Most riding lessons geared toward beginners aim to teach more than just how to do the actual riding. As your instructor, I want to make sure you learn how to do all the basic things needed to handle and ride a horse on your own... as if I weren't there.
Each riding lesson will introduce basic safety while handling your horse from the ground - not just while mounted. It's also important to learn how to saddle your horse and check your equipment for safety.
Most riding lessons last about an hour so it's reasonable to spend about half of that time actually mounted and riding your horse. At Riding 4 Life a typical lesson can include catching your horse from their pen, tying him at the hitching rail, brushing and saddling your horse, leading your horse to the riding arena, and safely mounting up... all before you are officially riding your horse.
Near the end of your lesson you will also dismount, return to the hitching rail, and untack your horse as well. There is a lot to learn about horses in order to enjoy them safely after all.
Once you are mounted, depending on your balance and physical ability on a horse, it may take several lessons before you are able to ride independently. I often use a longe line to maintain some control of a horse while a new rider practices balancing in the saddle and establishing a stable position at the walk and jog before releasing them to the larger arena. I also make sure a new rider can easily stop and turn their horse on their own.
Horsemanship is one of the most challenging disciplines I have ever participated in so don't be surprised if requires some time and serious effort to feel like you're getting somewhere. The rewards, however, are pretty tremendous.