Originally Posted by highfeather
On another note, one of my biggest challenges is how to afford lessons. We have just retired and live comfortably but are not wealthy. By the time I drive me and the horse to the lesson and back the total is about $100 for gas/tuition, which is a little hard to justify to the hubby. "Can't you just trail ride for free?" I would love to show, but I'm just not sure how to make it all work financially. Any advice? Self teaching through DVDs? Arranging group lessons? Pony Club for middle-aged adults?
Some of the farms around here allow adult students to work off part of the lesson fees by mucking stalls, turning out horses, etc. I've done it a few times and it helps with the overall fitness issues as well. Not sure if that would work for you though, if you are trailering in for lessons.
I've started a few wacky - but cheap - ways to augment my lessons, particularly as I live in a city 45 minutes away from the nearest barn. I got an inexpensive pair of reins on ebay and practice proper hand position by walking my 2 dogs with a whip long ways in both hands and each dog on a rein. I think it also helps overall hand dexterity. My neighbors think I am nuts, but my dogs are wonderfully patient and just ignore my "cues". Additionally, I got a wooden saddle stand and a cheap saddle off Craigslist to practice my seat, posting and 2 point at home. This is a great way to try some of the exercises in books (e.g. Centered Riding) in a saddle. I purchased some decent leathers and irons for my "fake horse" that I use during lessons so that my stirrup length is consistent.