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  1. #1

    Default too conservative a trainer??

    I am watching this phenomenon unfold where kids learning to ride are not being let off lead lines. I started riding at the age of 8 and was NEVER on a lead line. I now see soooo many lessons at our barn where all these kids and I should mention adults too are on lead lines. Why is this? These kids look bored tearless!! Can anyone comment on this and perhaps give their thoughts?



  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpergirlWI View Post
    I am watching this phenomenon unfold where kids learning to ride are not being let off lead lines. I started riding at the age of 8 and was NEVER on a lead line. I now see soooo many lessons at our barn where all these kids and I should mention adults too are on lead lines. Why is this? These kids look bored tearless!! Can anyone comment on this and perhaps give their thoughts?
    I START all of my students on a lead line, adult or child, until they are able to post and hold a two point with no reins. It takes maybe two or three half hour sessions for the average student to get the coordination down.

    Then they go on a longe line until they can "steer" the horse and keep him on the outside of the longe circle without much help.

    Then they "go large" still on the longe with me sticking close by, steering circles around me, halting and starting again, doing some short trots down the long side.

    Then they "go large" with me sticking close by but no longe line.

    Then they "go large" with me standing in the middle.


    While this requires very focused and individual attention and quite some fitness on the part of the instructor who is running along side, I find that ultimately the "slow," "dot the i's and cross the t's first" approach gives students a much better foundation and base of security much quicker than the "end of the snake with 10 other horses" approach.



  3. #3
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    My youngest sister just started taking lessons. She's only had 6 so far, but the trainer starts her on the lunge line each lesson to make sure her position is correct. I didn't learn to ride on a lunge line, but frankly, I wish I had! Because the trainer started her on the lunge line, my sister could focus on proper position and balance, rather than focusing on steering the horse right off the bat. The first time my sister trotted off the lunge, the instructor ran beside her. She's slowly learning how to steer better while trotting/in two point without the trainer next to her. I see absolutely no problem with starting beginner riders on the lunge line.



  4. #4
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    Oct. 25, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    I START all of my students on a lead line, adult or child, until they are able to post and hold a two point with no reins. It takes maybe two or three half hour sessions for the average student to get the coordination down.

    Then they go on a longe line until they can "steer" the horse and keep him on the outside of the longe circle without much help.

    Then they "go large" still on the longe with me sticking close by, steering circles around me, halting and starting again, doing some short trots down the long side.

    Then they "go large" with me sticking close by but no longe line.

    Then they "go large" with me standing in the middle.


    While this requires very focused and individual attention and quite some fitness on the part of the instructor who is running along side, I find that ultimately the "slow," "dot the i's and cross the t's first" approach gives students a much better foundation and base of security much quicker than the "end of the snake with 10 other horses" approach.
    THIS!!! "like" button



  5. #5
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    Apr. 22, 2011
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    start on leadline. I started riding at 3 and was of course on a leadline. once the person is able to control the horse they are on, they should be let off the leadline.



  6. #6
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    May. 23, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    I START all of my students on a lead line, adult or child, until they are able to post and hold a two point with no reins. It takes maybe two or three half hour sessions for the average student to get the coordination down.

    Then they go on a longe line until they can "steer" the horse and keep him on the outside of the longe circle without much help.

    Then they "go large" still on the longe with me sticking close by, steering circles around me, halting and starting again, doing some short trots down the long side.

    Then they "go large" with me sticking close by but no longe line.

    Then they "go large" with me standing in the middle.


    While this requires very focused and individual attention and quite some fitness on the part of the instructor who is running along side, I find that ultimately the "slow," "dot the i's and cross the t's first" approach gives students a much better foundation and base of security much quicker than the "end of the snake with 10 other horses" approach.
    This is exactly how I want to be started back on horses.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by my_doran View Post
    THIS!!! "like" button
    Agree 100%!



  8. #8
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    Sep. 14, 2007
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    I started taking lessons at age 6 and the trainer just sent everyone out to the rail from day one. So I can tell you that that's probably not the best way to go! There were many, many, many falls. Little kids bouncing left and right, school horses glancing over at them with disinterest before sighing with boredom and sauntering over to the gate. That barn did not last long, if I remember correctly.

    A few initial leadline lessons followed by longeing is a great middle ground IMO. Not to mention, there aren't many of us who wouldn't probably benefit from the occasional no-stirrups longe line lesson.



  9. #9
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    Start on the lunge, and then once steering/posting and control/balance etc is established ride on a circle, eventually half arena and then large. This over 4/5/6 lessons depending on the rider. I don't really believe in walking alongside a rider for an entire lesson.. if the horse is sane, the person should be independent enough by the end of lesson 1 to walk around on a lunge line and steer themselves.

    Only time I was ever on a lunge line learning as a kid was learning to canter, because I would laugh uncontrollably (took 3 weeks to get over!!)



  10. #10
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    My trainer does essentially what meupatdoes described.

    But when I learned years ago? No lead line. No lunge line. I think the guy made sure we could kind-of steer and took us on a trail ride since he didn't have a ring, or much of one. No helmets either. And I was holding x-ray plates for the vet when I was about 10. Different world!
    The Evil Chem Prof



  11. #11
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    Might not be the case for this particular situation, but IME there are a TON more really terrified/"delicate" kids riding horses these days. For example, I was at the barn when one of my trainer's new lesson kids came for her third lesson...apparently the kid was "tired from dance camp," and the trainer was barely able to get her to help groom/tack up the horse before they called it quits for the day. I asked my trainer about it later, and she said that the entire first lesson for the kid was just TALKING and not even going near a horse.
    Why do parents even bother with these kids? I started riding at roughly the same age as this kid and was raring to go no matter how tired I was. Falling off didn't make me scared to get back on and walk around on the horse, either, and I am NOT a brave rider.
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Former owner of the best Amish-carthorse-turned-eventer ever



  12. #12
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    I like people on the line until they can steer and stop to my satisfaction. Then they work a third or half ring until I feel they are ready to roam further away safely. I am lucky,in that most of my horses whoa when I say it (even if I am outside the ring) and even move forward with a "cluck" from me. On the down side the horse do tend to drift toward where I am, if the rider does not steer.

    when I was learning, school horses worked in a pack on the rail and you had to get enough determination yourself to move away from the herd and ride seperate. People who did itm got better faster. People who didn't were there for entertainment. Of course, I was the kid who would go to the pasture and hop on any loose horse standing by the fence... who needs tack just ride.
    "The Desire to Win is worthless without the Desire to Prepare"

    It's a "KILT". If I wore something underneath, it would be a "SKIRT".



  13. #13
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    Apr. 22, 2008
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    When I started riding 20ish years ago, I was on a longe line until I could stop and steer by myself. Then I was allowed to walk around the (small) arena by myself. Then, when it was time to learn trotting, back to the longe line until I got the hang of posting (without reins). When I was decent enough at that, I got to go around by myself again. When it was time to learn cantering, back to the longe line.

    Personally, I think if more new riders spent more time on a longe and less time balancing on the reins while they learn what to do with their bodies it would make for happier horses and better riders all around!



  14. #14
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    I think it's important to maintain control for new riders and one of the best ways to do that is by having them work on the lunge line. First the trainer has control of the horse/pony, that way the trainer can focus on the rider and teach the rider basic skills. I would think that this also allows for the lesson to be less discouraging for the rider. I can remember many lessons of getting that one school pony/horse that was either so stubborn it wouldn't budge or the one that would runaway.



  15. #15
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    Not everybody is a rough and ready type that wants to just hop on and go. Most riders today do not own farms and keep their horse/Pony at home, they ride 1 to 3 times a week. It's slow progress.

    I fault trainers for many things but being conservative with beginners on schoolies would not be one of them. For that matter, there are a boatload of riders out there jumping around that would benefit from more time on a lunge on horses that would thank them for it.

    For those that don't want to learn slowly and correctly with minimal risk of injury? There are plenty of trainers out there and it is pretty easy to switch.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  16. #16
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    My introduction to horses was a week (I think) of horse camp when I was about 8. During that week we were kept on the leadline, which I found kind of boring. The next school year I started taking riding lessons at the same place I went to camp. If I remember correctly, most of us (there were about 8 in a group sometimes ) started out without helpers leading them and then those who needed help had helpers come walk with them. I never needed a helper . We may have had someone lead us for our first time (or a few) trotting down the long side.

    Now this lesson program left a lot to be desired. I don't remember ever being told the aids for anything (except kissing to the canter). I was frustrated because there was a lot that was left for us to figure out for ourselves. However, I will say that there is something to be said for learning how to be independent on horseback and think creatively to solve problems. For example, I vividly remember the moment that I couldn't get good old schoolie to move forward until I realized that if I turned her a little, she would move her feet and disengage herself from that stuck place. That knowledge probably stuck with me better than if someone had just told me what to do.

    That said, keeping students on the leadline/lunge until they can steer and control the speed of their horses probably develops less frustrated and better equipped riders in the long run.



  17. #17
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    When I first started riding when I was 5-6 years old I was never on a lead line.

    The first few times I did trot there was someone jogging along side next to the pony's head. Other than that the instructor stayed within close proximity and the ponies were saints.




    Now I am 22 years old and haven't ridden in a little over a year since I sold my last horse. I started riding again and the instructor did use a longe line. I didn't mind because I could work on regaining my balance and strength without have to do much with the horse. Boring as heck for the horse I'm sure but I thought it was a decent exercise.

    I did have one instructor give me a longe lesson on one of her horses a few years ago. Just so we could ride without stirrups and reins to do some balance exercises. I was nervous at first but ended up really enjoying it and did really well.

    Sometimes it is nice for the beginner or experienced rider to just focus on themselves.



  18. #18
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    Back in the day, we didn't start on a leadline or longe. I sure wish I had! I was never taught to ride without stirrups and as a result, have a serious fear of doing so above a trot/on horses I don't know.

    A few years ago, I did an entire winter of longe lessons with my trainer on her schoolmaster at my request. I was terrified at first, but it got better. I can tell you it made me a much, MUCH better rider, even with years of experience up to that point! I went from low ribbons the previous show season to a lot of primary colors the next one. After having done that, I can honestly say I believe ALL riders should start on the longe to help them gain a strong position and independent seat before they have to worry about anything else. It makes you a better rider.



  19. #19
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    The way I learned (and the way my current trainer teaches all beginners) doesn't ever have a student on a lead line, but the lessons are usually no more than 2 riders at a time (never more than 3), and students walk only (usually 2-3 lessons minimum) until they can learn to balance in their stirrups and do basic steering. They are brought along slowly with lots of focus on balance and proper position.

    The leadline approach seems ultra conservative to me, but I also believe that many more children seem to be fearful (and whiny) than when I was young, perhaps due to overly protective parents, and I have seen an amazing number of beginners who have fallen off once, without injury, who were too fearful to continue riding. Sometimes I think these kids must get rushed to the emergency room every time they fall down and skin their knee (if they're ever allowed to do something where they might fall down!) So definitely understand trainers taking the very conservative approach.



  20. #20
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    Don't forget that most of these riders are on school horses that suffer the consequences of packing riders who can't steer or stay balanced for a living.

    Most good instruction barns won't let anybody off the lunge until they can steer, stop and do a posting trot with no hands to show they have enough balance to keep from ripping the horse/Pony's head off to stay on.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



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