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Andrew Stennett

How to Get the Most Out of Your Riding Lesson.

Andrew Stennett

British Equestrian Federation Elite Recreational Coach, Andrew Stennett, provides advice on how to get the most from your riding lesson.

When you spend all week looking forward to your riding lesson you want to make sure you make the most of every minute in the saddle.

Like most sports, horse riding is an activity that requires practice to master but for those that don't own their own horse or are a beginner just learning to ride, a lot needs to be condensed into your hour long lesson.

Andrew Stennett from Grove House Stables, in Misterton, teaches riders of all abilities. Here he offers some top tips on how to ensure that your confidence and riding ability grows with every lesson.

Ahead of any lesson, particularly a private lesson it is important to have an open dialogue about what your short and long term riding goals are. This might be to learn how to canter if you have only just started riding or to aim for your first competition.

"Talk to your instructor about your goals, so they can plan out your lessons and monitor your development. If you feel unable to communicate in this way, it is time to change your instructor, find someone that you are comfortable with, who you can be honest with, especially when things are not quite going to plan," said Andrew.

During the lesson, listen to your instructor and if you don't understand their instructions, speak up and ask. Riding instructors can use a lot of technical jargon that novice riders can find difficult to comprehend. After all, how is someone that has never ridden before supposed to recognise that 'change the rein' means go in the other direction?

All instructors have their own style of teaching so be open-minded to new suggestions that might be slightly different from traditional teaching methods, they might have discovered a tried and tested formula that helps riders easily understand particular elements of learning to ride.

"It is so important to think positive and believe you can do it, horses are not psychic but they do feed off people's emotions and tend to know if you are feeling nervous. Try to give it your best effort and don't be a passenger, especially in a group lesson. Being asked to work independently within a group  provides an ideal opportunity to see how effective you are as a rider," added Andrew. 

Andrew Stennett

At the end of each session, spend a couple of minutes summarising what has been achieved and what your aims are for the next lesson. As is the case whenever you are learning anything new, you will have good days and bad days, and it is just as important to evaluate what went wrong as it is what went right.

On a lighter note, Andrew also advises that riders turn up at the right time and on the right day for their lesson and to remember that horses are not machines and they do not always conform to the book, as they haven't yet learnt how to read!

Whether you choose to participate in a private lesson or enjoy a group lesson, by following these simple tips you will be a budding Mary King or John Whitaker in no time.

For further information please contact Grove House Stables on 01427 890802, 'Like' our Facebook page or visit

Interview sourced from