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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 24, 2003
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    South of the Mason Dixon
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    138

    Default How regularly do you need to ride to take regular lessons?

    Asked differently, how many times per week do you personally feel you need to ride before you are justified in taking a lesson? Any?

    I have a pretty demanding work schedule and struggle to get on my horse consistently. Consequently, I never schedule lessons, as I feel like I haven't ridden enough to make it 'worth it'. Then, when I DO ride, my horse and I are bored silly (or we just hack). So you can imagine how quickly my riding is progressing!

    I very much would like to stop the downward spiral--find a new instructor, improve, and start competing again. But, again--hesitant to arrange an evaluation lesson when my horse and I haven't been in what I would consider 'regular' work.

    anyone out there have a rule of thumb? Does it depend on the level of trainer (local vs BNT)? Help me start an upward spiral where at least my horse and I aren't boring each other to death!

    TIA!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 14, 2011
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    racetrack
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    1,477

    Default

    As much as financially possible.

    "Pat the horse; kick yourself" - Carl Hester


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
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    12,627

    Default

    I think the issue is more the work your horse is in. I have a VERY demanding job. BUT even when I can't ride, my horse gets ridden or hacked out. So that when I do ride, I'm not also dealing with getting my horse fit.

    So for example, I didn't ride all week...but my horse was ridden out most days (mostly hacked out on the trails but he was exercised). I have a dressage lesson tomorrow and jumped a couple of rounds at a schooling jumper show today. The big difference was that if I had ridden this week, I probably would have done a round at 3'6" but since I hadn't jumped him in two weeks, I kept within our comfort zone and did a 3' course which went well and then a 3'3" course which was even better.

    So if you can get some help so your horse is getting ridden a bit more consistently, I would think you would be fine taking as many lessons as you have time and money to take.

    Though in answer to your question, I personally do not feel my self progressing unless I'm riding a least 4 times a week and do best if riding 6-7 days a week (on multiple horses).
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 2013
    Location
    MA and NC
    Posts
    503

    Default

    If you don't "find the time" to go out to the barn lessons might actually prompt you to get out to the barn even on days where it is miserably cold and doing some form of precipitation, or when you're busy and don't FEEL like you have the time.

    I also think, doing lessons would keep you progressing.


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2003
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
    Posts
    12,906

    Default

    My thing is that I know our asses will be kicked in lessons, so I don't like showing up without having ridden at least a day or two to get us moving and ready to go. I also know that if my horse hasn't been ridden, we will waste time in the lesson with him acting goofy or being a little silly over fences (if we're jumping).

    To answer the real question, I like to be riding at least 5 days a week to feel we're prepared for lessons and to be making progress between lessons.

    All that being said, you may want to set up an evaluation lesson and be clear that you ride inconsistently and that you don't want to fry you or your horse when you go. My bet would be that if you find a trainer you like who gives you lessons you enjoy and that leaves you with some homework to work on between lessons, you'll find ways to get in the saddle more often.


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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 8, 2010
    Location
    Lancaster
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Well, I schedule a lesson when I feel like I have made enough progress on the homework from the last lesson that we're ready for something new. Usually means I've done the given exercises and I'm either bored, that I need more help with the given exercise or need another exercise. Since you're bored it sounds like you could use a lesson. You don't have to commit to once a week, I'm lucky if I get a lesson twice a month.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2008
    Location
    Nowhere, Maryland
    Posts
    3,133

    Default

    I don't think it is fair to expect my horses to do lessons unless they are ridden at least 3-4 times a week-- both for fitness and for mental focus. In college when I rode lesson ponies, boarders or training clients' horses at the barn where I worked, I sometimes only rode 1-2 times a week, only in a lesson, but the horses were ridden on the other days by someone else.

    Both of the geldings I compete right now are quiet, easygoing TBs, but I definitely find that the day after a day (or more) off is better as a hack/ conditioning day rather than serious school/ lesson. Ideally I like to have a lesson Wednesday or Thursday (so they have been ridden both Monday/ Tuesday or Tuesday/ Wednesday after their day off.)



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2008
    Posts
    924

    Default

    I found that if I have a lesson scheduled then I will make the time to ride at least 3-4 days a week. Now that I'm not taking lessons I am also bored to death and now starting to make excuses not to ride. I HATE WINTER!!!!!!!!

    But to answer your question 3-4 days in order to lesson. My horse is young and green but very consistent. Me? Not so much


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 20, 2009
    Location
    Raeford, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,787

    Default

    It sounds from your original post that you've already got your answer. You have a goal and you have a desire. If there is an instructor in your area that you think might be a good fit then give it a whirl!

    I agree that it just might be the kick start you need. If you can arrange for your horse to get out and about a couple additional times a week that is even better.

    Go and have fun! Lessons are supposed to give us homework but still be fun (especially when just starting back up).
    "Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing" - Robert Benchley
    Cotton would fight.
    http://buildingthegrove.blogspot.com/



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2008
    Location
    Area II, the Blue Ridge Mountains
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    1,982

    Default

    I see lessons as one way we integrate setting goals into our daily riding. Having short and long term goals is a big part of making progress. So, for example, having two lessons per month provides a structure for planning and all of this feeds into motivation.

    If you can find other concrete ways to set goals, then you can do less lessons. For example, you may set up a video session once per month and tell yourself that you want to have accomplished something simple by each session.

    I do think that one can do too many lessons. It is important to think independently and to practice, sometimes by trial and error. You don't this this within a lesson. Modern day riders seem to lesson more than in years past and I think this relates to what I see as more dependent riders, waiting to see what a trainer will tell them to do.

    It's all about balance between thinking independently and learning from a trainer. When you're out on course, you don't have someone there to talk you through each element.


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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 19, 2005
    Location
    PA
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    12,627

    Default

    I think Winding Down is touching on a different (but interesting) point. How many regular lessons do you need to progress rather than how often do you need to ride to take a lesson. Very related points but honestly the answer to both does vary to me depending on the person.

    At the stage I am in my riding, I do not need a ton of lessons to progress in my riding. I actually do not like to take too many lessons and I like to have some time to work on things between lessons. But a other stages in my riding, I needed lessons more often. Also, especially with jumping, lessons are often needed to push me a bit outside my own comfort zone. So when I'm training a horse and we are moving up to Prelim, I need more jumping lessons as I'm not as comfortable to push myself with higher fences...as opposed to when I'm first teaching a horse to jump, I do not need as much help.

    So how many lessons you need to progress will really vary depending on you level and experience. But I do think that setting lesson just like entering a show does tend to motivate me to ride more.
    ** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2002
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    11,101

    Default

    I don't think you need to justify taking lessons. I think that any horse who is ridden once or twice a week and has regular turnout is fit enough for a 40 minute dressage lesson. You can always do lots of walk and trot work and stop early if you need to.

    I don't take a lot of lessons when I'm in the "get horse to stop bucking me off" phase because I'm really good with green and remedial. But I need lots of lessons when I'm in the "square halt" phase because I'm not so good at that.

    If you find yourself wandering around the arena bored then you would probably benefit from some lessons to give you homework and goals.


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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2002
    Location
    NJ, USA
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    2,248

    Default

    I know what you're going for - I'm in the same boat. I've found, if I can manage 3 rides a week, we manage to progress and the lessons are totally worth it. That means force myself out there 2x a week on my own, then I can take one lesson and feel like we are getting somewhere.

    Mind the 2 rides don't even need to be long for this to work. Just getting in the saddle, warming up & doing some circles long & low for 15 mins!

    Mind also, this is low level stuff - my mare & I are hoping to go BN next season.

    Also, my mare is experienced and calm and sensible, doesn't need a lot of riding down. For a greenie or hot one, I guess more might be required.

    So ideally minimum 4x a week, but 3x a week (including lesson) makes it workable for me!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2011
    Posts
    2,069

    Default

    For me if I don't ride 5 times a week I feel very guilty about it and my horse will probably be too fresh for jumping which will just cause us to fight each other. I also think that at the level I'm trying to show (1.20+ jumpers) that less than 5 days a week would not leave my horse fit enough and as such has more potential for injury for those heights (even in lessons).



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    1,698

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
    I think Winding Down is touching on a different (but interesting) point. How many regular lessons do you need to progress rather than how often do you need to ride to take a lesson. Very related points but honestly the answer to both does vary to me depending on the person.

    At the stage I am in my riding, I do not need a ton of lessons to progress in my riding. I actually do not like to take too many lessons and I like to have some time to work on things between lessons. But a other stages in my riding, I needed lessons more often. Also, especially with jumping, lessons are often needed to push me a bit outside my own comfort zone. So when I'm training a horse and we are moving up to Prelim, I need more jumping lessons as I'm not as comfortable to push myself with higher fences...as opposed to when I'm first teaching a horse to jump, I do not need as much help.

    So how many lessons you need to progress will really vary depending on you level and experience. But I do think that setting lesson just like entering a show does tend to motivate me to ride more.
    I agree with this. I am currently working my mare on really basic stuff, staying balanced and connected at W/T, get leads and work on balance at canter, that I am very comfortable doing on my own. Because of this I only schedule an occasional lesson to check progress and get another view on things.

    When I get her to the point of working on more advanced movements or jumping higher than ~2'6" or 3' then I will probably schedule more lessons.

    Of course I am hardly riding at all right now due weather/footing/time/time change so lessons will wait until next year sometime.

    So I would say it depends on what your working on and what you feel comfortable with in addition to the amount your riding.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2009
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    773

    Default

    My horse lives out 24/7. During the show season, I ride 5-6 days a week. In the off season, 3-4, with 3 being the more normal week. I tend to have more $$ for lessons in the off season, so this is when we take them and really work hard on the little things before the next season. I find that pony is plenty fit with this schedule (he's a TB) for lessons (2 a month usually). We do mostly grid work and dressage over the winter, so the jumps aren't huge, and we compete at Novice.

    Also feel having that lesson scheduled motivates me to ride. I am taking my horse "home" with me over the week of Christmas (I live 2 hours from my family, on my own farm) and spending 9 days at a great eventing facility near them. I will be riding him most of those days and lessoning at least twice. That is keeping me super motivated to at least keep him fit until then!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    15,268

    Default

    lol these days i do it as in lesson when i feel like it

    my bonnie is now 20 and i am 58 we have done heaps in the past at mixed events so if i do a lesson it would just to do something different



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2006
    Posts
    682

    Default

    Come h3ll or high water, I like doing one lesson per week.

    Keeps me honest, motivates me to at least make is out two or three other days per week to get the horse prepped for the lesson and keeps it feeling as though we have a chance to improve.

    If you can stomach it OP, I would suggest scheduling one lesson per week to see if it gives you the motivational boost you are hoping for. Maybe on a Tuesday or so, so you have Sat/Sun and Monday to prep, lesson on Tuesday and then back to regularly scheduled work craziness for the remainder of the week.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2002
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    5,174

    Default

    I am a full time grad student in a very demanding master's program, and also work part time, so my schedule is insane at times. Some weeks I can ride 4 or 5 days, and some weeks I may only get to ride once or twice. It is the best I can do and does not stem from lack of motivation, but simply lack of hours in the day.

    That said, I lesson every chance I get. Sometimes once a week, sometimes every few weeks, on occasions maybe twice a week (a dressage lesson and a jumping lesson). I have a green but mature (7 yo) mare, and are just working toward BN, so I don't feel like the workload in a lesson at that level is unreasonable even with her inconsistent riding schedule. She maintains a decent base of fitness from what we do, and I pay close attention to determine when she has had enough. Despite my crazy schedule, she is progressing nicely on this plan (would obviously progress faster if she had more consistency, but I do what I can and try to keep it fun for both of us), so it is working for us.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2007
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    too far from the barn
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    5,592

    Default

    I am in a similar situation to BFNE. My horse works 6+ days per week (which he likes). I ride 4-5 times a week if I am not travelling, but often am. In addition to riding, I run, do yoga and take barre classes so I'm usually not worried about my fitness level. My lessons are incorporated into my board, so I might take 1 in a busy work work (because a lesson is usually more time than just riding) and I might take 5 in the week leading up to an event
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


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