Horse Riding Lessons

How to Choose Between Group and Private Horse Riding Lessons

There are two types of horse riding lessons : group and private. But which is better for someone who wants to start learning how to ride a horse?

Group Lessons

Being the cheaper option, group horse riding lessons may seem the best. But this environment doesn’t suit every beginner horse rider.

• It is an advantage being with other riders at your level. You’ll benefit from watching them deal with the same issues you have, and you’ll soon become part of a supportive, close-knit group.

• In group lessons the instructor spends less time on you during the hour than if you were to take private lessons.

This can be an advantage: you get a breather while the trainer works with another student.

The downside is that you make slower progress.

• For many adults, the thought of having an audience watch them struggle during those early stages of riding - especially if they’re not yet particularly fit - can be daunting. Individual horse riding lessons become very appealing in this situation!

Private Lessons

Receiving 100% attention from your trainer means you learn faster than in group lessons.

• Every mistake you make will be corrected immediately, which is a huge plus.

• You’re free to ask questions, as you won’t be taking away from another student’s time.

• The instructor will tailor lessons to your particular needs and you can work with him or her towards specific goals, such as trail riding or taking part in horse riding competitions.

However, being under constant supervision will quickly tire you both physically and mentally, especially during your initial private lessons.

• Group lessons afford you ‘breathing time’ while the instructor concentrates on another student.

• If you choose individual instruction, it’s a good idea to start with half hour sessions and build up to an hour when you’re fitter.

One downside to private lessons is that you don’t get the interaction with other horse riders that you would in group lessons. Part of the fun with horseback riding is getting to make friends with like-minded people.

• If you want to learn fast, but benefit from a group atmosphere, alternate private lessons with the group scenario.

There are pluses and minuses to both lesson styles, but whichever you choose, remember: the important thing is to enjoy the experience of learning to ride!

How to Find a Good Horseback Riding Instructor

Posted on 2010-05-13

Good horse riding lessons are essential to the success of the beginner student, and a good instructor is essential for good lessons. Here’s how to find your ideal horseback riding trainer.

First create a short list of riding schools. For help with this, check The 7 Step Guide to Finding the Perfect Barn For Horseback Riding Beginners.

Then watch a lesson (or several if you can) given by your prospective riding coach, and look for these four qualities.


Does the trainer treat all the students with patience and respect? Is each student given the necessary help, and are all questions answered politely?

Is the instructor’s full attention on the class, with no chatting on the cell phone or with spectators? Are any of the students made to feel small in front of the others?


Is the trainer able to convey instructions clearly, in a manner understandable to everyone in the lesson?

Does each student achieve the desired result when following directions? In other words, is the correct information being given?

Find out what the trainer’s background is – whether he or she is an active competitor in their field and if so, how successful are they? Good horse riding skills usually makes a successful trainer.


How seriously does the instructor take the students? Does he or she appear to care whether each of the pupils in the group makes progress during the lesson?

Find out how long they’ve been taking lessons so you can decide whether this instructor is truly helping them become better riders.

Talk to the instructor after the lessons, and you’ll get a good feel for whether this person will help you achieve your riding goals.


As you watch the lesson, ask yourself how you would feel having this trainer instructing you. Do you like his or her approach? Would you feel comfortable with his or her manner?


A professional and successful rider will charge much more for lessons than a lower level trainer. Find someone who is not too advanced for your riding ability: you don’t need a top level dressage rider to get ready, say, for trail riding.

If you follow these guidelines you will have no trouble finding an instructor who is ideal for you.

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