Lessons...finally! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 03-25-2013, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Lessons...finally!

So this year, I really want to step up my game in the horse world. I want to be ready to start Aires working on English in the next year or so, but I want to have a better idea of what I'm doing before I bring him along. This means lessons for me.

I've never had lessons before. Everything I know about riding is self-taught or based on (verbal) instruction given by a friend I used to work for exercising her horses. I have been told I have a fairly light seat and good hands. I know I don't balance on the reins at the trot, but I honestly haven't cantered enough to know if I balance on the reins then or not. I've posted the trot before, but would not say that I'm adept at it (plus Aires' trot is so smooth that I don't have to post it).

My biggest issue is my confidence. I used to be very confident. When I worked at the Girl Scout horse camp, I was the one to school the horses that were being naughty because I was pretty much fearless. Then two years ago, I was thrown from a fellow boarder's crazy rescue mare (long story) and fractured my ankle. With that one seemingly small incident, my confidence was pretty much shattered. I'm better than I was right after I was thrown. Before, just the thought of riding would send me into a panic attack. Now, I find excuses not to ride. Part of me wants to just go out, saddle up, and ride...but then there's the part that remembers sailing over that mare's shoulder and blacking out as my head hit the ground (stupid me wasn't wearing a helmet)...and I find a reason not to ride, no matter how BS the excuse is. Aires has NEVER given me a reason not to trust him under saddle. My best friend even joked the thee day that she would rather have him on the dude string for trail rides than any other of the horses the BO has. So it isn't him...it's me.

Anyway, I figured that I might as well start looking around for a trainer with a horse (or horses) that I could take lessons on. I only know one person who gives English lessons, but she doesn't have any horses that could accommodate me (as a plus-sized rider). So, not knowing many other horse people in my area, I put an ad on Craigslist last night. I've already gotten three responses, but one of them is a no-go, as I've seen his students at local schooling shows and I didn't like his methods of teaching (he seemed VERY negative), plus he's almost an hour away and with as bad of gas mileage as my car gets...yeah, no. The other two are promising. One referred me to her trainer, who is in my town. I checked out her website and emailed her, so we'll see what her rates are and if she has any horses that I could be comfortable on. Then there's the other lady. She's about twenty minutes away and has offered to give me lessons for free. She has a 16.2hh gelding that she thinks would be perfect for me to learn on. I'm going to see about going out there on Saturday and meeting her and the horse.

So, I guess all of that was to basically say...wish me luck.

Also, are there any questions I should ask when I go to meet the lady who offered the free lessons?
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-26-2013, 08:32 PM
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Good luck!

In regards to the questions, I would maybe ask about her experience, and ask her what her horse is like. Also, see if she has any requirements: Liability waiver, helmet, heeled boots, etc. (I would wear the helmet and boots anyway!)

Otherwise, just take a lesson from her and see if you like it. You will obviously be a good judge on things such as how her horse is cared for, whether it's a safe riding area, etc.
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-26-2013, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to meet her and her horse(s) on Saturday afternoon! She wants me to bring my most comfortable saddle (to start with...which will be my Aussie) to get an idea of my riding level. I'm super excited.

I'm going to wear jeans, my boots (right now I just have my Terrains and my Tombstones, which are both more western, but since I'm going to be using my Aussie saddle, they're fine...I normally ride in my Terrains and half chaps, but that requires leggings/skinny jeans and I don't have any that fit me right now), and my helmet (need to get a new one).
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-26-2013, 09:09 PM
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Wishing you luck.... but you will be FINE!!! I love taking lessons! You know, some of this confidence loss comes with age, when we realize hitting the ground HURTS, and that (like you know) we can get hurt. So it is a fairly normal thing, specially for women, and a riding teacher over 30 should understand. Do NOT feel bad about that!!

Nancy
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-26-2013, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by greentree View Post
Wishing you luck.... but you will be FINE!!! I love taking lessons! You know, some of this confidence loss comes with age, when we realize hitting the ground HURTS, and that (like you know) we can get hurt. So it is a fairly normal thing, specially for women, and a riding teacher over 30 should understand. Do NOT feel bad about that!!

Nancy
Thanks, Nancy. I feel really good about this lady. She follows a lot of Clinton Anderson and I LOVE CA (used a lot of his techniques with Aires and while retraining my old gelding). She also has had an accident several years ago which required surgery and she lost a lot of confidence, so she knows EXACTLY what I'm dealing with.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-26-2013, 11:27 PM
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I 100% fully support you and I am ever so happy you are deciding to take lessons!!!

I do want to mention that for a green horse, it's actually better to post until their back is all warmed up and you can really sit the trot. Plus posting helps to stretch them out and you also give them a bit mroe freedom to move out.

I hope this lady works out for you!!

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-27-2013, 09:41 AM
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I rode for many years before getting any lessons,but that helped me to advance very fast. I practiced at least an hour a day in between my weekly lessons & that really helped w/the advancing also.
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-29-2013, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
I'm going to meet her and her horse(s) on Saturday afternoon! She wants me to bring my most comfortable saddle (to start with...which will be my Aussie) to get an idea of my riding level. I'm super excited.
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I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but the mere fact that this woman asked you to "bring your most comfortable saddle" leads me to believe she is not at all knowledgeable, let alone qualified to be giving lessons. If you want to ride my horse, you ride in one of my saddles that is fitted to my horse. End of story. I would never even consider letting someone I had never met show up with their own saddle and hop on. What on earth would lead this woman to believe that your saddle would fit her horse?
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-30-2013, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately, I don't have many options. I know of three "legit" places that offer English lessons. The first is the man that's 45 minutes to an hour away and whose teaching style I don't like (I need someone who will help me through my confidence issues, not berate me for them). Then there's the trainer who I contacted to find out prices and availability for lessons, but never heard back from (called and left a couple of messages, as well as emailed). The last is a place that does dressage lessons only (which I'll eventually need), but they're $65 a half hour (which I can't afford) and, after talking to several people I've met who have dealt with them, they don't work well with people who have confidence issues.

I let the lady who I'm going to meet tomorrow that the tree on my Aussie is wide (equivalent to FQHB) and fits Aires as a 16.1hh draft cross. If my saddle doesn't fit her horse, we'll figure something out.
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-30-2013, 01:27 AM
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Give it a try and see how you like it. You will know if she is no good for you, however, even if she just acts as a groundsperson calling you on your position, it's a benefit.
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