New to English

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New to English

This is a discussion on New to English within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        11-11-2011, 06:03 PM
    New to English

    Well I finally am pursuing my dream of horseback riding at the ripe old age of 23! I feel a little awkward riding sometimes because I'm an adult beginner among adult expert riders. I'm getting over it though! Lol I've been taking 1/2 hour private lessons once a week since September. I can walk, turn, and trot the school horse I ride. I am working on my post and my half seat. I'm having a hard time with the post, I just can't seem to keep it all together.. lol. My posture is "perfect" but my hands are all over. I also use my legs too much and sometimes my feet slip out even though my heels are down. I also pulled a muscle in my groin and it's been hurting me for about a week lol. Once I get going I can hold it for a while but then I usually lose my balance and have to start over.

    My questions are...

    What tips/tricks/strategies helped you keep your hands in place, even out the use of your legs and your feet in the saddle and perfect your timing?

    How long did it take? Am I going often enough? I'm going as often as I can on a budget. Should I look into leasing at some point so I have more access to a horse to practice my skills?

    Suggestions/feedback please! I want to improve as much as I can!
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        11-11-2011, 08:02 PM
    Green Broke
    I think its hard to keep your hands still if the rest of you isn't still. You have to be balanced at your core for everything to come together. You can't really have one part working if the others are not.

    Don't get overwhelmed, just sit back and relax, sink the weight down through your heels, and keep going forward.

    It's not an easy thing to advise on. I think to an extent you just have to develop the feel of it. Don't try to be stiff or resist the movement of the horse.
    Ray MacDonald likes this.
        11-11-2011, 09:00 PM
    Saskia - thanks for the response. It's hard to not be stiff because I'm trying so hard to be balanced. I think you put it perfectly it's just something I have to develop a feel for.
        11-12-2011, 07:03 PM
    Just curious, have you done any lessons without stirrups?
        11-12-2011, 07:40 PM
    Green Broke
    Ahaha! Bring on the no stirrups! ;) lol

    Don't worry too much about it, just relax as much as you can, breath, riding is supposed to be fun, don't over stress it :)

    Think of your whole body being made up of elastics. You can stretch them and then relax them. Feel them move when the horse moves. You just need some more time and practice :)

    You could lease a horse, it would probably give you more riding time if you have it. But it could be expensive, as you don't want a horse that doesn't suit your level of ability just because it is a cheap lease.
        11-12-2011, 08:02 PM
    Super Moderator

    It just takes time. Lots more time . Riding is harder than it looks and it takes time to develop the body stability needed to do all that stuff, including keeping your hands quiet. Just be patient. Take videos of yourself now, becaseu you won't believe it's you in a year, your progress will be so dramatic!

    If you can do longer lessons, I would advise it. A half hour is not enought to build the physical strength and body memory. See if you can work off the extra half hour with barn work or tack cleaning.

    When spring comes. Lease a horse. It's well worth it!
    Ray MacDonald likes this.
        11-12-2011, 08:32 PM
    Super Moderator
    I find that until you find your center of balance on a horse, you will have trouble progressing. I put many of my beginning riders (and my advanced ones, too) on a longe line. The student does not have any reins in their hands. That way, they can completely concentrate on their seat and legs. A rider can walk, trot and canter on the longe learning to deepen their seat and use their legs. Only when they are comfortable with this will they spend a lot of time with reins.

    People can only concentrate on a couple of things at a time. If you are having to concentrate on doing it all, you will have trouble. On the longe, you can learn to use your seat and legs and that will allow it to become "second nature" and will not have to concentrate on them as much. Then, you can concentrate on the next challenge.

    Some students spend months where most of the lesson is on the longe.
    Sharpie likes this.
        11-12-2011, 08:45 PM
    Some of my favorite lessons, the ones where I actually *got it* and had those ahah! Feelings were on the lunge line. It great because you can focus completely on your seat without having to worry about steering or maintaining the horse's speed. I'm hoping to get some more on the line here in a couple of weeks- nothing better.

    Your hands will come together when you no longer need them to balance against, but some 'tricks' that helped me were to imagine loaves of bread under each arm with the focus on not 'dropping' them. I also tied a string across the pommel a couple of times and hooked my pinkies under it so that when it pulled, it told me that my hands were getting too high. Tough to do that if you also need to direct the horse though.
        11-19-2011, 02:05 PM
    Stephie - You sound like me! I always wanted to horse-back ride but never really got the chance to, so now that I am 20 I am finally starting lessons! I feel so ridiculous because I know I look silly when everyone else around me has been riding for years. I had three weeks in a row where I fell off trying to canter, and I don't know whether to be horribly embarrassed and frustrated or whether it's okay since I've just started riding and to not be too hard on myself. I only had two lessons before we started cantering, and only two or three lessons cantering before we started jumping, and I still don't have the canter down yet. I feel like I don't even have the trot down anymore, I got switched to a horse with a lot bouncier trot because he can jump. My last lesson was a total mess! We were cantering figure eights over jumps and my hands were everywhere, my legs were everywhere, and we were just totally a disaster. So don't feel too bad, you aren't alone in the starting riding as an adult venture!
        11-19-2011, 02:41 PM
    If you pulled a muscle in your groin then perhaps your centre core muscles need beefing up - so go find a pilates class and learn some exercises to harden up the muscles around the stomach and lower back.

    When learning to ride you will start to use muscle groups which previously have lain dormant. So as your riding lesson progresses so you are going to feel tired and you will suffer the day after from aches and pains. But there is no alternative if you want to ride until eventually the muscles you need are hardened up. Back in the days before the civil war, we used to do exercises whilst on horseback and for good reason.

    Find and talk with a sports physiotherapist who rides a horse.
    Take some videos of yourself going round and round in the arena and then compare yourself with videos of an accomplished rider.
    Riding is all about posture and balance.
    Ray MacDonald likes this.

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