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Santas_Girl

The Nature of Dressage Lessons

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My dressage instructor will not give anything but private lessons until a rider reaches a pretty advanced level. And, even then she prefers to give private lessons and will not teach more than two students at a time. She likes to be able to devote her full attention to the student and his/her horse. I really appreciate this fact. However, it got me to thinking. Does the nature of learning Dressage lend itself better to an instructor teaching private lessons? Is it common for a dressage instructor to offer private lessons only? When I rode hunter/jumpers, everyone offered group lessons.

Thoughts? [smile]

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I don't like to give them as a group. How can you ride every stride with a student if your attention is divided?

The instructor needs to focus on what's going on just as much or more than the rider she/he is instructing.

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I personally seek out instructors who will give private lessons, even if it is a little more costly. For me, dressage requires extra concentration on my part and if the instructor is busy watching/teaching others, I don't feel like I'm getting the full benefit of the lesson. Like Remmie said, riding every stride requires undivided attention. JMO

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My current instructor won't offer group lessons either. The only time she will teach two people at the same time is if they are a Mother/Daughter or something along those lines. She says she prefers to give her students her undivided attention. That is my preference also!

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quote:

Originally posted by leoned:

my instructor watches me like a hawk...

Ditto. I don't think my trainer blinks. And I really paid the price for that on Saturday. She was all over my case because I just couldn't seem to get my act together. Ah well . . . we can't be perfect everyday!! [Wink]

~Shelly~

[ 09-14-2005, 05:24 PM: Message edited by: smithereens_86 ]

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Because dressage is an art of subtle cues and responses it is very hard to catch everything going on with more than one horse to watch. Unless the riders are at a very elemental level I can't see where it's really possible to give each rider the attention needed in a group setting.

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I don't like my trainer to "ride every stride" because then when I'm on my own I fall apart. I like him to look away and yell at kirsten that she needs a neck brace and turn back to find me making a mistake-- and telling me to correct it.

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I will have to break with the crowd on this one, too...My trainer gives group lessons mainly because there's another trainer with even more horses than she has (my trainer has 30, the other one has about 35) and it's next to impossible to get an arena all to oneself, any day of the week.

However, my trainer must be part housefly as she has eyes all over her head. [Roll Eyes] She doesn't miss much...and I actually prefer to be able to "feel" what she's asking me to do on my own without the pressure of her staring me down. No one, and I mean none of her dressage students, feels like we're getting the short end of any stick. She's just such an awesome trainer, I can't say enough about her or her abilities.

She more than deserves an FEI-level horse to replace the one she had to put down earlier this year, and we're all waiting and watching for her young Oldenburg/Arabian project horse to come into his own. She's looking though... [smile]

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I personally prefer dressage lessons to be private, but I will very often sit in on other rider's lessons to further my understanding.

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Private lessons are great and certainly have their place, but group lessons can be a really good thing, too. Dressage riders .... riders in general, but I hope our dressage riders are learning to be RIDERS, not just followers of instructions .... need to be able to work independently. It certainly is useful sometimes to have an instructor watching your every move, but riders need to be able to work on their own without constant supervision.

During the five years I spent in Europe, I had a lot of private, semi-private and group lessons. My own instructor, a wonderful Grand Prix trainer, would give private and semi-private lessons. (Up to three riders of similar levels.)

The training/instructor school I attended ALWAYS gave lessons in groups of three.

And I took a large number of group lessons. If you have a group of six or eight that are of similar abilities, learning to ride AS A GROUP is an amazing effort of concentration and skill. It also makes accuracy extremely important.

I certainly think private lessons are good ... but riding as a group is very important also.

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I have always had private lessons (that is, until I joined the college team two weeks ago [Razz] ) and I always thought they were better. It's easier to understand the why and the how when the trainer is focused on you and your horse.

I find it much easier to ride by myself then if I "make a tape" of the lesson. I make certain key terms or phrases or concepts "click" word for word in my head, and then I try to memorize the feeling of doing it right and doing it wrong (because I inevitably do it wrong). Then I replay the tape in my next ride.

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