Many farms offer both private, semi-private, and group lessons. If you are new to the horse world, group riding lessons are generally the cheapest price. And just because they are less expensive doesn't mean they aren't good. In fact, there are many benefits to group lessons.
The Number of Riders in the Lesson Makes a Difference
A reasonable number of riders in a group lesson is 4 or 5. Any more than that and riders will not get their share of instruction.
Group lessons should be organized in such a way that the riders are at the same ability level and learning the same sort of things. If there is too much of a variation in riding level within the group, it will make it hard for the instructor to give each rider ample attention.
If the groups are organized into ability level and not too large, the instructor can effectively teach everyone safely, and they should all be able to learn from not just the instruction the teacher gives to them but also from watching the other riders in the group.
Learning by Watching Other Riders
Students can learn from watching others. Sometimes, seeing what it is supposed to look like, or even not look like, is a great way to learn. It is the best of both worlds. If you are a visual learner, not only can you watch others and learn, but you can feel what is going on underneath of you at the same time. It can be a great way to learn for some people.
Learning to Ride in a Group is an Important Skill
Learning how to safely ride in a group is an important skill and one that riders need if they want to try riding in horse shows or going on trail rides.
Sometimes, riders that ride in private lessons are at a disadvantage since they are not used to riding and being aware of what is going on around them. Trotting and cantering in a ring by yourself is very different than doing it in a group of riders. Group lessons are good practice for this.
Making Barn Buddies
Riding in group lessons is also a great way to make friends at the barn. If you ride weekly, you'll soon start to make friends with the other riders in the lesson. Whether you are an adult rider, just starting out, or watching your child ride, lifelong friendships are made at the barn, many of which began in group lessons.
Being Able to Ride More Frequently
Since group lessons are less expensive than private lessons, this might provide you with the opportunity to ride more often. If you opt into group lessons, you might be able to afford to ride twice per week instead of only once. Or maybe, it will allow you to save money to lease a horse in the future.
Private Lessons are Always an Option
If you try group lessons and it seems intimidating to you, private lessons can always be an option. Maybe once a month you take a private lesson to work on something that you have been stuck on. Maybe you take a private lesson for a tune-up before a show. Nothing has to be set in stone.
A combination of group lessons and private lessons works well for a lot of riders. For example, dressage lessons are best in private form since it is very technical. Jumping lessons are easily taught in groups and provide a lot of opportunities to watch others jump their courses and learn by watching.
Try It Out and Figure Out Works Best for You
The best way to figure out what lesson format works best for you is to decide what you think would be best and just give it a try! Remember, your instructor wants you to learn in whatever environment you feel works best for you. They will not be offended if you decide that you need to make a change.
Again, horsemanship is a journey and we learn as we go. Even when it comes to what seems like a silly decision about whether to take group lessons or private, it's important to never stop learning.