Riding a little.... then watching others ride.... then talking about the ride..... then riding some more...... what a great experience for both older and younger horses. Working, then just hanging out, then working again is especially good for the younger guys!
I love to just sit on a horse when I teach because they start to really relax. Maybe I demonstrate something here and there but the horse doesn't get a chance to wind up and worry. And, it sure helps with those horses that get sullen when put back to work.
Riders benefit greatly from helping each other so I also love to have my students demonstrate skills they and their horses excel at during a group lesson. What a confidence builder! Students can really learn from each other and it can start valuable conversations about horsemanship and training. It makes everybody think about what they are learning.
Now, I'm not talking about big group lessons with everybody just riding on the rail and doing the same thing. My concept works best with 3 or 4 riders, including the trainer. I like to have riders and horses at different levels in the group, for instance, an intermediate with an advanced and very advanced students.
I always work with my people one-on-one even during those group lessons so there are nice breaks for everyone in between. This simulates shows - the "hurry-up and wait" when you have classes that are scheduled so close that there's just not time to go back to a stall or, the wait between Trail classes. Another really good thing about this is how it removes the temptation for students to either override their horse or just get off (be done) too quickly - it's just not there because they're watching, learning and then maybe demonstrating something themselves. It keeps everyone fresh.
Also, horses benefit from riding and just hanging out with other ridden horses. When they go to their first show, these guys just don't care about the line up at the end of the class. If they get crowded a little, well it's ok it's a lot like like hanging out at home. Again, this all goes back to your horse having good social skills and being confident working and waiting around other ridden horses. Hope this helps you! Talk to you next week, JD.