with a good horse that is suited to your riding capabilities and experience and insist on having the same instructor for every lesson unless your not happy or change or go to a different riding school. If you have a question you can be more confident asking rather than feel embarrassed in front of a group especially if you feel its a silly question but just don't understand.
    The downside is the added pressure, the instructor is 100% focused on you and your horse, you don't get to switch off in the way you can in a group session. The instructor should give you periods to practice what she has requested but again shee is still watching you. You need to be able to concentrate without beicoming tense and if you rnot used to one to one this may be difficult at first but over a few lessons you'd be okay.

    Shared lessons, these are brillaint and I have had many of these. I prefer a max of 3 any more and it beocmes a group session. The pro's are that you are able to get enough tution for the day combined with breaks to practice but not as many as in in a larger group......Just enough

    The downsides as with the group session is if another person is having too much difficulty then they may take up too much of the instructors time. Others may not be at the same level as you so the whole lesson could betoo slow or to advanced for you.

    With these 3 options all of them could be ideal, it really comes down to the instructor and how they manage the sessions.
  9. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

    I think that it all depends on the level of intruction. I have group lessons but the RI is fantastic. He really teaches us all, has a theme for the lesson and you feel like you are having private tuition because you get picked up on everything that you do wrong! I would hate to have private lessons with him, I would feel under too much pressure to get it right and too self conscious that he was just watching me ride all the time.

    What I have learnt, is that riding schools vary so much in the level of tution. If you are relatively new to riding, I would go to a few different schools to compare the tution and see which one you click best with.
  10. kate5303

    kate5303 New Member

    I think the most important thing is that you find a trainer who you get on with and whose teaching style you like.
    Good luck with the lessons.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011

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