Can't hear what the riding instructor says in a group lesson

stigofthedump

Member
Feb 5, 2009
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Hi. I am an older rider trying to improve basic riding skills learnt many years ago. I join a group lesson with 1 or 2 other (much younger) riders every 2 weeks. When I started almost a year ago I told the instructor I couldn't hear perfectly even with hearing aids. On a windy day my hearing is much worse. She often gives instructions when I am at the far end of the school so I don't hear her. I also have trouble hearing when she is speaking away from me e.g when she is explaining a route around jumps or cones. I think it is frustrating for both of us. I often feel embarrassed in front of the other riders when she has to repeat her instructions because it makes me appear stupid. I am beginning to think about not having lessons anymore or maybe have a private lesson which is much more expensive. I am not sure whether the instructor should make more effort to allow for my poor hearing or if I am responsible for dealing with the problem. Do other older members have the same dilemma? Does the training of instructors include "disability" training? Thanks in advance for members' views.
 

Sparky Lily

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Nov 27, 2008
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Firstly, don’t feel embarrassed about the instructor having to repeat instructions. This is something they have to do frequently, and not necessarily because someone has not heard it all. I think many of us struggle to hear something said at the other end of the school. You are not alone in this. Do not worry about asking her to repeat it.
Also, bear in mind that some instructions have to be given at precise moments, when someone is attempting a particular move, for example. These will be specifically for that rider, though others in the group may also benefit. Your instructor needs to make sure you can hear what she is saying specifically to you. You must let her know if you are not picking it up, and then you can work out together how that might be improved. It is a joint responsibility.
Carry on with the group lessons, but you may find it helpful to have a private lesson now and again to work on something you are finding more difficult or problematic.
The instructors at my previous yard were aware of different pupil needs, be they learning style, confidence issues, physical limitations or other disability, and tried to accommodate them as far as possible. A chat with your instructor may be your best way forward.
Hope it all goes well.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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I found it annoying at dog training as sometimes I couldn't hear particularly when we moved venue to a very large echoey hall that had terrible acoustics. Have a word with her and see if she can suggest anything to help
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I cant hear either. I have lately got high tech NHS hearing aids but was advised not to wear them when riding because of shaking them up too much. They were fitted by a woman whose family bred horses!

In a one to one lesson my long term RI solved it. I ride up to wherever she is standing. She tells me what to do next or answers my question and then I set off again. In a group lesson you cant take the initiative but the teacher could change her position to make sure you can hear.
I think it was on another forum H&H that people asked a similar question and it was suggested that these days one could use mobile phones for relaying and amplifying instructions (rather than a loud speaker system)

I have now found the thread and posted the link in another post below. Hope it is useful.

However, I suggest too that you discuss solutions with the teacher.
 
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Toz

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Jul 14, 2019
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Someone my daughter used to have lessons with had a little ear piece and the instructor had tiny unobtrusive microphone. I have no idea where you’d purchase or how expensive they’d be but it worked really well.
 

Skib

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
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I have found the link to the H&H thread. It gives several suggestions for purchase.
It also explains as an alternative how to use the RI's phone and set the students phone to Mute

 

stigofthedump

Member
Feb 5, 2009
98
34
18
Firstly, don’t feel embarrassed about the instructor having to repeat instructions. This is something they have to do frequently, and not necessarily because someone has not heard it all. I think many of us struggle to hear something said at the other end of the school. You are not alone in this. Do not worry about asking her to repeat it.
Also, bear in mind that some instructions have to be given at precise moments, when someone is attempting a particular move, for example. These will be specifically for that rider, though others in the group may also benefit. Your instructor needs to make sure you can hear what she is saying specifically to you. You must let her know if you are not picking it up, and then you can work out together how that might be improved. It is a joint responsibility.
Carry on with the group lessons, but you may find it helpful to have a private lesson now and again to work on something you are finding more difficult or problematic.
The instructors at my previous yard were aware of different pupil needs, be they learning style, confidence issues, physical limitations or other disability, and tried to accommodate them as far as possible. A chat with your instructor may be your best way forward.
Hope it all goes well.
Thanks for your reply. I had begun to think that having a private lesson might help so your advice has helped me decide to do that. I can ask her to teach me on one half of the school (20m area) so that we are nearer each other when she is speaking. Although my RI is very professional & knowledgeable I don't find her approachable. My pathetic efforts at "small talk" are always met with a brief "yes" or "no" or "fine" depending on the question. I really can't imagine having a "chat" with her LOL. I have never been any good at social intercourse so my best course of action might be to keep to riding/horsey topics. My most urgent question is "when I can't wake up the horse I am riding then what am i doing wrong or what am I not doing to wake him up" Worth a try.
 
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stigofthedump

Member
Feb 5, 2009
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I found it annoying at dog training as sometimes I couldn't hear particularly when we moved venue to a very large echoey hall that had terrible acoustics. Have a word with her and see if she can suggest anything to help
I'll try but I don't think she knows how to handle a learner rider who is hard of hearing.
 

OwnedbyChanter

With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
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Don’t feel bad about it. I often can’t hear my RI when away from him or outdoors in the wind and sometimes when I can hear him I am not actually listening lol.

I have used the ear piece before it’s excellent and really does make a difference
 

stigofthedump

Member
Feb 5, 2009
98
34
18
I cant hear either. I have lately got high tech NHS hearing aids but was advised not to wear them when riding because of shaking them up too much. They were fitted by a woman whose family bred horses!

In a one to one lesson my long term RI solved it. I ride up to wherever she is standing. She tells me what to do next or answers my question and then I set off again. In a group lesson you cant take the initiative but the teacher could change her position to make sure you can hear.
I think it was on another forum H&H that people asked a similar question and it was suggested that these days one could use mobile phones for relaying and amplifying instructions (rather than a loud speaker system)

I have now found the thread and posted the link in another post below. Hope it is useful.

However, I suggest too that you discuss solutions with the teacher.
Will give it a try next time I join a group lesson & see if it works.
 

Skib

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
7,539
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London
My most urgent question is "when I can't wake up the horse I am riding then what am i doing wrong or what am I not doing to wake him up" Worth a try.
I dont know you or the horse. I am an elderly RS rider and returning to ride last year (after an accident) meant I had to take 2 proficiency tests. Some years ago I even went to a RS for 6 lessons to teach me to tackle these tests, or to try out a horse for sale or to share.

Because I am old and vague I am always given the slowest RS horse for these tests.

My tactic is to ask how the RS horse is used to warming up. This is like the question you have in mind. Yes do ask. And ask again. Some of the best lessons I had were when instead of struggling, i would ask the teacher how she would ride each thing she asked me to do. She was an eventer. I asked what she did and then did the same myself.

But dont think of it as you doing something wrong. Dont blame yourself. Every horse is different. Some need to warm up with a long brisk trot going large. Others need to walk and do some turns and then try a genlte trot. But the information is important.

After the inital warm up, I gee the horse up by riding transitions going large : walk 5 then halt. Walk 5 then halt. Then 5 trot 5 walk. If one is at halt and asks the hose to move and it doesnt give you the quality of step you want, Rashid's advice is to reject that step. Come back to halt at once, and ask again. Dont try to speed up the walk. Reject it. And ask again.

However - there is another hint for you there. If the horse doesnt listen to my leg, I use my whip on my boot - sharply if needed.

For me, rding these transitions gets the horse listening and quick off the leg.
Later in the test (or lesson) one is asked for canter. My approach is to trot the horse and ask any RS horse to canter as one gets to the corner. But if I feel that there is no canter available in the trot, I dont even try to ask for it. I stop the horse and tell the teacher there is no hope of canter and ask the teacher how she would prepare the horse to canter.

By doing this and seeking advice, I am told that I have had horses canter for me that most people cant canter at all.

My problem is different from you. My most recent test, the RI had to see me canter and did not imagine that I could ask for it myself so she waved the schooling whip and shouted canter. Now, like eml, a riding teacher previously on this forum, I cant bear not being in control of my own horse. I dont mind being lunged, but when riding, I need to be the decision maker and in control.

My current share is bliss to hack but reluctant in the school. I used another Rashid exercisee to speed her up. Assuming the school is empty apart from you. Ride towards any letter on the school. Halt at the letter, turn the horse and head off in trot towards another letter chosen at random. halt, turn and repeat. This trotting across the school with a definite target escapes the treadmill of just going round and round riding large.

I have thrown ideas at you and hope it helps a bit. I agree it is hard to discuss with an RI - Like you I am better with horses than I am with people and that goes for most RIs too. None the less it is important to talk to the RI to ask for suggestions. And also to feel free to repeat things that havent actually worked, without feeling that it makes you a bad rider. Nor to blame.
 

Toz

Active Member
Jul 14, 2019
250
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I’m reading through the replies, particularly yours op and I have to say the thing that’s jumping out (in my opinion!) is that I don’t think this is the instructor for you. There are a few lines and comments which I just think are wrong. I think you could be far happier finding someone you like (hearing problems aside)
 
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stigofthedump

Member
Feb 5, 2009
98
34
18
I cant hear either. I have lately got high tech NHS hearing aids but was advised not to wear them when riding because of shaking them up too much. They were fitted by a woman whose family bred horses!

In a one to one lesson my long term RI solved it. I ride up to wherever she is standing. She tells me what to do next or answers my question and then I set off again. In a group lesson you cant take the initiative but the teacher could change her position to make sure you can hear.
I think it was on another forum H&H that people asked a similar question and it was suggested that these days one could use mobile phones for relaying and amplifying instructions (rather than a loud speaker system)

I have now found the thread and posted the link in another post below. Hope it is useful.

However, I suggest too that you discuss solutions with the teacher.
Thanks for your helpful reply. After considering all the helpful replies to my post I decided to cancel my next group lesson & book a private lesson. Today I had the private lesson. I suggested to the RI (not my usual RI) that I mainly work in one half of the school e.g. A or C end. If she wants me to Go Large then I advised her to only give me instructions when we are near each other. She then offered to follow me round so of course i said that would be great. She asked if there was anything i wanted to practise so I asked her to go over what I should be doing to start riding at the beginning of the lesson e.g how should I "wake up" a lazy horse. So we spent 20/30 mins just on that. I could hear every word she said. Of course I realised it wouldn't be practical for a RI to walk round near me in a group lesson so I asked her to book a further 3 weekly private lessons (early Xmas pressie to myself!) but emphasised that as a private lesson costs more than a group lesson then I wouldn't be able to have private lesson each week for more than a few weeks. We agreed that the best arrangement would be to have a private lesson & a group lesson on alternate weeks. I left the lesson feeling much more confident & smug!
 

stigofthedump

Member
Feb 5, 2009
98
34
18
I’m reading through the replies, particularly yours op and I have to say the thing that’s jumping out (in my opinion!) is that I don’t think this is the instructor for you. There are a few lines and comments which I just think are wrong. I think you could be far happier finding someone you like (hearing problems aside)
Hi. Thanks for your advice. The same thought had occurred to me. I decided to book a private lesson so that it would be easier to talk with the RI. Today i had a private lesson & by chance it was a different RI. Here's what happened: I suggested to the RI that I mainly work in one half of the school e.g. A or C end. If she wants me to Go Large then I advised her to only give me instructions when we are near each other. She then offered to follow me round so of course i said that would be great. She asked if there was anything i wanted to practise so I asked her to go over what I should be doing to start riding at the beginning of the lesson e.g how should I "wake up" a lazy horse. So we spent 20/30 mins just on that. I could hear every word she said. Of course I realised it wouldn't be practical for a RI to walk round near me in a group lesson so I asked her to book a further 3 weekly private lessons (early Xmas pressie to myself!) but emphasised that as a private lesson costs more than a group lesson then I wouldn't be able to have private lesson each week for more than a few weeks. We agreed the best solution might be to have a private lesson & a group lesson on alternate weeks. i left the lesson feeling more confident & less demoralised.
 

stigofthedump

Member
Feb 5, 2009
98
34
18
I dont know you or the horse. I am an elderly RS rider and returning to ride last year (after an accident) meant I had to take 2 proficiency tests. Some years ago I even went to a RS for 6 lessons to teach me to tackle these tests, or to try out a horse for sale or to share.

Because I am old and vague I am always given the slowest RS horse for these tests.

My tactic is to ask how the RS horse is used to warming up. This is like the question you have in mind. Yes do ask. And ask again. Some of the best lessons I had were when instead of struggling, i would ask the teacher how she would ride each thing she asked me to do. She was an eventer. I asked what she did and then did the same myself.

But dont think of it as you doing something wrong. Dont blame yourself. Every horse is different. Some need to warm up with a long brisk trot going large. Others need to walk and do some turns and then try a genlte trot. But the information is important.

After the inital warm up, I gee the horse up by riding transitions going large : walk 5 then halt. Walk 5 then halt. Then 5 trot 5 walk. If one is at halt and asks the hose to move and it doesnt give you the quality of step you want, Rashid's advice is to reject that step. Come back to halt at once, and ask again. Dont try to speed up the walk. Reject it. And ask again.

However - there is another hint for you there. If the horse doesnt listen to my leg, I use my whip on my boot - sharply if needed.

For me, rding these transitions gets the horse listening and quick off the leg.
Later in the test (or lesson) one is asked for canter. My approach is to trot the horse and ask any RS horse to canter as one gets to the corner. But if I feel that there is no canter available in the trot, I dont even try to ask for it. I stop the horse and tell the teacher there is no hope of canter and ask the teacher how she would prepare the horse to canter.

By doing this and seeking advice, I am told that I have had horses canter for me that most people cant canter at all.

My problem is different from you. My most recent test, the RI had to see me canter and did not imagine that I could ask for it myself so she waved the schooling whip and shouted canter. Now, like eml, a riding teacher previously on this forum, I cant bear not being in control of my own horse. I dont mind being lunged, but when riding, I need to be the decision maker and in control.

My current share is bliss to hack but reluctant in the school. I used another Rashid exercisee to speed her up. Assuming the school is empty apart from you. Ride towards any letter on the school. Halt at the letter, turn the horse and head off in trot towards another letter chosen at random. halt, turn and repeat. This trotting across the school with a definite target escapes the treadmill of just going round and round riding large.

I have thrown ideas at you and hope it helps a bit. I agree it is hard to discuss with an RI - Like you I am better with horses than I am with people and that goes for most RIs too. None the less it is important to talk to the RI to ask for suggestions. And also to feel free to repeat things that havent actually worked, without feeling that it makes you a bad rider. Nor to blame.
Hi. Thanks for your advice. I had a great private lesson today. Felt less frustrated & think I made some progress. See my posts #14 & 15
 

Huggy

Well-Known Member
Nov 11, 2018
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Thanks for your helpful reply. After considering all the helpful replies to my post I decided to cancel my next group lesson & book a private lesson. Today I had the private lesson. I suggested to the RI (not my usual RI) that I mainly work in one half of the school e.g. A or C end. If she wants me to Go Large then I advised her to only give me instructions when we are near each other. She then offered to follow me round so of course i said that would be great. She asked if there was anything i wanted to practise so I asked her to go over what I should be doing to start riding at the beginning of the lesson e.g how should I "wake up" a lazy horse. So we spent 20/30 mins just on that. I could hear every word she said. Of course I realised it wouldn't be practical for a RI to walk round near me in a group lesson so I asked her to book a further 3 weekly private lessons (early Xmas pressie to myself!) but emphasised that as a private lesson costs more than a group lesson then I wouldn't be able to have private lesson each week for more than a few weeks. We agreed that the best arrangement would be to have a private lesson & a group lesson on alternate weeks. I left the lesson feeling much more confident & smug!
Good for you, taking the pro active approach. Sounds like a good plan. Let us know how it all progresses.
 
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