5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Riding Lessons
As summer comes to an end and shows start to slow down, many students begin to focus on their goals for next years show season. It all starts with getting back to schooling and setting up consistent lessons. As a full time instructor of a successful lesson program of all levels and multiple disciples, I would like to share my 5 top tips for getting the most out of your lessons.
- Be prepared: Being prepared for your lesson is more than just being in the arena and tacked up on time. Make sure tack and equipment is in good shape and fits properly to both you and your horse. Dress for the weather accordingly to make sure you get the most out of your lesson and don’t have to end short because you become too uncomfortable from the heat or the cold. The biggest way you can be prepared is to be mentally focused and free of distractions during your scheduled lesson time.
- Get ready to be challenged and step away from your comfort zone: As an instructor, it's my job to push my students to better their riding and understanding of their discipline. Unique exercises that they may find a little difficult or uncomfortable in the beginning are expected almost every lesson. Those exercises are being asked of them for a specific reason and will help progress their riding or their horses training. Some lessons may feel like a breeze and others may push you out of your comfort zone.
- Let your Instructor know if something is upsetting you: Life is messy and unpredictable. Some days your scheduled lesson may fall on a day where everything seems to be going wrong. Let your instructor know your mindset as you begin your lesson. Lessons can always be tailored. A super tough ride may not be the most productive on a day when you are simply unable to give it your all. And that is OK!
- Stay in touch between lessons: I LOVE hearing from my students between lessons when they are working on their own. Letting me know how an exercise has finally helped them overcome something that has been difficult is the best! It also helps me plan for the next lesson. Some students may need to go over the same exercise a few times or have it shown or explained to them differently.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions: If you don’t understand something, please ask. It is important for riders to understand the ‘why’ in an exercise. ‘Why does it help?’ ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘Why is this beneficial to my horse?’ If you leave a lesson feeling like you don’t fully understand an exercise or how to effectively use your aids, write down your questions to review at the beginning of your next lesson.