How long to learn to feel the horse.
   

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How long to learn to feel the horse.

This is a discussion on How long to learn to feel the horse. within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Riding horses, learning to feel

 
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    07-28-2009, 09:42 PM
  #1
Foal
How long to learn to feel the horse.

I know the answer to this is highly individualized based on who you are. But, I thought I ask anyway. I started riding last Sept at a local barn. I am 54 yrs old and am making progress.

My questions is how long do you think it takes before you can really begin to feel what the horse is doing underneath you. I can see and feel major changes the horse makes, but I am often not aware that the horse has dropped its shoulder, what lead its on, whether the horse is collected, etc. And I can't always tell if I'm on the right diagonal although that is getting better. My trainer can feel almost everything the horse is doing. Are there things I can do to increase my ability to feel or perceive whats happening below me?
     
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    07-28-2009, 10:03 PM
  #2
Super Moderator
What worked for me in the past was that my trainer would tell me each thing the horse was doing like if it had dropped it's shoulder she'd say so, if it was collected she'd say so etc and eventually I learned what those terms meant.
I've kind of forgotten what most of those terms feel like anymore but I'm sure I could figure them out again if I started riding with a trainer again.

Good luck! It'll come in time.
     
    07-28-2009, 10:48 PM
  #3
Foal
Thanks, I'll ask her to do more of that.
     
    07-29-2009, 04:37 AM
  #4
Started
Some of us never get it - but what you will get is a feeling of when it is going right and when something is wrong.

To help you, when the instructor is there get a third party to video with the sound on. Then view it at home.

But the key thing about feel is that you feel at one with the horse
B G
     
    07-29-2009, 05:29 AM
  #5
Weanling
It is one of those things that comes solely with experience and time in the saddle with a good trainer. You won't know from the very beginning what your doing wrong but with time these things will become pretty natural.
     
    07-29-2009, 06:41 AM
  #6
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
Some of us never get it - but what you will get is a feeling of when it is going right and when something is wrong.

To help you, when the instructor is there get a third party to video with the sound on. Then view it at home.

But the key thing about feel is that you feel at one with the horse
B G
I agree with Barry about this. Some people never really find the sensitivity to feel all the changes your horse is making. This is not to say that you will never be a great rider.

The amount of time you spend in the saddle with your instructor telling you when it happened as Wallaby suggested, is very helpful but if you are only riding once a week for an hour, you may never feel it - you need a lot of time and concentration to learn it.

Frankly, I've owned horses for close to 30 years and I ride several times per week. I can feel when a horse is wrong or off, I can even tell you which leg is causing the problem. I can usually tell which diagonal I'm on. I am normally in rhythm at all gaits and can sit most antics a horse puts on but I could not tell you the very finite things a horse is doing at all times and never could.
     
    07-29-2009, 05:45 PM
  #7
Trained
Sometimes it's better to be a little tuned out, particularly if you are the hypochondriac type. We have a few people at my barn who never actually ride their horses because every time they ride, they decide their horse's are a little off here or a little stiff there. It's ridiculous!

If you can ride with your eyes closed, even for a few strides, you will be able to feel the movement better. I highly recommend reading Centered Riding 2. Sally Swift provides some really good visuals for what your horse is doing underneath you.
     
    07-29-2009, 10:27 PM
  #8
Foal
Thanks to all for the input. I'll try all of your suggestions. I will be most excited when I can make the jump to riding more. Right now I'm riding about twice a week, but I want more ! Muchas gracias
     
    07-30-2009, 02:25 AM
  #9
Foal
If you literally want to "feel the horse" better, go bareback! Being in direct contact with the horse allows you to feel his movement infinitely times better than in a saddle.
     
    07-30-2009, 09:06 AM
  #10
Trained
Ha what a good question! I have been riding horses for nearly 12 years, and in full time training in dressage for the past 8 of those and still I don't have the feel or timing required to really call myself a great rider. Yes I can tell leads, straightness, suppleness, what foot is landing when, the degree of collection, etc.. but it is never enough. Riding and the feel of it is a lifetime long journey. Even Edward Gal takes lessons :P

Good luck!
     

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