Any recs for a very patient instructor in SoCal? Prefer Riverside county, but will drive if needed.
I'm trying to find a good lesson program for my mom. She's older, has some physical limitations and is TERRIFIED of riding. But she says she wants to do it, and trying to teach her myself is not doing our relationship any good at all. I am a terrible instructor and freely admit it.
She strongly prefers western (aka, there isn't enough xanax and alcohol on this planet to get her in a sadde without a horn she can hold) and she wants to eventually be able to go on short trail rides.
I don't want to be a doomsayer, but why on earth is your mother trying to ride is she is terrified of it? I think this is a really bad idea. The fastest way to get hurt on a horse is to be frightened of riding. I would try to redirect her efforts toward something she would enjoy more.
I don't want to be a doomsayer, but why on earth is your mother trying to ride is she is terrified of it?
I don't get it either. If it was possible for me to talk her out of it I would, but y'know, crazy adults doing what they want and all. I've even gone so far as offer to buy her one of the parelli kits, so that she could stick with endless grondwork and still feel she was doing something (didn't phrase it quite that way to her!).
Since she wants to ride, finding her a qualified instructor with a safe , steady school horse is the best option as far as I can see.
This may be too much of a drive, but I love Kathy McNeill at San Dimas Equestrian Center. I think she is gloriously underrated. Heh...a gift certificate for a month's worth of riding lessons with her 9 years ago is what started it all for me--6mos later we bought Ana. Now, I wasn't a fearful rider; I rode for years as a youth. However, I was an adult rerider who thought knew what I was doing only to realize in her first lesson with Kathy that I didn't know nuthin'.
I'm a teacher by profession--but academics, not equestrian, heh--and I was profusely appreciative of her approach, patience, and thoroughness. The first lesson, regardless of my rusty years of horsey experience (I even was a stable girl), she worked entirely on the ground with me going over tack, grooming, and the like. That might help your mother's concerns. Then, we did several lessons on a lungeline--again, despite years of riding experience--but she completely reworked my foundation so that I had more of a whole-body dressage technique. I was amazed at how sensitive she helped make me as a rider, and I still hear her voice in my head when I ride, and it's been 7 years since I took a lesson from her, heh.
ALL of her beginners start in a Western saddle, but she herself rides dressage.