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.