I trust my instructors but a second opinion can always help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 10-07-2010, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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I trust my instructors but a second opinion can always help

Hi, I've been taking lessons in English riding for almost a year now and have 2 questions:
1. Every time I ask when I can learn to canter I'm told I'm not ready for it. However I've been trotting for a while, and all the instructors say I'm doing good. I'm mainly practicing diagonals now. Whenever I tell people I haven't cantered yet they all are surprised and can't believe it. The instructors say I have be able to ride outside of the stirrups. My father-in-law, who was a jockey years ago (he's 88 now) says "baloney, just tell them you want to canter". I realize just because he's a good horseman doesn't mean he knows anything about teaching. Opinions?? Do I have to wait?
2. I don't own a horse and take lessons with the stable horses. As I'm 57 yrs old and overweight (230 lbs) I was told the saddles they use are too small for me and I would do better with a bigger saddle. Most of the students are teenaged girls. The person who told me that runs the tack shop on premises so he might just be saying it to make a sale. Opinions? Would a bigger saddle really help. I'm tired of getting 4th and 5th place ribbons!! (LOL)
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-07-2010, 07:01 PM
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You should have cantered by now. I dont know about the saddle but that's a lot of weight on a horses back.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-07-2010, 07:16 PM
Green Broke
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Some coaches are firm believers in making sure that every new student they have has the basics down pat before moving up. It is actually nice to hear that you werent jumping within the first two months of riding. Can you sit to a trot? Can you post on the correct diagonal every time without looking? Ask your coaches why they think you are not ready. If they go by the criteria that you must be able to do no stirrup work, then start increasing the amount of time that you ride without stirrups in your lessons. Start with once around the arena posting trot-no stirrups....then continue adding laps. It isnt easy when you ride once a week...trust me! lol. When you are comfortable with several laps of posting, then try staying in your two point-no stirrups for a lap. Change it up. One of my coaches has us do the following with no stirrups in the warmup....2 laps each of posting, sitting and two-point. Part of it might be you having to prove to them that you are ready.

Having a properly fitted saddle to the horse and then to you might actually help improve your position. It is more important that the saddle fit the horse, but it does help to have one that fits you both.

Good luck!

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-07-2010, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I guess I'm too anxious to canter. I do trust my instructors' judgement. I guess I don't always post to the right diagonal without looking every time but that's what I'm practicing now.
I wish I could ride more than once a week and really should. I wish I could own but here on Long Island the boarding rents are outrageous, the lowest arount is $800/month. And that's not including shoes, vets, etc. I'm thinking of leasing even though that's high too.
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-07-2010, 08:47 PM
Green Broke
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What about taking 2 lessons a week? Or maybe through in a private lesson occasionally for some one on one coaching. I did the math for what my barn charges and it is cheaper to take 2 lessons a month then to co-board( first dibs on horse to show, 1 lesson a week for a month, 3 rides a week). Then look at the amount of spare time that you have and see what fits your lifestyle right now.

It sounds like your coaches are right for having you wait to canter. There is nothing to be anxious about though! You could always ask them to put you on a lunge line for the first time so that you dont have to worry about steering, but just work on your seat and leg position.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-08-2010, 01:07 AM
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It's hard to say if it is too soon without seeing for ourselves :) Sure does sound like a long time and you deserve a thoughtful explanation as to what steps you need to take to get there and what they want you to improve on first.

It's also hard to talk about saddle size without seeing a photo of you in it or knowing what size saddle you are riding in. :( Photos may help!

Since you are only riding once a week you may want to do some stretches / exercises to improve your strength between lessons. Exercise for Horseback Riding - Horse Riding Fitness

Good luck :)

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post #7 of 9 Old 10-08-2010, 01:45 AM
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My instructor had me loping on my second lesson. I believe after a year you should be experienced enough to lope.

No hour of life is wasted when spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-08-2010, 03:50 AM
Green Broke
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Just a question about the saddle that you ride in....when you sit in it, could you place 3-4 fingers between your butt and the edge of the cantle?

Honestly, most riding schools are geared towards younger kids and teens so the saddles wont always fit an adult butt. My riding school has saddles to fit the horses, not the kids....so there are a few kids who look pretty funny in the 17/17.5" saddle....but it fits the horse. Check this next time you are out for a lesson.

Go with your gut instinct....trust your coaches. If you are anxious even thinking about cantering, then you may not be ready for it. Think about how much better your leg position will be when you are ready to canter then someone who cantered in their second lesson. You will have a much more solid foundation to work with.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows. --Epictetus
VelvetsAB is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 10-08-2010, 12:33 PM
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Correct size saddle DOES help! I was riding in 16.5 County last month (because instructor is small and I used her saddle). I'm 5'8" and my own saddle is 18 (it's not even about seat size, but length of the legs). The difference in my seat and how I rode the gaits was pretty dramatic.

You can look into lease or partial lease. I know around here people partially lease for $150/month (3 rides/week or so).
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