Beginner Riding Lesson Dilemma

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21 November 2012
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Hi,

My daughter, Eva, is 5 (6 in January) and is about to start horse riding lessons for the first time. There are two riding schools near to where we live in Wakefield and both offer slightly different things and we are unsure as to which school to go with.

The first school does 1/2 hour lead-rein group lessons every weekend and the cost for this is £14.50. The school is qutie small but very friendly.

The second school does 1/2 hour lead rein private lessons every other weekend and the cost for this is £25. Once she can then walk and trot unaided she would go into the 1 hour group lesson which is £20. This school seems to have better facilities (indoor arena etc) but appearance isn't necessarily everything.

Our dilemma is which one is best for a young rider that has never ridden a horse before (and neither my wife or I are riders). A group lesson every week seems to be good value and the gaps between each lesson is only a week. But then a private lesson would allow her to have 100% of the trainers attention and therefore she may progress quicker and the cost over a month would be broadly similar.

Would really value experience riders advice before we make a decision.

Thanks

Tom.
 

PollyP

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Hi Tom,

For a 5year old just starting out I would personally go with the lead rein group lessons, that the first school offers.

I think with young children half an hour is a long time to concentrate in a one to one lesson. Within a group she can settle in and see what others are doing. There will also be the pony leader to help give her guidance whilst she is riding.
It's also a nice atmosphere in a group and she can get to know other children and see how theyre progressing.

Hope that helps!
 

JustKickOn

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You sound just like my dad did 17 years ago :D :D

Go with the first one, she probably won't feel as much pressure to do things in a group and will get confidence from watch what others do.
 

rockysmum

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I'm not an expert, but my daughter did learn. I would go for the first option, certainly to start with, if everything else is equal.

For several reasons really. At that age they like to be part of a group, it makes it more fun. It also gets over nerves if they see one of the other kids do something. In addition half an hour private can be quite hard work and when you are starting its nice to be able to chill when the instructors attention is elsewhere. Also time on a pony matters so every week would be better than fortnightly.

All that said it depends on the quality and safety aspects too. I would ask if you can visit and watch lessons at both. You dont have to be an expert to see if the kids are enjoying themselves and progressing, state of the yard and ponies etc. An indoor is a bonus in winter though.
 

Star_Chaser

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I'd go with the first option too because its more sociable but having said that if you want her to progress then go with the second because private lessons will allow her to iron out any fears she has and they can go at her pace rather than at the pace of the class.

You can always swap to the first schools group class once you have got her in happy in the saddle.
 

giveitago

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Are you able to watch a lesson before commiting?

I hope you understand this. I'd be inclined to go for the lesson that DOESNT use the works kick or pull. Later on in life she'll thank you for being taught how to ride quietly with the horse as her buddy and not a 'toy' item. See if they'll let her brush the pony or get involved just a bit in it's care too.
 

annaellie

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From experance of teaching young children, they tend to thrive better in small groups. If she takes to it and when she gets a bit older I would then look at private lessons.
 

Goldenstar

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I would start her in the group situation let her have fun with the other kids there and work out how keen she is .
If she gets the bug I would then move her to the private type situation as this is definatly the best way to learn correctly but it's harder work for the child and they will find it more or less fun because of this, depending on their temperament .
 

Kat

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I would go for group lessons for such a young child, they can start out doing fun games and keeping it light hearted. A private lesson is a lot for a small child and they don't get the fun of interacting with the others or get to see other children at their level.

You could always do private lessons at a later stage when the child needs help to progress past a certain point or starts to want to do more.

I think that the more regular contact with the pony is better in the early days too.

Having said that riding schools are quite variable, and the quality of the tuition and the quality of the ponies makes a big difference ESPECIALLY when children get to the stage of coming off the leadrein. The facilities are less important, but an indoor school is nice during winter.

It might be an idea to post your location and ask whether anyone in the local area could give you some personal experience of the riding schools. For example near me there is a perfectly nice place that give small children a really nice start on the lead rein and I wouldn't hesitate to suggest that someone took their 5 year old there for taster lessons and those first few lessons learning to walk and trot on the lead rein they add interest and take children out on the ponies for a walk down the lane to look at the cows and sheep and things, but when they get to coming off the lead rein and learning to canter another place has far better ponies for this, a really good range of small trustworthy schoolmasters that are forward but safe.
 

Littlelegs

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I'd go for the first one too. Not because of her age, but any new rider initially needs to get used to the feeling of being on a horse, rather than pure tuition, so at beginner stage I don't think they gain loads more from the one to one attention. And definitely agree with giveitago. Plus ask to watch the advanced classes at both places. Good riding you shouldn't be able to see the rider moving. If in the advanced class people are waving arms & legs everywhere, then definitely avoid it. What area & rs are they? People on here might know them & be able to recommend.
 

billylula

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The cheapest one! She might hate it! Ideally they'd do stable management as well, I can't stress how much this is important. I don't like even 5 year olds being given a fully tacked up pony and then whisked away before pony is untacked. My oldest daughter preferred the stable management parts to the riding parts from the ages of 5-7 then she suddenly found her confidence and was away. I believe that the stable management parts really help to build children's confidence.
 

shadeofshyness

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Definitely the first option - I think every other week is too much of a gap. I forget things my instructor has told me after a week so hate to think how I'd be after two, haha! Good luck and hope she has a good time!
 

mandwhy

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I agree the first one, I used to do leading in lessons and it is a nice fun atmosphere in the groups, especially for the very young ones. I don't think you need private lessons until you are a bit older really. Bless her I hope she enjoys it :)
 
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Wow, thanks for so much input and advice. I think there is a general consensus that the group lesson would be best so we will go with that.

The school in question is Royds Hall Riding School in Wakefield and we've already been twice to have a look round and meet the pony that Eva will be using. She is already booked in there for this coming Saturday but then the other school contacted us to let us know what they offer.

This is a brilliant site so I'm sure I'll be posting more!

Thanks

Tom.
 

Pearlsasinger

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Wow, thanks for so much input and advice. I think there is a general consensus that the group lesson would be best so we will go with that.

The school in question is Royds Hall Riding School in Wakefield and we've already been twice to have a look round and meet the pony that Eva will be using. She is already booked in there for this coming Saturday but then the other school contacted us to let us know what they offer.

This is a brilliant site so I'm sure I'll be posting more!

Thanks

Tom.
That, in itself, would lead me to go with the first school. But as a teacher of young children I agree that your daughter will do better in the group lesson.
 
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Hi All,

Just wanted to post to say that Eva had her first riding lesson today and I'm sol glad we followed everyone's advice and chose the group lesson at Royds. Eva absolutely loved it and is booked in for next weekend.

Just thought I'd post a couple of pics:





Thanks again for your help and advice.

Tom.
 

Honey08

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What lovely pictures, so glad it went well and she had fun.

You do realise that happy face says "Dad I love horses and I'm going to cost you a fortune for the next 15 years!".:D
 

Kat

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Ah sooooo lovely! She's having a fab time!

Hope you realise that you are going to regret this though.......... I'm married and in my 30s and my parent's are still spending weekends freezing cold watching dressage and feigning interest in their "equine grandchild" and buying horsey stuff for Xmas etc.
 

TJP

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Can I say it's refreshing that someone A/ asks for advice and B/ actually listens to the advice given. Lovely pics, she looks like she is loving it. Welcome to the quickest route towards financial ruin known to man.
 
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