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What Would You Do? (Riding Lesson)

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  • What Would You Do? (Riding Lesson)

    Imagine this scenario:

    You have been asked to give a riding lesson to a young married couple. The wife has ridden a few times in her life but has had only a couple of formal lessons. She is looking for a good lesson program where she can learn to ride and hopes to one day be able to lease, or even own, a horse.

    The husband has only ridden a couple of times--birthday party pony ride, nose-to-tail trail ride. He is not interested in taking regular lessons but is supportive of his wife's riding and wants to take one lesson with her "to see what all these horse people love about the sport." He would also like to go "trail riding" sometime--but nose-to-tail walk-rides are his only experience of that.

    They want to take a lesson together.

    You have one schoolmaster, retired Second Level horse experienced at teaching beginners. He is as bombproof as any horse can be. You also have a friend-boarder who has a TB eventer, basically bombproof in the arena, frequently ridden by the friend's daughter who is outgrowing her Welsh-cross pony. You have permission to use the eventer in this double lesson.

    What would you do? Do you put the wife, who is serious about learning to ride, up on your schoolmaster who will teach her a lot? Or do you put the husband, who is really "just along for the ride," up on the schoolmaster whom you can trust to just plod around on the rail quietly while you give the wife a lesson on the eventer? If the husband gets interested and wants to participate in the lesson you can trust the schoolmaster to take care of him.

    This couple really, really want to ride together this first time and if they enjoy the experience the wife will likely return for more lessons (and hubby might be converted and come too!)

  • #2
    If husband is calm, I'd put him on the TB and use your lesson horse for the wife, the one who needs to decide if she wants to take more lessons with you. You'll know within a few minutes if it's OK or not.

    Alternatively, give them each a 1/2 hour lesson on your school horse and have the other one in the ring with you as you go over what to do, etc. Start with her but make him stand next to you and listen closely as you remind her how to hold reins, etc. See if he can see if she's on the correct diagonal, etc.

    In general, I think group lessons for first timers are bad iideas but you could make it work. Do you have someone who could help you with the husband while you focus more on the wife-i.e to walk alongside him etc?

    Comment


    • #3
      Longe line each one first for 15 minutes, then go from that, one at the time for that first lesson, with the horse you have.

      After that evaluation lesson, that you may not charge for, or charge little and tell them it is not a real lesson, but an evaluation first time, then you will know more where to go with them and they will know if they want to go on with more lessons.

      If you are not regularly giving lessons to the public as a business, be sure you have the right kind of insurance and waivers on hand.

      Comment


      • #4
        Tell them, that for their safety and for your ability to totally concentrate on each one individually, you will teach one for half an hour, then the other. Use your schoolmaster for that. You can invite the other spouse to stand near you in center ring if desired, so that even though only one is riding at a time at the outset, they each can also benefit from hearing what you are saying, and learn by observation.

        Based on what you see/their aptitude etc, you can decide which one might be able to cope with the other horse, if they want to then ride together for about 15 minutes. Be sure each wears a helmet!
        Last edited by sdlbredfan; Aug. 6, 2011, 07:38 PM. Reason: clarity
        Jeanie
        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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        • #5
          If you're determined to fulfill their wish of riding together for the first time... (did they just get married? ) I suggest putting the husband on the horse least likely to put a foot wrong. Since the wife wants to learn, she's more likely to listen carefully to your direction and try harder to do things the right way, which lessens the chance of something going awry. If she decides to stick with it, there will be many more chances for her to benefit from your schoolmaster.

          ETA: When I've done something along these lines, I don't worry too much about trying to teach anything more than basic stop-go-steer-correct position, but I do use a lot of drill team type figures so the riders can enjoy interacting with each other and their horses even if they only walk. Having them try to maintain side-by-side positioning then splitting off to continue mirroring each other from afar before coming back together is challenging in a fun and instructive way. It usually gets people feeling a bit competitive and can often spark some interest in the "less interested" party, as well as demonstrate that learning to ride is a lot more challenging than it looks.
          Patience pays.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
            Tell them, that for their safety and for your ability to totally concentrate on each one individually, you will teach one for half an hour, then the other. Use your schoolmaster for that. You can invite the other spouse to stand near you in center ring if desired, so that even though only one is riding at a time at the outset, they each can also benefit from hearing what you are saying, and learn by observation.

            Based on what you see/their aptitude etc, you can decide which one might be able to cope with the other horse, if they want to then ride together for about 15 minutes. Be sure each wears a helmet!
            If hubby's "just along for the ride" as it were, I doubt waiting around doing nothing will be to his liking. He doesn't care about the lesson, he's just looking to do something more fun than twiddling his thumbs while his wife's doing the lesson.

            OP, I agree with evaluating them and if he's really unsteady, putting him on the schoolmaster to start. Odds are he'll get bored with lessons and she'll keep going; or maybe he'll catch the riding bug and will continue as well, in which case the schoolmaster would do him good.
            Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

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            • #7
              Put hubby on the safer horse. I've done a few "couple's lessons" and they're a pain (although I had a much larger selection of horses). There's really only so much you can do with a rank beginner in one lesson without boring them (and you). It's easier to do 2 half hour beginner lessons than one hour lesson with 2 people IMO.

              Since they want to ride together, perhaps you could get them both on and have them walk around together for a few minutes while you go over steering and stopping. If they both seem unlikely to randomly fall off, have one (I'm thinking wife) go off to the side while you focus on hubby for a more-or-less full lesson. Then have him go off while you work with wife for a while, and then bring them together for a few minutes at the end to review and "cool down". That way they both get individual attention AND time together, plus the one who is watching won't be so bored if they're on a horse and able to walk around a bit.

              So for an hour lesson, it would be something like:
              10 minutes walking together
              20 minutes working with husband
              20 minutes working with wife
              10 minutes walking together
              Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
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              • #8
                I'd also tend to put the less-serious student on the safest of safe horses. It sounds like this will be his only lesson, then Wife will come alone? If so, then she will have ample opportunity to ride the schoolmaster.

                Another option: A "musical horses" lesson. Put Hubby on the safe schoolmaster first. do some walk, maybe trot work, depending on how able they are. Then have them trade and repeat the same exercises on their new horses. That way, you get Hubby's feet wet with the safer horse, but still get an opportunity to show Wife the quality of the schoolmaster.
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                • #9
                  I wouldn't just have the husband "plod along" while you focus on the wife unless they specifically asked for that (and even then, IME both parties have more fun if they're pretty equally involved). Plodding around the arena gets boring quick, and you want to get him interested so he'll at least be supportive of his wife (and as you said, may be converted ). If I were in your shoes I'd plan a lesson that involves both of them pretty actively, although I might focus it a bit more on the wife.

                  I really like coloredhorse's "musical horses" suggestion. I've used a similar strategy myself before and it works really well. Plus as others have said it is hard to fill up an hour lesson for a total beginner without overloading them (especially since one isn't terribly interested in riding to begin with) so that kind of helps fill up the time while still teaching them.

                  I'd start the hubby on the schoolmaster. The first lesson in a situation like this is probably going to be really basic stuff plus some fun games for them to do as a couple, so it's probably not going to be a big deal which horse the wife rides as long as they're both safe. Then when she is taking lessons by herself you can let your schoolmaster show off what an awesome teacher he is.

                  I think your first priority has to be safety for both people. If you have concerns about the borrowed horse (even if that concern is simply, "I don't know him as well as I know my horse") then you should trust that.
                  exploring the relationship between horse and human

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Melissa.Hare.Jones View Post
                    If you're determined to fulfill their wish of riding together for the first time... (did they just get married? ) I suggest putting the husband on the horse least likely to put a foot wrong. Since the wife wants to learn, she's more likely to listen carefully to your direction and try harder to do things the right way, which lessens the chance of something going awry. If she decides to stick with it, there will be many more chances for her to benefit from your schoolmaster.

                    ETA: When I've done something along these lines, I don't worry too much about trying to teach anything more than basic stop-go-steer-correct position, but I do use a lot of drill team type figures so the riders can enjoy interacting with each other and their horses even if they only walk. Having them try to maintain side-by-side positioning then splitting off to continue mirroring each other from afar before coming back together is challenging in a fun and instructive way. It usually gets people feeling a bit competitive and can often spark some interest in the "less interested" party, as well as demonstrate that learning to ride is a lot more challenging than it looks.
                    Ohmigosh, that last part is brilliant!!!!
                    Jeanie
                    RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There's nothing to say you can't switch horses at a later date. It would actually be good for them to ride each horse on different days.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Given you have two rank beginners taking a lesson together, I would assume that you are going to do very basic walking exercises. I like the patterns ideas. My first time beginners do lots of weaving with cones, barrel racing at the walk, turning in a box made of ground poles, "jumping" ground poles, and doing various trail things (I even have a mailbox mounted on a standard for getting the mail.)

                        Trotting is going to be a whole new world.

                        And yes to releases and helmets.
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