I'm in charge this weekend while the owners of the farm I assistant train at are at a show. As a result, I've had to combine some lessons to make sure everyone gets to ride. I have a couple lessons that have both more advanced riders and beginners. The beginners are jumping around 1.5' and are working on leads and proper equitation over fences (eg. releasing the hands). The more advanced students jump 2'6 and up and are preparing to show 2'6 hunters at a local show. Can anyone suggest any arena exercises that they can all participate in and benefit from? TIA!
How many jumps do you have to work with? Can you set a course with enough 2'6 jumps to amuse the more advanced riders while not terrifying the novices?
I used to sometimes have my lesson rolled into one with beginning jumpers. We would sometimes do fewer courses and more "exercises." We might set a low line and work on adjusting strides. The advanced riders would have to do a greater range (say 5 strides, then 6,then 7) to make it more challenging even though the jumps were smaller than our usual. Similarly, have the more advanced riders do more challeneging courses (rollbacks, bending lines) even though the fences are lower.
If there is a "barn rat" or two around, enlist them to stand near a couple of jumps to adjust the height for you. If there is a "flower box" type jump that's about 18" set a rail over it at maybe 2'3. Have the more experienced riders go one after the other, then have the kid knock the rail off and have the beginners do the line.
During the flat warm up we sometimes do exercises like riding a pattern with a partner and having to keep up with (or restrain your horse to the pace of) another horse and rider.
Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique
It might be a little difficult to find a happy medium where the more advanced riders aren't bored and feel they've gotten their money's worth, and at the same time the beginners aren't overwhelmed. I would have a ring set up of low heights for the beginners and some higher fences for the advanced. Set an outside line with crossrails, a diagonal line at 2'6", and maybe set up a gymnastic exercise on the other side? Gymnastics are good for everyone (horse & rider), and perhaps the beginners can practice maintaining correct release and correct 2-point position over the gymnastic if this isn't too advanced for them!
You could use the advanced riders to your advantage in this combined group by asking them to demonstrate what you're trying to teach the beginners.
Is there anyway your time schedule can permit a group lesson for the beginners and a separate group for the advanced crowd?
There are two things that spring immediately to mind for me. First is a gymnastic line that can simply be increased in height for the more proficient riders. You can start with groundpoles and work up to whatever size the riders are comfortable with.
Second is the Wheel of Death, with four fences set around a circle. Works great for teaching balance, pace, steering, and striding, and is just as beneficial over groundpoles as x-rails as a 2'6" fence.