Horseback Riding Lessons: What Should You Expect?

Your horseback riding lessons should be well structured. You should not experience chaos during your lesson. I have some criteria that defines a proper riding lesson.

Your first riding lesson with a new instructor is always going to be a little chaotic. The instructor does not know who you are, or how you ride. So she is feeling her way into instructing you as well as learning about your riding style. After this lesson, she should have a very good idea about what you need to work on. She should have a systematic schedule for teaching you. If you have been jumping, but are not very experienced, she should be working with your position, step by step. For instance, she should instruct you to use your hands as a release. Once you have mastered that, you will next work on folding your body at your hip. Once you have mastered that, you will move to stabilizing your leg completely.

Your lessons should always have a structure to them. Warming your horse up is crucial, and if you are not able to do that, you should approach the instructor about it. Not warming a horse up could cause injuries, muscle problems, and back problems. Notice if you get an introduction and review from your instructor. Your review period should allow you to practice what you learned in the last lesson, and, more so, in the past few lessons. Once you feel and look like you should move on to a different exercise, your instructor should discuss to you what you should do next. She should have you come into the center of the ring, talk with you about what you will be doing, and how it affects your riding. This should be one on one, and questions should be asked! Remember that you are learning something new, and it will feel awkward. So, if your instructor can demonstrate what you should do, and spend the time analyzing it with you. You should feel more comfortable trying the new exercise out.

If you are not ready to go on to another exercise, your instructor should still have you come into the center for a one on one discussion. She should become creative in these moments! You are challenging her teaching to a deeper level now. She needs to effectively communicate a way that you can understand how to do the exercise. For instance, Lana would not move her hands up her horse's neck when he jumped. So, she hit his mouth every time he stretched over a fence. The instructor kept saying, "move your hands!" Well, this never worked. So the instructor asked Lana to come into the center; she explained one on one what Lana needed to do. She asked Lana to try and touch her horse's ears. The next time Lana jumped her hands moved up her horses neck. Success! Your instructor should not be moving you quickly through things. You need time to absorb and learn correctly. Having you not move on if you are not ready is safe.

When you have practiced your new exercise, your instructor should speak with you again about your lesson. You should be able to answer several questions:

What did I learn?

How did I accomplish what I learned?

What should I work on next time?

At this time, questions should be asked to your instructor about what you learned. You should spend the time creating a program for you for the next lesson. Your instructor ultimately designs the lesson plan, but it is very important to have your suggestions.

If you feel that you are not receiving this type of quality lesson, you should approach your instructor. If she is ultimately concerned and wants to work with you, you should be noticing a change in your next lesson. If she is unwilling, perhaps it is best if you start looking for a new instructor. Your safety might be at risk. If you feel that you are being pushed and feel unsafe, you need to discuss this with your instructor. This could be merely a problem in your position that needs adjustment. If your instructor thinks you are capable of what she wants you to do, and she will not change to meet your needs, consider moving on from her.

There are a handful of instructors that are unsafe, and many that can not communicate effectively. I ask that you watch your instructor closely; do not simply do everything she says, because she is the instructor and knows best. This can get you hurt! Keep your eyes open; make sure you have a structured lesson with one goal. Good Luck!

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