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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2011
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    195

    Default Group lessons: how many is too many?

    Looking for some opinions here.

    Assuming there is one instructor, how many students is ideal for a group lesson for youth riders?

    At what number does it become too many students for one instructor to give each student enough attention?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2000
    Location
    Greenville, MI,
    Posts
    12,238

    Default

    Personally with beginners I do not like to do Groups, I think they need too much attention. I have done 3 in a group that were walk trot cantering.
    I do not think until then they have enough control. Just my thinking.
    "you can only ride the drama llama so hard before it decides to spit in your face." ?Caffeinated.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    Deep South
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    14,909

    Default

    We had groups of eight to twelve at school and were directed in lots of four. It was actually nice not to have the individual attention and be able to work things out for yourself without scrutiny. The instructor has to be up to snuff though.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2012
    Location
    Louisa County, Virginia
    Posts
    285

    Default

    I like to start complete beginners one on one, or two kids with them taking turns riding/other leads the pony, when possible. If you have experienced helpers on the ground, that's different.

    Once they can steer at the trot, they are OK for groups.

    At one point, I had six hours straight of five kids per lesson. That meant, if I talked nonstop, each rider got twelve minutes of instruction. You really had to plan the lessons and have a good strategy to keep everyone moving and comment on everyone.

    I prefer three, ideally. Of course, more is great for income. But with three, they can watch each other, do some fun games, one can be recovering, one getting ready, one doing a little individual work.

    Also, my insurance premiums go up at a certain number of students per lesson; I don't recall exactly, think it might be around six.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2010
    Posts
    2,477

    Default

    For confident beginner who are WTC I have seen successful lessons of up to 5 where the instructor did group games and had them practice new stuff individually. Intermediate lessons of 2-4 seemed to work best because the riders got a solid hour in the saddle but there was down time to process and give the horses a break.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2012
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    341

    Default

    A barn I once rode at goes with the policy of maximum of 6 students for the very beginners (walk/line-trot) and up to 8 for (walk/starting group trot). Many times the very beginning classes have an instructor and at least one assistant. I can't really comment on why they structure their lessons that way since I wasn't an instructor, but as a student I didn't really like it when I ended up in a large class. I felt like I spent a lot of time waiting around and often the instructors couldn't see everything. It wasn't anything against their expertise or judgement, it just seemed to me like they had too much to look at.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2008
    Location
    Greeley, Colorado
    Posts
    3,938

    Default

    I always preferred 2-3 but maxed out at 5. I think beyond 5 can become hairy quickly if something goes wrong (which it's bound to do with horses).
    **Friend of bar.ka**

    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
    My equine soulmate


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    Packing my bags
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    33,593

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    back in the day, group lessons were the norm in the Old Country.
    Depended a bit on the instructor/venue, how many. I am thinking 8 were the norm. Most of it was head to tail. At the beginner level, with good schoolies, that's pretty much all you need: TITS, Time in The Saddle. The instructor would remind the whole group about sitting up, toes in, heels down, explain how the move is supposed to be set up, etc, then for the canter work the group would ride around in a walk, the first rider would canter, then rejoin the group by lining up at the end. By the time everybody had their turn the leader was back out front. One hour classes.

    of course, how much attention each rider gets can also depend on whether or not the parents are in the bleachers....
    You didn't go private until you were really good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2013
    Posts
    313

    Default

    When I have ridden in group lessons I've felt that 4 was the max that worked well. I once watched a group jumping lesson with 8 horses! Those girls spent more time in the halt than they did going forward and flatwork was a nightmare.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2005
    Posts
    1,663

    Default

    For an hour lesson 5 is the max and once a beginner has one or two private lessons, I like to do groups because they inspire each other as well as challenge each other.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2009
    Posts
    2,193

    Default

    Depending on the particular kids and the ponies/horses, I'd say four is a good max, five is stretching it, and six or more is too many in most situations. In a riding school situation with "nose to tail" docile horses, I could see a larger group working out just to get kids riding time, but that isn't the same as a lesson exactly. Personally I think lessons with 3 or so kids are great--the kids learn from each other but don't spend too much time waiting to do an exercise (if jumping is involved) and the instructor can give each kid some individual attention.



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