Question of the Month: How long are Giant Steps’ classes and what is the structure of a lesson?

Answer: Before each term starts, instructors work with riders and their caregivers to set goals. Each lesson has a plan that is tailored by the instructor to work on objectives related to achieving those goals. Lessons are scheduled for one hour, which includes 45 minutes of riding time. The other 15 minutes are needed for changing horses between classes and mounting and dismounting, which are taught as riding skills (beneficial associated skills include balance, coordination, right vs left declination, and following multi-step sequential directions). Once mounted, riders have some time to warm up their bodies as well as their horses, and then the content of the lesson begins. Instructors provide a structured warm-up during which both riders’ and horses’ brains and bodies are prepared for the riding skill to be taught in the lesson. Next the riding skill is introduced to the class, and riders are given time to practice. If riders are up for it, a challenge skill is offered (for example, completing the same riding skill, but off-lead, for longer, more often etc). Finally riders complete a cool down and dismount their horses. If you have any questions about goals, riding skills, or lesson plans, please speak to your riding instructor.