Of Horse

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Dear EHH: Group Lessons or Private?
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Dear EHH: Group Lessons or Private?

My daughter is in group riding lessons at a local stable. The instructor is very good and so are the horses. It seems like one of the riders in the group is always struggling with something. Some of the time it is my daughter having trouble. They are all new young riders and have a lot to learn. My concern is that with her taking group lessons, she isn't getting as much out of her rides if they were private.

If someone is having a particularly rough time with something, the others stand in the center. I have seen the other riders in the class standing still for as much as 20 minutes. Is this an effective way for her to learn? Or should I splurge and spend the money on private lessons?

Dear Lesson Mom,

I can see your concern about your child not getting enough attention, or getting the most out of her lesson. When in group lessons, it just sort of happens naturally that the rider who is having an issue would get the most attention. That being said, if it was your daughter struggling you would be glad she was getting that extra help.

Kids can learn a lot from watching each other ride. I also have known many kids who didn't seem that into horses when they took private lessons. Then they joined a group lesson. The social part of riding with friends got them to get more interested.

Does your child say she feels like she isn't getting enough time working in the lesson? Or does she say she wishes the instructor focused more time on her? If your child is making comments like these, I would discuss private lessons with your instructor and your child. You know your child's personality best. Do you think she will still enjoy a lesson if it is just one on one with the instructor? Does she look forward to seeing her friends at lessons?

Private lessons can be great. They're a good way to get over a hump if your child is stuck on a certain skill. There is nothing wrong with the way your instructor handles her group lessons though. It is only fair that the child who needs the most help will get the most instruction that day. Just consider that sometimes that is going to be your child that gets all the attention when she is having a hard time. If she really seems to like the social part of the riding lesson and has not said anything about not getting enough working time, I'd say she is happy with how things are going.

You could always try a private lesson sometime. Once she has taken one, then hopefully she can tell you which she prefers.

Good Luck


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