Problems with a Lesson Pony

Baymule

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Family camping and riding like @promiseacres and her family does is building memories her kids will treasure all their lives. Some parks have riding trails, check around.

You are right, horses are a hole in your pocket that you dump money into. I’m at the point of having 2 retired old seniors, age 30 and 32 years old. They will live out their years until age and illness take them away. But somewhere along the way, riding someone else’s horse once a week just may not be enough. For me, it’s not just the riding, it’s the whole experience. It’s the care, the interaction, they are my friends. We have 2 younger horses as well. Yeah, I am afflicted. LOL
 

thistlebloom

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What Bay said. There is nothing, nothing, that compares to having your horse on your property and available around the clock for companionship. You develop a bond and a relationship. And I second the comment she made about it not just being about the riding, they are there to listen to your joys and and your grief. There is something about leaning into a horses neck and shedding tears that can comfort as much as a good human friend.

I used to lay on my horse and read a good book, elbows propped on his rump. These days I love to sit in a chair and listen to them eat their hay while I have a cup of coffee.
 

High Desert Cowboy

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I have two other questions, especially for those who have either provided lessons/training or have taken lessons:

What condition do you expect the shared/lesson tack to be in? One thing that has consistently bothered me about this barn is that much of the tack is simply a mess. Rusted buckles, mismatched stirrup leathers, and extremely worn saddles are pretty much the norm. I certainly wouldn’t expect the most beautiful gear to be used for lessons, but this stuff is pretty bad! What bothers me most is that the other week, as I was tightening a saddle, the very worn and badly stretched billet strap simply snapped. I couldn’t even use that saddle then because the third billet strap on that side had been previously broken and not replaced, yet the saddle had remained in use unrepaired. Aesthetics aside, such badly worn tack is obviously dangerous. (Granted, that particular saddle is worse than most.) Surely the trainer/owner has a duty to ensure that the tack is serviceable and safe!?

Also, how would you all suggest that a trainer approaches/trains children? What activities might a trainer incorporate into lessons to make them enjoyable for kids? As an adult, I really appreciate that this trainer insists on excellent form while riding. I have no problem at all being told, “That was sloppy. Do it again.” My children, however, are being bored to tears with lessons. (The kids are ages 7 & 10.) My son has taken to saying that he “hates horses” and that he never wants to ride again. (However, he has said he would be willing to try with a new teacher.) Even my horse-crazy daughter has become considerably less enthusiastic about them. Certainly proper form is important, and working with horses isn’t always fun and games, but surely a trainer can find a way to incorporate some sort of fun into a lesson, at least occasionally?
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Sorry for the delayed response. In regards to shared tack, I would say that it needs to be in perfect working order. It doesn’t need to be pretty, but all your straps and buckles need to be in good condition free of tears, rust, or signs of weakening. Is the under wool complete, with no thin spots from wear?. Saddle pads adequate for the comfort of the animals? My half Arab has wethers so high I have to put a specific pad on him to keep the gullet from rubbing on the top of his wethers. From the sounds of the equipment you’re seeing I’d even question if the saddle tree was ok! When I did my own lessons it was always one on one so my life was easy I only needed a couple saddles. I also worked for an outfit where we had 80+ saddles and 70+ horses and every piece of tack was in pristine working condition. It had to work for the horse and the rider. I watched a guy riding ranch broncs go for quite a ride when his latigo snapped because he hadn’t checked his personal equipment’s condition before hand.
Training kids can be difficult, because in all honesty it’s boring for them. When I first tried with my son at 4 years old he would get bored after 10 minutes and want to be done. He had a little motorcycle that could go fast and he loved that, the horse was just too slow. Now at 10 he is finally loving to ride and appreciates the opportunity regardless if we’re going fast or slow. To keep them engaged at the beginning I’d recommend some sort of obstacle course that allows them to practice their horsemanship. Pole bending and barrels are something that don’t have to be done at full speed, and it’s a change from the endless riding in a circle you normally get from lessons in an arena. It gives them something to focus on as well, which makes a huge difference in developing horsemanship. But you gotta walk before you can run.
 

Kotori

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Instead of lessons, have you considered leasing a horse? Not all places offer it, but if you can find one that might be better. pay $xx a month and get unlimited rides. full lease tends to be 5-6 days a week, half lease is ~3 days a week. probably cheaper than three lessons a week, and there would be not pressure on the kids. downside is that you would have to take turns.
 

LMK17

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Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone! When I initally posted, I knew what direction I wanted to go but was still struggling with it. You all helped me hop down off the fence and get going.

We’ve moved on with a new trainer as of last week. To say it’s a better fit would be an understatement. My son (very, very begrudgingly) gave it a try. At the start of the lesson, he was scowling and literally told the trainer that he just wanted to get the lesson over with and go home. :oops: I was sure she was going to pull me aside and tell me it just wouldn’t work out. BUT she was fantastic with him, didn’t let his bad attitude get under her skin, and by the end of the lesson he was smiling and having a great time! Later in the car, he told me he was thrilled to have found the new barn and really, really wants to give riding another try! :celebrate My daughter and I really like the new place, too.

We’re going to try a couple months of lessons at this new place before seriously considering moving up to horses of our own. (I think we have some gaps in our knowlege that I’d like to fill first.). I’m not sure when that time will come, but again, you’d all given me some food for thought.
 

Baymule

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That makes me very, very happy for you and your kids. What better place to come for a good discussion than right here with your friends on BYH? I am delighted that y’all are in a better place and that things are going so well.
 
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