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When To Let LMEqT Start Semi-Private or Group Lessons?

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  • When To Let LMEqT Start Semi-Private or Group Lessons?

    Little Miss EqT (6 years old now!) is walking and trotting comfortably on her own during her lessons. Hasn't cantered yet. She's pretty secure up there. Her instructor mentioned that she could start some group lessons.. thoughts on that? I really have good faith in her teacher and don't think she would have said it if it wasn't so..

    but I'm still her Mommy

    When did your kids start groups or semi's?
    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

  • #2
    Is she good at steering? The more people/horses you put in an arena the more chance that she will need to steer herself clear of trouble at some point. I think that would be my biggest concern. Other than that, I guess all you can do is give a lesson a try and see how she handles it (and talk to the trainer beforehand about keeping a close eye on her at the beginning to ensure that everyone stays safe and in control!).
    Zenyatta and Rachel ROCK!


    • #3
      I think kids need to be able to steer and be aware of others riding around you before going on to group lessons. My DD was just under 7 when she began riding and I think she spent at least 7-8 months in private lessons. She had learned to canter before she went on to a lesson with one other person. I don't think she was in any group lessons of more than 4 people until she was 8-9. But that was a function of the trainer she was riding with at the time as she was easily able to be in a ring with several others around.


      • #4
        Yep just what sqiggle said, I work in a lesson barn and that is the most important thing being able to steer and think for themselves. With a group chances are that the instructor won't be able to watch all of the riders at one time, the kids need to be able to think ahead and get out of a sticky situation, slow down, circle etc with out having to be told to first.

        I know (at least our lesson ponies) tend to clump together so really it is just a matter of control and awareness.
        “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

        !! is the new .


        • #5
          If she is walk/trot with reliable steering- I'd say go for it, provided the pony is highly unlikely to canter if say the other child canters past her. If the pony might break into a canter under normal group lesson circumstances, I would want her to have a few canters on the longe line first so she wouldn't freak out while stopping the pony.


          • #6
            If I were her teacher I would put her in a small group to start and see how it goes. Group lessons at this age are AWESOME they encourage kids to strive to do better, and the little bit of competition is GREAT!!!! Kids love riding together , growing up my parents owned and ran a boarding and lesson farm, there was ALWAYS someone to ride with and we became GREAT friends ( my best friend to this day is someone who I met through my very first group lesson)
            go for it!! your daughter will have a blast!
            If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.


            • #7
              I don't think it's purely an age thing; just depends on the kid. Steering is indeed a key component. Has she ever ridden with a group before? Ridden with others in the ring? Passed or been passed?

              Endurance is another key component. Group lessons tend to last longer than privates. Is she physically still as strong at the end of her lesson or is she starting to fade, lose her leg, etc? What about mental strength - can she focus for that long, or is she ready to move on to another activity by the end of half an hour?

              Interaction with others is yet another key component. Literally, does she play well with others? Will she have fun in a group? Also, part of a group lesson is learning by observing the other riders; most group lessons have at least one portion where one rider does something alone while the others watch. Will she watch and learn, or will her attention drift? If she'd drift off, she would probably get more out of private lessons and maybe the occasional group fun play day.

              Whatever you decide, I'm glad to hear she's enjoying herself so far!
              Incredible Invisible


              • #8
                At the barn where I worked, everyone started in group lessons. We would have groups of up to eight Kindergartners who'd never been on a pony before. Two or three of us manned the whole group. It actually went stunningly well, and while those were special groups meant for school outreach, it's roughly how the entire public lesson program ran. All children who were capable of steering on their own were taught in a group setting, and they stayed in a group setting until their skill and ambition took them into a more intensive private program.

                Find the right teacher and I think a group program is the way to go.