The Experience of a New Rider in the English Dsicipline
 
 

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The Experience of a New Rider in the English Dsicipline

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        06-07-2014, 12:29 AM
      #1
    Foal
    The Experience of a New Rider in the English Dsicipline

    Last Tuesday I had my first English riding lesson (I had one on Thursday as well and will have one tomorrow). I have had a few official lessons in the Western discipline in past, and sometimes had the rare opportunity to be on a few other horses. So yeah I am a newbie. I have also been lurking on this site for a little while on and off, didn't have anything to post before now.....

    I originally come from a middle size town in the middle of Illinois called Lincoln (20 minutes north of Springfield just for reference). Most of the large animals around there are cows, although it is not uncommon to see horses. My grandmother owns an old farm that had horses in the 70's but horses don't make money at all in my area so she raised cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, a goat, and at some point turkeys until 5 years ago when my step-father died and none of my uncles wanted to put all the work into the animals like my step-dad did. And since my grandmother moved into town five years ago, the place has been vacant. So I thought, since I have always been fascinated by horses, why not try some lessons and see how they are? If I really like them then maybe in the future the farm can have some life again if I really take to it and get some serious experience under my belt. (Of course the place is going to need some updating and repair.) So that is a little about me I guess, not sure if anyone was interested in that, but there it is lol. ^^

    I was quite nervous for my first lesson. My only other experience with riding lessons was 10 years ago and it was not a good one in the least bit. I won't go into too much detail, but there were a total of 12 riders that alternated between 6 horses in a 1 hour slot once a week for four weeks. And I was so nervous back then that I allowed my lesson horse to squeeze my leg against the wall a few times (not the horse's fault, I should have been more directive with it). Thus, you can get an idea of the anxiety before my first English lesson. This time around though I am doing a 30 minute private lesson. A lot better I can tell you!

    They put me on an Chestnut thoroughbred named Remmy who is very calm, forgiving, and a little lazy according to my riding instructor. Perfect horse to learn on, because I have a lot to learn. The first lesson I understood why balance is important in the English discipline. Going from a little experience in Western to English it was quite the shock. Walking was not too bad, but it was when I started trotting that my inexperience really showed. For the first time I began the process of learning how to post. The good news is that I am good at keeping my upper body straight and under control and my balance was not as bad as I thought. But I was confused with my lower body and timing, thus when I first started posting I was a mess.

    My instructor had me do the 2 point exercise (I think that is what it is called) and then had me post with Remmy walking. After that, I began a slow trot. Remmy would not be trotting for long. At first I was bouncing and not posting, and every time I would start to bounce, Remmy would go back to walking (which I liked because that was a good indication I was doing something wrong). It took a few tries, but I started to get what posting was actually about and improved my timing. A few times I was even doing it correctly for a couple of minutes, but would then lose it and go back to bouncing. As well I was not very good a steering while trotting. Thus Remmy cut corners like no other. And (no not done) I lost my balance and launched myself into his shoulders four times because I wasn't keeping my heels down. Oh and my feet were a mess, had a mind of their own and all..... But I did get better throughout the lesson, so I am fine with how my first lesson went. (Not sure if that is a good first lesson or not, but it was mine nonetheless).

    My second lesson went much better. I had much more control over my legs and balance. Thus I trotted more accurately for a longer period of time (sorry I don't have a time period, but I was so concentrated on riding that I wasn't keeping track. All of my improvements were noted to me by my instructor and I could feel it riding). My balance was getting better, I only launched myself into Remmy shoulders once this time. And any time I felt myself going forward too much when posting I reminded myself to keep my heels down the next time. My steering improved, but not as much as I wanted. I just had so much to focus on, I tend to forget to concentrate one giving good direction to Remmy. I trotted most of time (not perfectly but with a vast improvement from my first lesson), and my goal for tomorrow (Saturday) is to continue to work on my balance, legs, and steering, but to focus on my feet so they will join the rest of my body and not have a mind of their own. Lol

    I am finding myself having a good time and loving every minute of it. I am looking forward to what is to come. I will probably update this thread from time to time with updates.

    Thanks for reading ^.^
         
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        06-07-2014, 01:15 AM
      #2
    Super Moderator
    God Bless good school horses like Remmy. Some horses would not put up with that unbalanced riding.

    But, it sounds like you are doing just fine, and progressing along a very typical trajectory. Good luck and have fun!
         
        06-07-2014, 02:25 AM
      #3
    Weanling
    You said that you're not very good at steering while trying to learn to post. It's not uncommon. Why don't you ask your riding instructor if they could lunge the horse while you're posting, so you can work on yourself first? It's always best to focus on one half of your body at a time, then get nit-picky with heels, calves, thigh, etc. I focused on the lower half (legs), then progressed to the upper half. Hands came last, and my reins were always loose, so I didn't balance on my hands. Lots of instructors like to teach people "all at once", and it's overwhelming, to say the least!

    I had a friend that said it only took her 2 weeks to learn to post correctly. It took me months to really post well, in a controlled manner. Don't despair if you aren't learning fast enough. Everyone has their own pace. I'd recommend writing all of this down in a riding journal, so you can look back and see what you were feeling while learning to post! It really helps!
         
        06-07-2014, 02:32 AM
      #4
    Foal
    Yay! Sounds like you're having a great time! keep us updated, it's nice to have a record of your progress too.
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    boots likes this.
         
        06-07-2014, 09:50 AM
      #5
    Green Broke
    Good for you! Have fun and enjoy!
         
        06-07-2014, 10:21 AM
      #6
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RoseRed    
    I originally come from a middle size town in the middle of Illinois called Lincoln (20 minutes north of Springfield just for reference)....
    They put me on an Chestnut thoroughbred named Remmy who is very calm, forgiving, and a little lazy according to my riding instructor. Perfect horse to learn on, because I have a lot to learn.
    My instructor had me do the 2 point exercise (I think that is what it is called) and then had me post with Remmy walking.
    I live 2 1/2 hours from Lincoln, IL in Champaign County. Glad to know that you found a good instructor who is using safe lesson horses!
    Your seat, or how hold your body and balance on the horses is the most important part of riding. Unfortunately many Western saddles create and teach a "chair seat" which teaches you to brace against the stirrups and you do not have balance. Think of the Remington bronze on the American Indian with his legs long and feet dangling. This is how the English saddle MAKES you sit on a horse. Take the Indian's feet and make the toes go up and he is sitting with shoulder-hip-heel in a perpendicular line from the ground.
    It takes way too many hours to teach your body to sit deep and balanced on the horse, but there are some short cuts. One of them is to ride the horse in a saddle without stirrups at the walk, for an hour every day. (You don't remove the stirrups)--
    Riding Without Stirrups
    https://www.google.com/search?q=cros...on%3B900%3B601
    You pull the buckle of the leathers down 1/2-way, then cross them in front of the pommel.
    This teaches you to move with the horse and to sit deeply and not rely on stirrups to keep you up there, but it is not a crash course, like sitting and posting the trot without your stirrups. You are unlikely to lose your balance and fall from a calm school horse moving at the walk.
    This also teaches you to stop balancing any of your weight on the horses mouth. You'll wear out your "brakes" this way, and we know how this ends up with a car. =b
    Another thing, most new riders sit with their shoulders too far forward. Try leaning back, like the girl in the picture. I am sure your teacher will notice bc this is correct for sitting the walk and the sitting trot and REALLY balances you.
    Congratulations on your return to the horse world. Keep us updated! =D
         
        06-07-2014, 02:28 PM
      #7
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corporal    
    I live 2 1/2 hours from Lincoln, IL in Champaign County. Glad to know that you found a good instructor who is using safe lesson horses!
    Your seat, or how hold your body and balance on the horses is the most important part of riding. Unfortunately many Western saddles create and teach a "chair seat" which teaches you to brace against the stirrups and you do not have balance. Think of the Remington bronze on the American Indian with his legs long and feet dangling. This is how the English saddle MAKES you sit on a horse. Take the Indian's feet and make the toes go up and he is sitting with shoulder-hip-heel in a perpendicular line from the ground.
    It takes way too many hours to teach your body to sit deep and balanced on the horse, but there are some short cuts. One of them is to ride the horse in a saddle without stirrups at the walk, for an hour every day. (You don't remove the stirrups)--
    Riding Without Stirrups
    https://www.google.com/search?q=cros...on%3B900%3B601
    You pull the buckle of the leathers down 1/2-way, then cross them in front of the pommel.
    This teaches you to move with the horse and to sit deeply and not rely on stirrups to keep you up there, but it is not a crash course, like sitting and posting the trot without your stirrups. You are unlikely to lose your balance and fall from a calm school horse moving at the walk.
    This also teaches you to stop balancing any of your weight on the horses mouth. You'll wear out your "brakes" this way, and we know how this ends up with a car. =b
    Another thing, most new riders sit with their shoulders too far forward. Try leaning back, like the girl in the picture. I am sure your teacher will notice bc this is correct for sitting the walk and the sitting trot and REALLY balances you.
    Congratulations on your return to the horse world. Keep us updated! =D
    Actually my instructor had me do the ditching of the stirrups. :)
         
        06-07-2014, 02:30 PM
      #8
    Foal
    Thanks for the kind words and advice. I'm the type of person that I always believe I am going too slow no matter what people say. According to my instructor I improved although I didn't get any sleep last night so I wasn't into the lesson physically or mentally 100%, just couldn't sleep. She had me weave Remmy between cones, which I was able to do, I thought I was going to knock them over ha ha.

    Got to go to work and then sleep.....
         
        06-19-2014, 11:23 PM
      #9
    Foal
    So have some updates. I was doing very well on Remmy. I had huge improvements on my posting and trotting, even getting the correct diagonal according to my instructor. Sometimes I would be able to fix it on my own, didn't know I was correcting the diagonal, just something felt off. We were doing poles and weaving through cones very well (apparently my instructor was shocked on how well). Last Saturday I asked to try a different horse, one that was a little more energetic than Remmy (still a lesson horse obviously). I had 6 lessons with Remmy.

    Unfortunately that came last Wednesday after all day of volunteering at horse summer camp (I have been doing that all week and having a blast) and I was quite tired by the time my lesson came around (as was my new horse Buster who was one of the horses in the camp). Buster is known to have a bumpy ride, but is more energetic (usually). Wednesday's lesson was a disaster, was having a real difficult time getting transitioning to him, I went from being praised during the lesson, to not being able to do anything right. Was disheartening to say the least :(. Confidence took quite a dive. But I was determined to redeem myself during today's lesson.

    That did not happen. I was exhausted all day. But that was not what distracted me during today's lesson. My instructor decided that I should have a fresh horse instead of one used during the camp. So I was supposed to get Tiamo. When I was leading Taimo from his barn into the arena, I noticed he started to try leaning on me and his step seemed to be off. I didn't want to stop him in the middle of the driving area of the property so I kept leading him to the arena (very close to his barn). When I got in there it was obvious he was severely limping on his left foreleg. So I called my instructor over and she had another girl and me take Taimo back into his stall (untack him obviously), and I got Buster out. I did better this lesson, but my heart wasn't in it. I was tired and I was feeling guilty about Taimo limping on my watch and I was (and still am) worried about him. :(. Not a good week in general.

    I don't know who I am getting Sunday. The worst thing my instructor can do is put me back on Remmy, I would take that as I failed. I'm the sort of person that needs to keep fighting. If I get Buster back, I am going to have to spend more time working on my posting at this trot around the arena and not spend time having fun going over poles and weaving through cones.

    I will be volunteering again tomorrow so I will be able to check on Tiamo and see how he is doing. Hope he is getting better.
         
        06-19-2014, 11:42 PM
      #10
    Super Moderator
    Lots of ups and downs in riding. They don't always have a deep meaning, just the way things are for that day. Try to go with the flow, if you can.
         

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