View Full Version : Lesson Ideas / Books?
15th Mar 2001, 11:08 PM
I'm a riding instructor in Ontario, Canada looking for some inspiration for my lessons.
I'm wondering if anyone is aware of a book or books that aren't simply about riding methods... but which give actual suggestions for making lessons more interesting. It would be great to read up on (and modify to suit) other people's lesson ideas. I have just under 70 students rangind in age from 5 to 47. Most are in the beginner/intermediate range... but I'd be willing to accept ideas at any level.
Perhaps a "page" on this board could be set-up in order to share lesson ideas, if no such books exist?!?! Just a thought.
Thanks in advance for your responces.
15th Mar 2001, 11:39 PM
Here are a couple books I found at State Line and country Supply.
i tried typing the urls for countrysupply.com , but they didn't work for some reason- they never will with that website! So go there and search for books- they have quite a few. Cherry Hill has 3 books on english exercises- one for beginners, intermediate and advanced, and she is an excellent author.
Also, just use your imagination. For istance, beginners get sick of simply walking around- use cavalettie, sak them to do serpentines and figre 8s. Have more advanced students work on basic dressage exercises, or go back to the basics with them and work on improving in the small areas, like halting a horse without moving the reins. games on horseback are great for young riders- "shadow tag", "red light green light", and "follow the leader" are my favorites to do with young riders- oh, and "mother may I?" have students try new things they might otherwise not- jumping, dressage, barrel racing, and other differnt types of riding.
Hope the suggestions help!
[Edited by horselover on 15th Mar 2001 at 11:42 PM]
16th Mar 2001, 12:15 AM
Thank you for the book references... I really appreciate them! As for the other information - it is also appreciated, however I have been teaching now for about eight years... it's not so much my students that are bored with the lesson (serpentines, cavaletti, jumps, games etc.) ...it's me!!! Yikes (should I even admit that?)
I'll take a look for those books.... thanks again!
16th Mar 2001, 08:06 PM
HI folk, I haven't heard of those boks but they sound very useful. Thanks, Horselover for letting Canter have the names. I am lucky that I take only private or semi private lessons, and my horses are all capable of lateral work etc, but even then, I like to think up lots of different exercises, especially for my regular or working students. It is all too easy to get into a rut especially within the context of normal riding school lessons. Great to hear that you are an instructor with a true desire to impart knowledge, Canter- there are too few of you about!
17th Mar 2001, 02:46 PM
I agree - I've seen far too many riding instructors become so ingrained in thier 'usual' style of lessons, that the students aren't smiling any more when they are grooming or chatting afterwards. I believe that even if you have a lesson that focusses on something a little less exciting, like straight lines or transition work (which can become a little monotonous), sudents of any age should gleen some aspect of enjoyment out of the whole thing.
...sometimes it's all too easy to start thinking "only one more lesson and I can go and have some dinner"...rather than "what do these students need to learn in order to further their skills one more step today".
---thanks again for your reply!
17th Mar 2001, 10:39 PM
There's a coach around where i live who loves to use games as a method of teaching... Follow the leader, Musical stalls (Where you set up jump standards as stalls),What time is it mr.Wolf. Or you could simply make up your own games!!! I find that most students enjoy to learn but have fun at the same time!! You could also quiz your students while riding which is cool too, I had a coach who would ask us what are the parts of the saddle, bridle, what colour is your horse! I believe that horses are more than just riding and you can do this while riding!!! I wish i had a coach as interested as you!! Good luck!!
From my horse to yours!!
17th Mar 2001, 11:47 PM
I think that everyone has career slumps no matter what they do for a living... even students do- right now, i don't feel like doing my schoolwork i should be doing. Then again, I never do, so I guess that's not a very good example. lol
It seems like the time of year that you would feel this way anyway- it's so dreary right now...maybe when nice weather comes you will feel differently.
Try thinking about what you do like about your job. Focus in on those aspects and concentrate on them. Take time for yourself to do things you enjoy- horsey or non-horsey (I have heard rumors that there is a life outside of horses- find out and report back to us :) ).
Even though the suggestions everyone has given about games and stuff would make lessons more interesting for students, they also might make them more interesting for you. Can you ride for your lessons? If so, play the games with them!
18th Mar 2001, 03:17 PM
Great suggestion horselover to get the instructor involved in the games as well. How about a gymkhana for each class or surprise them with one. Doesn't have to be a great highly organised competition but something to stretch their imagination. What about a hack? Or an Easter treasure hunt on horse back - to practice mounting and dismounting? (What about doing it without stirrups!) Or surprise the more experienced pupils with a lunge lesson to check their seat - do work without stirrups and reins or even with their eyes closed. Or is riding bare back an idea?
Ask if any pupils wish to work towards an award?
Hope this helps as I'm becoming really bored with my lessons and it is no fun especially as I can't do my regular hacking lessons because the parks are closed due to the foot and mouth.
18th Mar 2001, 04:55 PM
You guys are great.... I so appreciate the communication that this board offers!!! It's nice to hear such great suggestions.
I think that our stables biggest problem (lesson wise) is the fact that we are neither big nor small. Right in the middle... We have about 25 lesson horses and about 60-70 students. We just put up our indoor arena about three years ago and are still paying for it!! Can't afford to turn away too many - so in order to accomodate the availability of the students... many lessons are a little too mixed. That is to say if we have five people in a particular lesson, I may have three who are wanting to work on a canter, and another who breaks into tears at the mention of the word! I know this stems down to a lack of organization on our part (thank goodness that isn't my job!!) but it sure makes for some difficult lessons. So... I plug along with the obvious... working different students at different levels... a little extra with the more advanced students when the less advanced are done for the night etc.
I look forward to a time when I've got all of my beginers, intermediate and advanced students seperate again! It's not fair to them either!!! The summer time (when school is out) is usually when this comes together... so I look forward to using your suggestions in the months to come!
18th Mar 2001, 05:04 PM
Speaking from a student's perspective, Canter, you sound like a great instructor if you continue to try to find new ways to make things interesting. In my experience, it's that desire to keep improving that makes people great in anything they do. My instructor mentioned a book, I think it was called "games you can play with your instructor" or something similar. She hadn't bought it yet, because the store had run out. I'll ask her when I see her today, if your interested in information on it.
18th Mar 2001, 05:18 PM
Thank you "kedwards" for your reply... I would definitely be interested if you wouldn't mind asking your instructor about that book! Thanks!
Just in case anyone else is interested... I found two books:
"Games on Horseback" - ISBN# 1580171346 (recomended by "Horselover") and another called
"101 Arena Exercises" - ISBN# 088266316X
I have ordered them... and I'll let you know once I get them whether they were worth it or not!?! I read reviews on them at Amazon.com and the general feed-back was great.
18th Mar 2001, 06:25 PM
I bought my riding coach the book 101 arena exercises to try to help spice up our flat.. I think she took it as an insult and didn't use it once!! Where are you excally from Shelly?? I live in the ontario area, and was just curious!! Anyhow.. I think it's soo great what you are doing for your students!! Way to go!!
18th Mar 2001, 08:27 PM
Thanks for your reply. I live in the Sudbury area... where abouts are you in Ontario? I'm thrilled to see a fellow Canadian enjoying this board! I've been so glad I came across it - I wish I took the time to sit down and add my questions and comments more often!
Hope to talk to you again some time!
22nd Mar 2001, 05:58 PM
Hey Canter and Gracie - I am in Ontario too! Its a small world. I really like this board as I am intimidated by some of the other ones where everybody seems to be a Grand Prix dressage rider!
Canter, you sound like my niece's coach! I bet your students really appreciate your interest in keeping things fun, I think part of the reason that I stopped riding as a teenager was the cranky instructor I had, I think he enjoyed reducing people to tears.
22nd Mar 2001, 08:46 PM
I live in Brampton!!
I know it is great to meet new people who live around here!! I was hoping to go get my coaching! The only problem is I bought a young horse and if i go get my coaching i can no longer show in the lower levels! Which is the sad thing about it... I may have to wait to get my coaching till my horse is a little bit older!!
For your lesson planning i was thinking maybe you could do the opening lesson (like 10-15 minutes) on something practical... Like polo wrapping,lunging, Braiding etc! I honestly would have loved to learn something like that and still do!! I was thinking since it is a "Riding" lesson you may not want to spend the whole lesson doing something like that... but all those things are things that need to be learned inorder to ride/show!
22nd Mar 2001, 08:56 PM
YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS BUT, I'M FROM ONTARIO TOO!! Southwestern Ontario, by the border to Michigan, about 3 hours away from Toronto! That is soo cool to find fellow Canadians, no less Ontarioans!
PS- Canter, since you're from Canada, have you tried http://www.chapters.ca or http://www.indigo.ca ? They're both book stores.
[Edited by Maci on 23rd Mar 2001 at 12:46 AM]
22nd Mar 2001, 10:45 PM
Hello Maci and Gracie!!!
I'm glad to meet some fellow Canadians! I'm up in Sudbury... a little further north than the two of you!!!
Thank you for the website suggetions... I have used the Chapters one before... but not the "indigo" one... I'll check that one out as soon as I'm done saying thanks!
Hope to see you both around here!
23rd Mar 2001, 12:47 AM
Sudbury's A LOT further north than where I live! To get there, it would probably take 7 hours or so! Crazy! I hate long car trips!
PS- Good luck with your lessons!
1st Apr 2001, 07:37 PM
Here's another twist on lessons, particularly for the advanced students...let them plan the lessons; or at least the routine - as a figure skater would. Tell them the compulsory moves and let them determine the sequence...maybe even set it to music?
Alternately, ask the students what they feel are their weakest areas and for next 5 lessons (assuming 5 students w/5 different requests) you can work on each thing. More adept students can help less adept too - build teamwork and comraderie.
Just a suggestion! :D
2nd Apr 2001, 02:39 AM
Thank you for the suggestion!!! I really like your idea of letting the students do some planning!! It would be interesting to see how my more advanced students would design a course if I gave them certain 'requirements'!
I'll have to try that idea as soon as I get back teaching again (I have recently broken my leg - so I'll be out of the saddle for a while).
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