Hi - I am a new adult English rider, 4 months into learning. I take lessons 2x's per week. I am a male, 45 years old. This is something I have always wanted to do, but as a kid, logisitics and costs were just too much for my parents. College, job, and raising a son put things off even further.
When I started riding, I was quite out of shape, but have now lost nearly 30 lbs in 4 months with both riding and supplemental physical exercise.
My frustrations are that I worry I am too old and too far gone. The biggest challenge for me me is flexibility and stretching .. "heel down", being able to keep legs straight for mount/dismount ... and endurance -- I still get winded after long posting trots, and have to ask to rest. I'm the "old man" .
May I ask a general assessment of what my progess is (slow, OK, average) for a 45 y/o adult totally new to English after 4 months?
Currently in summary:
1) Reining is generally good - though I have to remember sometimes to be more gentle in stopping (hands instead of arms). I rein well in trotting.
2) Posting trot is OK, though on sharper turns I still need better leg support. After about 5 minutes of trotting or when my legs tire, I creep up on my toes and need "heels down" reminders. The posting my instructors insist on is very "light," -- they say pretend my butt is coming down on a baby chick and I don't want to squish it.
3) I do ankle and leg stretches daily, but legs and ankles are still like rubber bands. Muscle contract and get hard and stiff .. I need TONS of stretching everytime I ride. Getting flixibility is taking a LONG time.
4) I am learning changing diagonals and steering patterns in ring while trotting. The leg work is coming, but dosn't come really easily.
5) I am OK on 2 point position -- now working on increasing strength by extending time trotting in 2 point position.
6) I have not started ANY cantering yet. Instructors say there's no point yet in starting.
I love the training, and the tough coaching is great for me in many ways. I just feel like a bungler with so many really good young people around.
I just hope I'm not fooling myself, and annoying the riding instructors with being slow. Don't learn as fast as the kids, teens and young adults.
Also - even after 4 months - my legs are still sore the day or two after every riding lesson. I don't mind, but is this also normal?
Finally - I should charge admission for watching my flying dismounts .. quite comical but can finally land on my feet, though not with beauty and grace P
Thanks very much