Looking for a book on the topic of teaching horseback riding lessons

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by TajMahalChickens, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just started teaching horseback riding lessons to a 3rd grader. This is my first time teaching lessons, so I am looking for a book that could help me. I have been riding for a while and I feel I am capable of teaching, I just think it would be good if I could read something to make sure I am not missing anything.

    If not a book, do you know of any sites that have good info?

    Do any of you have any advice?

    Thanks
     
  2. Amyable

    Amyable Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  3. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    There are a lot of good books on teaching riding to children. Check out Borders or amazon or B&N.

    The trick is to not get too detailed or use 'horsey jargon' that a kid wouldn't understand. The trick is to 'teach what the kid can learn' at that age. I've sat and winced through many a lesson where the kid was sitting on the pony with the completely 'HUH?' expression while the instructor rattled on about some pretty complicated concept in riding!

    They often don't understand what 'SIT UP!' means....I had a teacher that screamed that at me for months and I never COULD figure out what she meant! How seriously can you 'sit' more 'up'???!!! She MEANT 'make your back straight instead of curved, stretch yourself UP as if you are reaching for the stars without reaching with your hands. 'Push your belly forward' helps, LOL.

    Lots of times it's easier to take the child's hand or leg or foot and hold it in position, and let the kid FEEL what you mean.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Sorry, the only (and best) advice I can give is a) make reeeaalllll sure you've thought through the liability/insurance aspects of this, even if the kid is a relative (insurance companies can do whatever they want...); and b) if you have to ask, IME it typically means that maybe it is not such a good idea. (As opposed to having worked under a good instructor for long enough, as student or working-student or assistant, that you can use what they do as a basic template, gradually making it your own as time goes by)

    If you're bound and determined to do it anyhow, then

    a) back to the liability/insurance thing, really really, THINK about it... remembering it is not always the person's own choice whether to sue or not (unless the laws have changed a whole lot since I moved away 8 yrs ago)...

    b) start by ensuring that the horse is totally suitable and the tack correctly fitted to both horse and rider

    c) rider needs to be wearing well-fitted hard hat and some kind of shoes with heels, also preferably something on their lower legs that will not cause rubs (you can bandage over jeans with a track bandage if necessary)

    d) start by teaching (or testing, if this is not a total novice) the rider the ability to lead the horse on the ground including turning and stopping; then do mounting AND DISMOUNTING before proceeding to any kind of actual riding lessons. Use a mounting block, like a SAFE SECURE one. And when dismounting, insist they kick BOTH feet free of the stirrups as soon as they get ready to dismount -- none of this 'throw right leg over the horse's back and *then* drop the left stirrup".

    e) teach only, and I really do mean ONLY, in a smallish, safely-fenced, un-junky area with decent footing, where there will not be sudden excitements like kids barrelling around the corner of the barn on motorbikes or dogs racing by. By safely fenced I mean you should ask yourself, if the horse (no matter how calm you are sure he is) should bolt and stop short, dumping the rider headfirst or at an angle into the fence, is the rider going to get tangled in wire or impaled on a t-post.

    f) if the horse is questionable, or the tack not fitted correctly to him or to the rider, or if an appropriate ring (as per above) is not available, DO NOT AGREE TO DO THE LESSONS. I speak from both experience and observation of other peoples' experience when I say that you have no idea how much can go how wrong and with what consequences.

    g) some people will say you should always start a beginner on the longe line. I'm less convinced of this but if it is a REALLY quiet horse and quiet area, and the rider has a poor natural seat and needs to be able to concentrate on that before they can deal with actually guiding the horse, then a longe line (or leadrope as you walk along) is useful.

    Beyond that, if it's a beginner you can do the standard steering exercises at a walk with cones and objects on fenceposts and such; and jog along going 'up down up down' when they're ready to trot; and all the usual stuff. You're not going to get from a BOOK, though, how to do this safely, or how to judge when it is time (versus premature) to up the ante, or how to give useful rather than counterproductive advice/corrections/help, or how to keep the rider's interest. It's a mileage thing, and I really honestly believe you have to have a strong imprint in your head of someone who was good at it, to be able to get off to a strong start yourself (at teaching).

    Good luck, have fun, think carefully about this,

    Pat
     
  5. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Becoming an Effective Rider by Cherry Hill

    2nd Pat on the liability insurance. Also have parents sign waivers and provide helmet and boots if needed.
     
  6. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Pat is really really really really really right about the insurance and safety issues. I just assumed, wrongly, that anyone would already have all that taken care of.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  7. kbarrett

    kbarrett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I spent a few years giving beginner lessons at an eventing barn. My students ranged from young children to adults. Raw beginners were started out doing lunge line lessons. I really liked this concept as it gave a new rider a chance to become accustomed to the movement of being on a horse/ pony and focus on balance exercises and body position. Because the instructor controls direction and speed there is a bit less to worry about at first. Once students were comfortable with stretching exercises at walk/trot and learned the basic body position they were introduced to steering. I have to say it's much easier to teach the concept of soft hands to a beginner who's had that seat time and doesn't try to use the reins to maintain their balance. Of course you need a horse/ pony that is well versed in lunging and just as important an instructor and horse that work well together.
     
  8. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    The only problem with longeing beginners is that somewhat inevitable sliding off to the outside.

    'Didn't I just put you up on that horse?'
     
  9. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What Pat said.
    And lungeline or lead line (I hope you're good at walking backwards) don't give a child the reins for the first few rides.
    Children can not seem to help balancing themselves on the reins. Your horse's mouth doesn't deserve that and it is a very hard, nasty habit to break.
    Also, children are far more likely to actually Pay Attention to what you are saying and how they are sitting if they don't have to worry/think about/enjoy/have a power trip over controlling the horse.
     
  10. TajMahalChickens

    TajMahalChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2010
    Sorry for the delay in response. I have been out of town.

    I am going to order Happy Horsemanship for Amazon. Looks like it should help me phrase things to a 3rd grader's level.

    And lungeline or lead line (I hope you're good at walking backwards) don't give a child the reins for the first few rides.
    Children can not seem to help balancing themselves on the reins. Your horse's mouth doesn't deserve that and it is a very hard, nasty habit to break.
    Also, children are far more likely to actually Pay Attention to what you are saying and how they are sitting if they don't have to worry/think about/enjoy/have a power trip over controlling the horse.

    That is exactly what I am doing. She hasn't touched the reins yet. We are just doing lunge line work.

    b) if you have to ask, IME it typically means that maybe it is not such a good idea. (As opposed to having worked under a good instructor for long enough, as student or working-student or assistant, that you can use what they do as a basic template, gradually making it your own as time goes by)

    Ok, Ok, I see where you are coming from. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything/ get any tips that others have experienced. And again, that could be interpreted as being inexperienced. So be it

    The trick is to not get too detailed or use 'horsey jargon' that a kid wouldn't understand. The trick is to 'teach what the kid can learn' at that age. I've sat and winced through many a lesson where the kid was sitting on the pony with the completely 'HUH?' expression while the instructor rattled on about some pretty complicated concept in riding!

    Good point. I learned that myself when I told her to sink her seat. She looked at me blankly. That's when I had to remind myslef that she is a begining 3rd grader and I need to keep it simple!

    Thanks everyone​
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010

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