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Going from private to group lessons

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  • Going from private to group lessons

    So I'm starting at a new barn next week and will be shuffled into group lessons. I haven't taken a group lesson in a LONG time and have only been taking private lessons for the last six or seven months.

    Any suggestions to help me transition?

    Note: As it is my first time to this barn I don't know if I have the option of a private lesson yet but I might take it if I do. I'm going to be riding with a college equestrian team since they are my transportation to this new barn.

  • #2
    Keep an open mind and be patient. I teach some group lessons (though I don't like them) and as long as each student is tolerant of other individuals sometimes needing more attention or more time or not quite being up to par then things go okay. You can learn a lot from watching others work on the same exercises as you, and from their questions.


    • #3
      Just do your best to learn from what your instructor says to your fellow riders as much as you can. If you look at your trainer's comments to your lesson-mates as "wasted time," then you're going to be miserable. But if you pay attention to what your trainer is saying to other people, and watch their riding and try to understand what they're doing right/wrong, every comment to someone else becomes a learning experience for you, too

      The other thing that will probably be different is that your trainer won't be able to comment on your riding every moment of your lesson, like you may be used to. You might need to be more proactive and give yourself reminders (keep your leg back, heels down, softer hands, whatever) instead of counting on your trainer to "fix" you first.

      Good group lessons can be fun! Hope you enjoy the new place.


      • #4
        Take it as the opportunity to learn something extra. Not only will you get instruction on how to improve your own form you will get to see other rider's problems and what the trainer has to say to them. My advice is to listen to everything the trainer says, even when she's not talking to you. This will make it more entertaining and you will learn more. If the other riders/horses are of comparable level group lessons can be fun.


        • #5
          I always thought they were a lot more fun.
          ... _. ._ .._. .._


          • #6
            be patient and learn to watch others!

            right now all i can afford/have time for is a 1x a week group lesson, and somtimes it gets BIG. we're talking 7-8 riders, depending on who comes and if we have any make-ups added to our group. what i've learned is that to get the most out of a situation like that, you really have to be patient, focused, know your strengths and weaknesses, and know how to think independently. know what YOU need/want to work on, and mentally focus on that during your flatwork or jumping, since your instructor cannot be scrutinizing you every moment. be patient if another rider needs more help, and ask questions without holding up the whole lesson. watch other riders do the exercises, and really think about how you will ride it when it's your turn.

            to be successful in group lessons you need to be self-motivated, because your instructor can't kick your butt the entire time! you have to kick your own!
            Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique



            • #7
              I actually prefer group lessons, they bring out my competitive side and I find I'm more motivated to try and improve when I'm in a group. Unfortunately group lessons are not offered where I ride.


              • #8
                Originally posted by caradino View Post
                to be successful in group lessons you need to be self-motivated, because your instructor can't kick your butt the entire time! you have to kick your own!
                I strive to kick each rider's butt throughout the entire lesson, even when the group is 8 riders strong

                I forgot to mention in my first post - you said you will be relying on your group members for transportation right? And that they are college girls? Please, please, please avoid out-of-the-ring drama with them. I've seen group lessons fall apart because of what goes on between the riders outside of the barn, riders complain about one another for things unrelated to riding, unkind comments made during class that spawn from said drama, etc. Oddly enough I see this more among groups of young adults than the teens or kids.


                • #9
                  groups are great for all of the reasons mentioned above. I do a mix of group and private and have definitely found my group lessons to be beneficial.


                  • #10
                    Definitely listen to what the instructor tells other students, you can learn a lot! The lessons I'm in often have riders of different levels, I learn a lot by listening to my trainer work with the more advanced students and watching what they are doing.

                    We often have multiple lines going during the jumping part, if so be aware of where riders will need to go for each line, so you don't end up blocking them. I had this happen to me a few weeks ago and it make for a very frustrating lesson (ie, almost to the first jump and see a fellow student parked on her horse right between my two jumps, just chatting away).


                    • #11
                      I coached a college equestrian team for several years. Some great tips by posters above- be kind, don't get catty, be on time at your pick up location. A lot of my girls have long since graduated and are still good friends. This is a great opportunity for you.

                      Be respectful of ring etiquette and space- something you may not be used to if riding alone. If the instructor is working with another student...use that time to listen and apply what you can...or to work on your seat/position if it does not apply to you.

                      Have fun!


                      • #12
                        I rode in private lessons for years, then stopped riding. Now I am back in a group, and really enjoy myself. I get along very well with the riders in my group, and we offer each other support that is always welcomed! It is great to have someone to talk to after the lesson, and a little friendly competition is always a good thing. I was nervous about getting back in the show ring, but having my lesson pals on the rail encouraging me was so refreshing.

                        A couple important things have been mentioned here, and I would like to add a few more (as someone who rides at a barn with a HUGE college lesson program).

                        - Be very aware of where you are in the ring, as well as where others are and KNOW the courses. Do not park your horse in a line.

                        -Be courteous to the instructor. Just because they are not your full time trainer does not mean that you should treat them any differently.

                        -School horses are still horses, and should not be treated any differently then you would treat your own. Take the time to prep and cool them down properly.

                        -Keep the flow moving in the group. Be ready to go as soon as the last rider is finishing their course. If you have a stop, do NOT start your course over unless told to do so.

                        -No shows for lessons are unacceptable. Always give the courtesy of a phone call.

                        -Make sure you know barn rules and policies. Do not just assume things like turn out, wrapping, etc are the same as your barn.
                        The best sports bras for riders are Anita 5527 and Panache! Size UP in Anita, down in Panache (UK sizing)


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by JinxyFish313 View Post
                          I forgot to mention in my first post - you said you will be relying on your group members for transportation right? And that they are college girls? Please, please, please avoid out-of-the-ring drama with them. I've seen group lessons fall apart because of what goes on between the riders outside of the barn, riders complain about one another for things unrelated to riding, unkind comments made during class that spawn from said drama, etc. Oddly enough I see this more among groups of young adults than the teens or kids.
                          Yep I'm a college student myself (will be riding with girls not from my school) so I know all about how that drama can get! Hopefully we will all get along!

                          Thanks for the advice everyone!


                          • #14
                            Group lessons are the best way to learn in my opinion. You learn so much from watching other riders. You also learn a lot about Team Work which horse people can sometimes forget all about. Have fun!


                            • #15
                              You're in the DC area right? What college are you attending?


                              • #16
                                Especially if you're in a group with some less advanced people (as sometimes happens when you're shuffling 20 people's schedules), make sure you're aware of where other people are, what they're doing, and who's on the kicker Had a lesson last night where one girl almost got kicked because another didn't use enough room when passing.

                                I find it helpful to give myself a mental checklist of 3 things to work on (in my case heels down, thumbs up, chest out) and run through that whenever the instructor isn't looking at me.

                                And take advantage of the opportunity-I've made some good friends through my equestrian team!
                                "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                                Phoenix Animal Rescue


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thank for the reminder kateh! (by the way I just googled your team and NICE website!) I'm just so psyched to be riding--my month-long break was just TOO long!


                                  • #18
                                    Learn from the others. You might find that some of your flaws turn up in a lesson mate and if you see it, you might be better able to change it. A good instructor involves the entire group. One of my best instructors had us all use each others are "guinea pigs." We all had to watch each other and he'd say "What did you do right on that turn?" or "What could she have done to improve the bending line?"
                                    My most recent jumping group included two other riders with the same habit of looking down at the last minute. While we could all sympathize, we did learn from seeing the effect on each other's horses.
                                    Think of yourself not as "waiting for your turn" but "auditing" the other students lesson.
                                    F O.B
                                    Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                    Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique


                                    • #19
                                      If you've had the ring to yourself during your private lessons, traffic control in a group lesson will be interesting. But if your private lessons have been like mine and in the same ring with 5 other private lessons, then steering around the other riders will be much easier.


                                      • #20
                                        If you think of groups as being a move-up, since now you are operating more independently, navigating, self correcting and using your own best judgement, that may help you get the most out of them.

                                        Our barn offers only private lessons but before a show (for flat classes) the instructor always makes an effort to add an additional lesson with several riders and work on traffic control.

                                        I used to do group lessons and felt I needed more private time, now it is only privates and I wish my trainer would stop nagging me about so many things at once! LOL

                                        Make the best of it and have some fun.
                                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                        Incredible Invisible