My breeches and boots are ordered. Going to be taking English lessons!
   

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My breeches and boots are ordered. Going to be taking English lessons!

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    11-02-2012, 05:35 PM
  #1
Green Broke
My breeches and boots are ordered. Going to be taking English lessons!

I've grown up being a Western rider my entire life. I primarily like to barrel race, but I do enjoy going to local shows and doing everything (halter, showmanship, western pleasure, reining, competitive trail) along with the gaming. But I'm always wanting to try new things and new events.

The only English riding I have experienced was for a 3 year period while I was in grad school, with some friends I was lucky enough to meet that had an "extra" horse who didn't get ridden very often. I was thrilled to come riding once or twice a week, and they were thrilled to have an extra person to exercise their extra horse.

I came across a great barn here in my area who have some world-class riders. Since I can't ride my horses during the winter (dark when I get off work, ice and snow is slippery too), I figured some indoor riding lessons would be a great thing to do in the winter months.

I'd ideally like to learn a wee bit about everything: Dressage, jumping, hunter under saddle, etc.

I don't necessarily ever plan to compete in it (one local club does have HUS events, but that's about it), but I figure it can't hurt to learn.

Soooooooo....

Any tips, advice, or comments you can give me?

Anything stick out in your mind from your first lessons?

Any English no-no's (transitioning from Western) that I should know? The ladies I rode with always teased me when I would just mount up from the ground instead of using the mounting block. Just used to it, I guess.
     
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    11-02-2012, 06:15 PM
  #2
Trained
It's a myth that riding English means always using a mounting block. Certainly dismounting in the Hunting field means you mount again from the ground.
You will need to adjust to an English iron stirrup and we always ride with the ball of the foot on the stirrup, never "home".
Pay attention to lining up: shoulder, hip and heel. You will do a LOT of 1/2 seat and balancing with your bottom off of the saddle. Make sure that your saddle fits. The average saddle is 17" or 17 1/2", but too small will hurt and too large, you will swim in it.
There used to be some kind of a law against posting in a Western saddle, but today, it seems like everybody has forgotten that a Cowboy never did that, so you probably already post. Posting is MUCH easier to do without that stupid horn. If you find yourself falling backwards, watch your toes bc your feet are too far forward. You should see just the tip of the boot while looking over your knees.
Ask around and buy a good English All Purpose to hack in. People will try to sell you on a Close Contact, but unless you ride bareback a LOT, you'll have more trouble balancing in it.
If you have good hands, direct reining and following the bit shouldn't be any problem for you. English reining is easiest if you ride with your hands in front of the pommel, with a straight line from your elbow through the reins to the bit, about the same width of a bit (~5" wide) and thumbs up. The Reins go between your ring fingers and your pinkies, reins running up through your palms and past your thumbs and the buckle that connects the 2 reins is folded over to the right side.
I think you'll find you are already a great rider and learning a new style will just give you more confidence. =D
freia likes this.
     
    11-03-2012, 11:49 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
It's a myth that riding English means always using a mounting block. Certainly dismounting in the Hunting field means you mount again from the ground.
You will need to adjust to an English iron stirrup and we always ride with the ball of the foot on the stirrup, never "home".
Pay attention to lining up: shoulder, hip and heel. You will do a LOT of 1/2 seat and balancing with your bottom off of the saddle. Make sure that your saddle fits. The average saddle is 17" or 17 1/2", but too small will hurt and too large, you will swim in it.
There used to be some kind of a law against posting in a Western saddle, but today, it seems like everybody has forgotten that a Cowboy never did that, so you probably already post. Posting is MUCH easier to do without that stupid horn. If you find yourself falling backwards, watch your toes bc your feet are too far forward. You should see just the tip of the boot while looking over your knees.
Ask around and buy a good English All Purpose to hack in. People will try to sell you on a Close Contact, but unless you ride bareback a LOT, you'll have more trouble balancing in it.
If you have good hands, direct reining and following the bit shouldn't be any problem for you. English reining is easiest if you ride with your hands in front of the pommel, with a straight line from your elbow through the reins to the bit, about the same width of a bit (~5" wide) and thumbs up. The Reins go between your ring fingers and your pinkies, reins running up through your palms and past your thumbs and the buckle that connects the 2 reins is folded over to the right side.
I think you'll find you are already a great rider and learning a new style will just give you more confidence. =D
Thanks!!

I do already ride on the ball of my foot. Always have. The only time my feet go deeper is during speed events (gaming, barrels, poles, ect).

I also have always tried to ride correct in that my heel, hip, and shoulder are aligned.

Thank you for all the advice on the saddle fit, but I guess I'm not going to worry about all that because I will be using the lessons horses and tack from the trainer. I would expect the trainer to properly fit tack to me (within reason) as well as a lesson horse. I think I had heard at one point that to estimate the English size seat you need, you just add 2 to the western size. If that's somewhat true, I ride in a 14.5 to 15" western saddle, which would work out to approximately a 17" English.

Funny when you talk about falling backward in posting, because I am the very opposite. I have the tendency to lean forward in my riding on my current horse (to sit his stride better) and I am always constantly reminding myself to sit BACK more on my seat.

Thank you for the detailed instructions on holding the reins. I know to put the exess to the right (mostly from seeing English photos!), but I had no idea on the rest of it. If I ride two-handed, I do have my thumbs up, controlling the reins with my pinky.
Corporal likes this.
     
    11-04-2012, 05:36 PM
  #4
Trained
FYI, for the future, if/when you start riding w/4 reins, the snaffle rein goes in between your ring finger and pinky, and the curb rein goes into between your middle finger and your ring finger. Four reins are called, "bit" (snaffle) and "bridoon" (curb.)
Have fun and report back to us!! =D
beau159 likes this.
     
    11-04-2012, 05:37 PM
  #5
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal    
Have fun and report back to us!! =D
Will do!

I am waiting for my things to arrive first (so I can make sure they fit) before I set up some lessons.

I'm shooting for lessons once a week starting in December though!
     
    11-26-2012, 11:23 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Well I had my first lesson yesterday!! I like her. She really seems to know a lot about the dynamics of riding and can pick up on small subtle things.

For the first lesson, she just had me on a lunge line with no reins (just hanging on the horse's neck) and inititally with no stirrups. She wanted to get an idea of my seat. We did walking, trotting, transitions, serpentines, and even had me close my eyes! THAT was a weird feeling.

We discovered that I am much more right dominant (make sense as I am righ handed) but my balance is much better on my right, than left. I was much more comfortable with eyes closed and horse swinging back and forth to the right, than to the left.

I did already know that I tend to lean forward in my riding, so we'll continue to work on that. That's what I would try to do is lean forward when turning to the left, which popped my inner leg out, etc etc. So I have to really work on keep my heel down, toe in, and weight in my heel, and push forward with my left hip.

Being a barrel racer and running a horse that works best by putting weight into the outside stirrup during the turn, this is a huge change to put weight in my inside stirrup!!

But it was a neat lesson. Pointed out some things I didn't realize I did. I'm excited for more!
     
    11-26-2012, 03:45 PM
  #7
Green Broke
Learning new skills is a great thing-happy for you & sounds like you have already learned a lot.Hope you keep us posted on your progress.
     
    12-11-2012, 12:11 PM
  #8
Green Broke
Lesson number two was this past weekend!

We worked on riding the horse in circle exercises.

As a western rider, I am used to keeping slack in the reins, and riding one handed most of the time. If I wanted to execute a left turn, I would use slight neck rein pressure as well as using my outside leg to push the shoulder over, with no pressure on the inside leg.

So for our circling exercises, I pull my inside elbow directly back slightly to get a very slight bend in the neck, while maintaining contact with the indirect rein and apply a slight neck rein to support. (Very, very hard for me to always maintain contact on the reins!!! I'm so used to no rein contact.) My inside leg stays centered on the horse, and I apply pressure to get the horse to bend around that inside leg. My outside leg moves back slightly to apply pressure to bend the hindquarters in slightly.

I have a problem on my left leg keeping it down and lengthened (and even with my right leg in length) so I am constantly reminding myself of that. I was having issues with my toe going outward so much on my left leg, so she had me drop the stirrups and wah-lah!! Perfect legs. I was just "forgetting" to lengthen my legs with the stirrups and keep them long. I actually did better without the stirrups, haha.

But overall, great lesson again! She really gets into the dynamics of things and is really picky, but that's good!

**sigh** I do wish I would get to at least go over some poles one of these days, but I understand you've gotta start at the basics.
     
    12-20-2012, 11:18 AM
  #9
Green Broke
Had lesson #3 last weekend. Continued to work on circles a little bit, and making sure my toes stay in and heels stay down, and weight to the inside.

The "new" thing we worked on what getting up into the 2-point position before and after a jump (low cross poles on the ground). Wow! I've never had such a calf workout before, lol. They were a-burning.

I didn't do any galloping. Just trotting over these pole obstacles.

I was a little "wobbly" at the beginning of the lesson, but staying stable in the 2-point was getting to be a bit easier by the end. The wobbliness of an English stirrup just hanging on those leathers is quite a bit different than a Western saddle.

Any tips on staying stable better in your 2-point stance before and after a jump? (Granted for me right now, its more like just staying in the UP part of the post during a trot.)
     
    12-20-2012, 01:16 PM
  #10
Trained
No advice, but I enjoy reading your updates!
     

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