Tips for going back to horse riding - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 10 Old 01-08-2014, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Tips for going back to horse riding

Hi HF!

The title pretty much says it all.

I'm nineteen, been riding for thirteen of those and on a break for two when I sold my horses and did my final school exams.

Since I stopped, I've actually worked in a few stables and rode a fair few times, but I know I need to get back to regular lessons.

For my experience background information, my family has owned several horses that I have ridden including my own pony and my mothers horses. I am in no way a beginner, having hunted for fun and show jumped competitively. I could probably go through a day at the stables blindfolded at this point.

I scheduled lessons with my local riding school for the weekend as I am in college at the moment and don't have the means to get to the stables during the week. The pro is that I'm going back to my very first riding school and back into my old lesson time (nostalgia!) I'll also be cycling to and from the stables (about 6k each way).

Now I am a gym rat, and I cycle regularly. I will be cutting back on my exercise regime to accommodate for the horse riding, and slowly building it back up, of course.

Now my problem is that I am so, so nervous. My riding instructor remembers me and I think she'll be expecting me to be amazing, since she put me into the most advanced class available and I'm so scared that I'll mess up, look like a beginner, etc. The other end of it is I could become terribly cocky and act like I know it all (completely unintentionally of course) and then look like a fool when I get something wrong.

What on earth can I do about this? It feels like the kind of nerves you get before a show, yknow, so much excitement but so so much nerves.

Also general advice for getting back in the game would be so helpful. My mother's expertise and advice is out of the question now as my parents are separated and we don't speak (by my choice).

Any help would be much appreciated.

-Shay

"My last request is that you love me back. Not because of what we've been through, not because of what's to come. but because this is my final requiem, and I want to spend it with you.
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-08-2014, 01:18 PM
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It is important to understand that you will be rusty and that's ok! Try not to worry about where you were when you quit taking lessons vs where you are now. Just take the time to learn and enjoy horses. It will come back to you quickly especially if you have been riding some while away from lessons.
Don't worry about what others think just go out and have fun!
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-08-2014, 03:18 PM
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Ask to be put in a early intermediate or firm intermediate group instead - problem solved. If you're rusty nobody will know any better (nobody in that class would likely even know you from your past there given their skill level), and if you're good you'll shine instead. When you're comfortable again asked to be moved up.

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post #4 of 10 Old 01-09-2014, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnF View Post
It is important to understand that you will be rusty and that's ok!
Honestly I think my main worry is that my old riding instructor (I started out with her before moving on to more specialized stables) will have high expectations for me, as she's heard a lot about what I've been doing since I left her at the tender age of eleven. It's silly as I know she has buckets of experience, but it's still in the back of my head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrivatePilot View Post
Ask to be put in a early intermediate or firm intermediate group instead
Unfortunately this is a general riding school, where all disciplines are catered for. Which means that the top lesson would really be 'early intermediate' as you put it at best. It's actually my old lesson slot that I am going back into, which I was top of the class in when I left that school. I'm just worried that I've gotten way worse and am going to make silly mistakes, have nasty habits, etc.

"My last request is that you love me back. Not because of what we've been through, not because of what's to come. but because this is my final requiem, and I want to spend it with you.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-09-2014, 09:01 AM
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Then ask to go in the beginner/extremely low level class, with an explanation why of course. Get back to the very basics and get the rust off. I'm sure you'll be allowed to do fences despite the fact others may not be - at our school if there's a broad mix of experiences between the group, the beginners all do cross rails first (the advanced sit and wait) and then they're moved up to verticals and all the more advanced riders go, often after the beginners (who are basically done by that point) have left the arena to Untack at that.

Perhaps/likely things to differently at your school, but that's what works at mine.

I definitely wouldn't set yourself up for failure though, even though I think using the word "failure" is a stretch (embarrassment is what you're more likely worried about, right) is a good idea though. I'd rather start slow again and be with a bunch of people who will be wildly impressed with your skills vs going back to a group of pros and being in what could be an uncomfortable situation. Although, again, at our barn even the pros never ever make fun of or look down at a beginner, but I recognize that this doesn't change how you may feel about the situation nonetheless.
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Last edited by PrivatePilot; 01-09-2014 at 09:04 AM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-09-2014, 10:02 AM
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Your body has likely undergone change so it may not feel quite as you remember it either but it will quickly come back. A good coach knows this.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-09-2014, 10:09 AM
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Is there any way that you could start off by doing a private lesson with the trainer? You may be the type to be more unnerved by being the center of attention your first time back, or it may be comforting that she can't judge your riding based on the others in the ring. If not, I would also consider going back to a beginner lesson. You may feel silly, but it'll give you a chance to perform in front of the trainer without the expectations being too high. I'd also suggest, if possible, for you to warm up for a few minutes without the trainer watching. That'll give you a little time to knock the dust off and get used to the horse before she is there. She's not going to expect you to be perfect, but you've probably made some improvements since you were young!
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-09-2014, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice, seriously I'm starting to realize that I'm nervous over nothing.

My plan of action is to see how the lesson this weekend goes, as I completely trust my instructor as she knew me back when my bad habit seeds were planted! If it goes terribly and I am very unhappy, I can move my lesson easily. Otherwise, time to knuckle down and work out the kinks in my riding!

"My last request is that you love me back. Not because of what we've been through, not because of what's to come. but because this is my final requiem, and I want to spend it with you.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-09-2014, 10:20 AM
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I think it's good that you're sticking with the lesson slot you were in. The only people who are going to care whether or not you make a mistake is your and your trainer--and that's what they're there for.

Also, that's an interesting way to break up lessons. Never heard of that before. XD
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-13-2014, 04:20 AM Thread Starter
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Well guys, as you know I went for my lesson on Saturday. I had checked in with my doctor on Friday evening to look at my knee (old injury that never seems to heal) and he cleared me for flatwork. Ehem...barely. So the lesson was definitely not what I expected. This was the second highest level lesson that the riding school offers, and I found it incredibly boring. Since you only get in this lesson if the instructor either knows you or you've worked your way up from the bottom, we had some fun and the instructor went on a hack with us to the cross country course on her new horse. I actually found myself itching to ride her horse as the lovely old thing I was on (who was in the prime of her youth about a decade ago when I was last there), just didn't have any energy.

I can see now that the only way I am going to make any progress is to loan/buy a horse and financially struggle, but be the happiest I've been in a long time.

I definitely have no plans on quitting as I suspect she'll put me on one of the more misbehaving livery horses (not uncommon for her to do that, and of course the owners have given their permission, many of them are young riders and it's free schooling for them so they're quite happy with it) as time goes on.

Thought you guys would like an update as to how it went since I got such good advice off of ye.

"My last request is that you love me back. Not because of what we've been through, not because of what's to come. but because this is my final requiem, and I want to spend it with you.
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