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New Adult - Discouraged

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  • Queen and horses
  • Riding instructor having me rise two beats sit one at trot

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    11-08-2012, 03:36 AM
  #21
Weanling
Good grief! 45 isn't old at all! Don't worry about your age long as you're enjoying yourself that's what's most important. I took lessons as a child and owned my own horse for a little while thereafter into my 20's. I never thought I would get back into riding but that all changed when I purchased my horse Joey almost 5 yrs ago now. I am 47 yrs old now and I am an avid rider-more so than any of the kids at my boarding facility. I now have 3 horses and wonder what I actually did before my horses. You're doing great! Just continue to follow your dreams.
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    11-08-2012, 11:35 AM
  #22
Yearling
Queen Elizabeth II demonstrates never being too old for a good ride.
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File Type: jpg queen-on-horse2.jpg (70.0 KB, 145 views)
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    11-08-2012, 12:26 PM
  #23
Foal
It is wonderful that you have the courage to start what can be such a humbling endeavor. When you described all of the things you have to remember, it totally reminded me of learning to play golf! Every time I try to incorporate a new skill, I immediately forget the to keep my eye on the ball because I am so excited to see where it goes (which is usually about 2 inches from the tee-ha!)

I am just getting back into riding again at 43 and it makes me long for the days when I was completely fearless. I too feel super self-conscious at times, but I think it really depends on what the people are like where you ride. I am trying out different places and the atmosphere really makes a big difference.

I would also recommend a book - How Your Horse Wants You To Ride: Starting Out, Starting Over - by Gincy Self Bucklin. You definitely have to get the book version (vs. the Kindle) because the pictures are so helpful. I like it because she starts with a focus on bonding on the ground, and then gradually moves into a good seat/balance without worrying about too many principles.

Congratulations to you!
     
    11-08-2012, 12:53 PM
  #24
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by NordicMan    
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. Work on using your body to stop and less rein. Your instructor should help you with this.

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. Heels down can be hard at any age. It takes lots of practice

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. Get your trot down well before cantering

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.
Are your lessons private so you don't feel self concous?
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? Seems long if you are riding regularly

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
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    11-10-2012, 10:31 PM
  #25
Green Broke
Good for you for following your dreams!! I applaud any adult who decides to start riding. You sound exactly like one of my adult students. And yes, as a whole I've found that my adult students are stiffer, sometimes have a harder time doing things, and need more breaks. But I LOVE my adult students. I'm in no hurry to push them and your instructor shouldn't be annoyed either (if she is you have the wrong instructor). The great thing about adults is that you can understand concepts that a lot of kids simply don't take the time to learn. What other kinds of exercise do you do? Running has helped one student quite a bit and yoga helped another. Also, any chance you can ride more often? Time in te saddle is what's really going to help you progress the fastest. Regardless, congrats on riding! Keep it up!
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    11-10-2012, 10:43 PM
  #26
Yearling
I'm rather young (22), but I have my own problems too. We all do, so don't let anything discourage you. Keep practicing and you'll get it. I've been riding (on and off, whenever we could afford lessons) for about 10 years, pretty much all Hunter/Jumper. Now that I've switched to Dressage, things are very new and I'm having a little trouble getting used to it. Longer stirrups, have to remember to stay looooooose and relaxed (difficult since I'm a tense person), keep the leg off the horse, heels down, toes in, leg back into proper position (shoulder, hip, ankle), soft hands, turn shoulders in corners/circles. It's really interesting and I'm ever so slowly getting the hang of it.

And I'm still always sore after riding. Granted I do about four hours of mucking and other barn work before my lessons, but I don't think it makes too much of a difference.
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    11-11-2012, 12:58 AM
  #27
Weanling
I almost forgot to mention that my BO and friend still rides regularly and has just turned 70 and I respect them for this very much. One of my favourite riders is Ian Millar aka Captain Canada and is still competing at the age of 65 in show jumping. You're never too old to start riding.
     
    11-11-2012, 08:47 PM
  #28
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by NordicMan    

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.
You are doing great. Your health has improved.

Repeat after me. I am not old. I am not old.
     
    11-12-2012, 08:40 AM
  #29
Foal
Oh, OP I think you're doing amazing!

I'm 24 and in that age group where people go "oh, but you're in your twenties so you should bounce back from everything and WHY are you sore and complaining and you're YOUNG"! Well, I've been very out of shape for years and I just came back into riding in January of this year. I only started cantering regularly a few months ago. I spent months and months working on leg, trotting in circles, and spending a lot of time in two point. I only recently moved up to the "advanced" group of students who lesson together -- one of them is a thirteen year old and the other is over fifty, only recently started riding, and has a hip replacement.

It's one of those things I love about riding. We can pick it up at any age and excel. And while we may feel sore coming off of the horse it's a good sore! I think you're doing an amazing job and you shouldn't feel discouraged at all. Just look at how well you've done in four months with your health! Imagine doing all of that just running on a treadmill.. I know I wouldn't be able to keep it up!

I know I'm 24 but I felt the same way; too old and too far gone, because the common assertion is that you start a sport in youth and master it. I felt like that especially after going to several hunter/jumper shows and watching the 9 year olds cantering and powering over jumps. I felt so behind! But with a lot of work and practice I'm beginning to bridge that gap and I feel better physically than I ever did before.

Keep it up! It's obviously doing you good! I also suggest doing some reading. I read Practical Horseman in my free time and I've gotten a lot of great insights. Anything you don't understand you can probably discuss with your trainer. Sometimes the combination of something you absorb while reading and being in the saddle leads to a big A-HA! Moment that lets something click that you might have been struggling with before.

I think you're awesome!

Quote:
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.
It is a difficult and unusual thing to start to learn your body parts independently. When I first started I had to remember that I was riding a horse, not driving a car! It was really very comical as I kept pulling both reins left and right like a steering wheel. As your seat develops you will learn to rely less on your hands and more on your legs on seat, which helps in keeping some of the pressure off of the horse's mouth. I remember when I started learning the canter steering was strange for me because my seat was very insecure. That's step one (which you already seem to be working on well)!

Quote:
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 every time I ride. Getting flexibility is taking a LONG time
Flexibility is rough at any age. Your stretching and exercises will help for sure, but I like to think more about thinking about my weight rather than my heels. Keeping your hip even with your heel and letting your weight sink into your heels will help accomplish it without thinking "heels down, heels down".

The dreaded two-point position is an amazing workout. I try to do two-point at every gait for as long as I can with leaning only lightly on the crest for support, making sure to keep my legs in the proper position. Then when you sit and begin posting try not to let your leg move from that position. Eventually muscle memory will catch up. This also helps me stretch and loosen up my muscles in preparation for my actual lesson work. It is very tiring, yes, but effective.

My trainer also had me do two-ups, two-downs. That is sitting for two beats of the trot and then rising for two beats of the trot (holding yourself up). At first your balance will be terrible but over time it will greatly improve once your leg settles into the correct position. You won't need your hands to lean on as much and your leg position will solidify. This is even more tiring than working at length in two-point, so don't worry about feeling like you need to do it right away. It was months before my trainer suggested I start working on the technique.

Quote:
4) I am learning changing diagonals and steering patterns in ring while trotting. The leg work is coming, but doesn't come really easily.
My trainer had me at this for weeks. The walk/trot mount I was on had some minimal dressage training so we did a lot of crossing the ring on the diagonal line to practice using my leg and also switching diagonals on the trot at the right time (and steering). Obviously any horse can cut diagonally across the ring but we were specifically trying to get him to leg yield and cross his legs over at the trot. But even using your leg over your reins to get a little bend in him is a good workout.

Leg exercises are great but don't forget to work your core! Your core is key for all things and will make your life and riding much, much easier.

I don't know how your trainer is but any work on the lunge focusing just on leg (and not worrying about steering) will probably help a bit.

I didn't mean to long post and give you an avalanche of information but it's all things that over many months and with a lot of work have gotten me from zero to jumping small verticals. You WILL get there and you're already doing amazingly! Don't be discouraged!
     
    11-13-2012, 07:33 PM
  #30
Trained
You sound like you're doing great! I'm also 45, and I know how hard it is to make your body do things. I started riding seriously when I was 40. Muscle memory really comes into play with riding. Don't get frustrated. It'll all come with time.
     

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