View Full Version : Depressed after bad lesson
18th Oct 2002, 11:41 PM
I apologise in advance for this being long-winded, I just need to get this off my chest.
Earlier this evening (Friday) I had my second lesson at a course of 8 I'd signed up for supposed to be preparation for BHS stage 1. I was worried beforehand that I'd be bored in these lessons since I can already walk trot and canter with/without stirrups etc. Or at least I thought I could, until I got on this horse, Basil. There were eight of us in the lesson and I was put at the back of the group as the instructor said Basil was the slowest horse. Well he was slow walking out to the arena, lagging behind the whole lesson. I tried transitions, gentle aids, less contact on the reins, more contact, squuezing harder etc. The instructor told me to "kick harder" and "i'd be getting angry with him if I were you". Most unhelpful think I, cos I really don't like beating a horse into working. I was constantly having to cut across the school and circle round to keep up with the ride. A couple of times the instructor came over and grabbed the reins and physically pulled Basil along to catch up. When it came my turn to canter I just couldn't! I had an almost passable working trot, sat before a corner, inside leg on the girth and kick with the outside leg well behind the girth, used my crop when it didn't work, tried the whole thing again but no go. Instructor said that it was really difficult to get Basil to canter at the best of times. I feel cheated in my lesson as I think this horse wasn't up to the task required of him. I also feel useless that I couldn't get him to work with me and do what I asked. I know I can do better than this.
On a lesser point I'm suffering from soreness after lots and lots of sitting trot. Now normally I'm proud of how well I can do sitting trot, even out on hard roads on a hack. During this lesson the instructor did say I looked balanced etc but it was so uncomfortable and I know it was because the horse was hollowing and not moving forward, just bouncing along with the least effort he could get away with. I was using my HM seatsaver, but even so I'm sore to the point of bleeding from being thrown against the pommel.
I'm so miserable I just want to cancel the rest of the course and either go elsewhere to ride or just take private lessons. I don't know what to do.
19th Oct 2002, 12:32 AM
if the lessons are at an exam centre, then they should have a good idea of what kind of horses you might get for an exam. I suspect they will give you slightly worse horses as you need to be slightly over the exam level to take into account the effect of nerves on the day !
however, they could also be taking the michael - and its your money. if you think this is a possibility, have a word with the instructor or training manager and discuss your goals and needs.
19th Oct 2002, 02:28 AM
I would ask for a different horse, if it's possible to change. Take a long bath and just soak in hot water for a bit. It'll help a bit with the soreness.
20th Oct 2002, 03:28 AM
That doesn't sound like a good experience at all. Eight people sounds like an awful lot to me for a group lesson. Perhaps under better conditions, the instructor could have been more helpful, but it sounds like she was more interested in speeding up the horse for its own sake, than in teaching you.
Do you have the option of trading in the lesson package for private lessons?
20th Oct 2002, 08:43 PM
I didn't reply to this immediately, because my first impulse seemed a little over the top. I thought about it for a day. I still agree with it:
Given a lesson like that, I would demand ALL of my money back and go elsewhere. They put you on a clearly unsuitable horse, they admitted that he is difficult even on his best days--and as a student, it is not YOUR job to fix him. With "skill" of instruction like that, I'd be furious. I think they wasted your time and your money.
21st Oct 2002, 05:50 PM
Thank you everybody for your replies. I've been thinking about what to do, and I think I'll give t another week. My first 2 private lessons at this new riding centre were fine, on a really nice horse that I could get along with. So I'll see what happens this Friday, whether or not I have a good lesson. Really though I'm not the kind of person to make demands, I'd just be too scared. A similar thing happened at my last school and I did make a few attempts at asking for a suitable horse etc, but they weren't very helpful so I just stopped going.
Yes kedwards, 8 people and horses learning to ride together is a bit much, with the different abilities, sizes etc. When we introduced ourselves to the instructor all 7 other riders said they had their own horses. Now I know that everyone can benefit from lessons whatever their ability but riding different horses in a group lesson surely isn't the best way for them to improve? If I had my own horse *dreaming* I'd take lessons on him/her,not some school horse that responds completely differently.
Oh dear I'm ranting again, I do apologise. Fingers crossed and I'll update you after the next lesson.
22nd Oct 2002, 01:33 AM
You have a legitimate beef here, don't feel bad about saying something.
For what it's worth, I do think that riding a variety of school horses (even the difficult ones) is a great way to improve your riding, so long has you have good instruction. In a private or smaller group lessons with a good teacher, you may have learned how to get the most out of the horse you rode. That would come in handy later if your own horse goes through a "lazy phase" one day, right? But the instruction is key and your sounds like it was awful.
Good luck in the lesson, if your resigned to going back, but there may be ways of changing things without being confrontational. Could you ask for a different lesson time and hope that you get a different instructor or smaller group?
22nd Oct 2002, 08:49 AM
I dont quite agree with that about the money wasting thing it should not matter what sort of horse you are on you should be able to get the horse going do you use spurs or any thing like that i dont think you should quit just because of that ????? But then again is up to you I hope i dont sound bitchy or any thing like that but if thats the way you fell than i am sorry :( but i really think you should try riding bsail again as i always say NEVER SAY NEVER. I think what you need to do is make your goal or something EG try to get him working for you he might be testing you out how long have you been riding for
22nd Oct 2002, 08:56 AM
i forgot to say the whole 8 people per lesson its not just bad stuff for example when you group lessons you learn way more than you would in a private because you dont just learn from your mistakes you learn from their mistakes as well wich really helps you on things plus you have got other people to help you with things if you dont understand or anything like that well i really hope i helped sorry i did not reply before on the other on
22nd Oct 2002, 09:33 AM
when I was having lessons here in Sweden, the groups could be as big as 16 !! And it worked. Probably because it was all adults wanting to learn something, and the school horses were all quite good. (And the instructress knew her stuff).
22nd Oct 2002, 10:39 AM
cool thats a lot of people i thought 12 was a lot well where i go we have three lessons through the day one at 9:00 am then 11:00am then at 2:30 pm 12 in each lesson including me i stay there for the weekend which is really good i stay on saturdays and sundays every weekend its so fun hehehe well any way 16 WOW
22nd Oct 2002, 01:03 PM
I think you need to get the balance right with how many people are in the lessons. Yes it is a good thing to learn from their mistakes as well but you also need to be getting the attention you need ... one instructor cannot possibly put the amount of personal attention you need when there are too many of you.
I do not agree that you should be paying for lessons and getting a horse like Basil. This is about you paying learn certain skills. Unless the only skills you want to learn are how to deal with a horse that wont move ... you are wasting your money. The fact you have said that your previous lessons were ok makes me think you should stick it out for another lesson which is I think what you have planned. I would give them another shot and possibly Basil in case he was having a bad day but if this is him usually I would ask for another horse. I also think if Basil is hard to move at the best of times then he maybe shouldnt be working as a riding school horse - he needs to see a careers advisor :D
26th Oct 2002, 05:26 PM
Thanks everyone for your comments, it makes me feel better that other people have experienced the same thing or have felt the same way i felt.
Well, last night's lesson was 100% better, the kind I'm used to. I rode Mickey, I'd guess 16hh which is larger than I'm used to. The instructor said he was slow in the walk (true) but ahead in the trot (also true). It was more of a learning experience rather than just follow my leader. Then we changed horses half-way through the lesson and I really noticed how much my HM seatsaver is worth! I was on this skinny pony with a saddle almost v-shaped front to back, sitting on the line of stitching - it was so hard! But I could still do sitting trot etc so my confidence is back up :)
cvb, i wouldn't want to be in a group of 16, it's bad enough waiting your turn for a canter with 8 in the group, when the instructor forgets who was first and who's still waiting!
bjarmi10, no we don't use spurs, we are encouraged to use short whips, but I don't like using them too much. On the previous lesson on Basil I was getting no response with either my leg aids or with the whip.
Yay, I'm happy again now! Looking forward to next week :-)
28th Oct 2002, 11:40 AM
it was a reasonably experienced group of 16. So we would have two halfs in big circles, and all cantering at once.
It must have looked pretty spectacular when we were doing lateral work.
Imagine a 10m circle in a corner, then leg yield out almost to X, circle the opposite way, leg yield to other corner, circle again, then repeat on next side. With 16 horses it was pretty fun getting the spacing right but looked amazing when we got it going !
Actually 16 was the maximum if everone turned up. So often it was a bit less.
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