Figuring out which level I'm at

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Figuring out which level I'm at

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    03-03-2012, 01:21 AM
Figuring out which level I'm at

Hello all!

I've visited this forum for a long time, but this is my first time registering/posting LOTS of really helpful discussions, suggestions, and input on here; so thanks very much to all of you for all your 'work' on here

After taking three years off from horses to focus on and finish school, I'm ready to get back into riding, finally! Very excited. This May I'm going to start back in lessons and hopefully once I get things back together, I'll start leasing again in the fall or winter and really start putting in good riding time. But my curiosity is getting the best of me; I have absolutely no idea which 'level' I would be at (or, rather, which level I left off at.) I've a private lesson scheduled with an instructor so she can see me ride before placing me with someone for semi-private lessons, but I'm curios to see what people might say on here, so here's a bit of a timeline for you:

1.) When I was about...9 (I'm nearly 24 now), I started riding and doing volunteer work at a barn. It was dressage focused, but we did some hunt-seat exercises and things as well, to keep rounded and understand the difference between the two. I rode for about five years.

2.) Money ran short around then and my grades in school dropped as well, so I had to stop riding for a while.

3.) A few years went by (so, I was 17 at this point), then out of desire to do anything to be around horses I got in contact with a parents old friend and started grooming at a thoroughbred racetrack. She was a 'pony girl' and all of her horses were OTTB. In the winters I'd help her take care of them and exercise them, and that was quite a change from the dressage-ish training I'd had previously. Eventually I started exercising a few thoroughbreds for a few trainers at the track when others couldn't do it.

4.) I started college and the track was much too far away/the income not stable enough to be practical anymore, so I couldn't make the trekk out there any longer. Cue another while away from horses.

5.) When I was 20-21 then, I started hunter-jumper private lessons over the summer with a really fantastic trainer, and also started leasing a lovely horse. This went on for a full year before the horse's owner sold the barn and moved, and the trainer started doing lessons about an hour and a half away from where I was living. I kept at it through fall semester and winter break, but it was extremely difficult to balance riding, work, and school out, and I decided that I just needed to put horses aside and focus on school

So here I am, three years later! I'm sorry this is such a long post....
I know that my strength and balance are going to need some dusting off, absolutely. I'm a jogger/runner, so I have some strength (just not necessarily in the right places!) Here is a list of things I remember how to do (but remembering/knowing how, and actually doing, are obviously two different things):

  • Walk/trot/canter, with and without stirrups.
  • Galloping
  • Posting to the trot, diagonals, with and without stirrups.
  • Flying lead changes
  • 2-point/half seat/jumping position, with and without stirrups.
  • Low jumps (3 feet and under)
  • Leg yielding, half halts, half pass, piaffe, travers / shoulders in.
  • And then those sort of things you learn by feeling; things about stride, engagement, collection, balance, tension, soreness, etc.
That's not to say that I am/was a master of these things by any means. But they were things that I had learned/was learning. One thing I was often told was that I had really good position and quiet legs and hands. But, I had poor sides too; I.e. I was awful at doing flying lead changes, and while I was great at holding a good solid 2-point for a long time, I was awful at holding position / not bouncing around after landing a jump (that frustrated me the most, granted I only spent a mere few months doing small jumps). The only thing I am certain of is that I feel confident in my ability to lead a horse and handle crazy and unexpected situations (something I learned well to deal with while working at the track.)

Now that I have written a short novel....I will shush. I really don't know where to put myself! I feel all over the place =[

And it's nice to meet all of you!
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    03-04-2012, 10:55 AM
Welcome to the Forum!

Three years is not all that long of break. Your biggest problem will be your muscles, so it'll be painful for the first couple lessons, and then will take some time to condition/build them back. But other than that I'm positive you'll remember all you could do. The body has that "muscle memories" it just holds till it's needed.

Let us know how the lessons go!
    03-04-2012, 05:59 PM

You were probably an advanced intermediate rider when you stopped last time. You have a lot of different experiences under your belt.

For a little while you'll be a bit of an advanced beginner... you know what to do it's just making the darn body parts get it right. Don't worry, it'll all come back in time.

With good regular schooling you'll be back in shape in no time... you may want to invest in some liniment (for yourself) and dedicated soaking time in the tub. =) Welcome back to horses.
    03-05-2012, 07:39 PM
Thanks MudPaint and Kitten_Val! I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself, feels like I've been waiting a lifetime to get back into things, haha. I'll keep in mind about the liniment!

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