VERY new to horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 11-28-2009, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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VERY new to horses

Liiiike... today I had my second lesson ever. And it was my second real time on a horse (disincluding pony rides at carnivals... but they don't really count). It was kinda tricky and stuff, especially since I'm a little bit older (I'm in high school). I was just wondering, what exactly should be expected of someone at their second lesson ever? The first time I basically got on and attempted to post and made the horse stop and go. This time my teacher had me on a lunge line and I had to make the horse steer and go in a big circle and also post a bit.

Gosh was it tricky. I couldn't get the darn horse to turn. I mean, she kept telling me to kick, but I felt kind of mean kicking the poor horse haha. And it was weird, pulling with my left and and kicking with my right foot (or visa versa). I kept getting mixed up. And he kept stopping. I think he was kind of a lazy horse. Plus he kept wandering into the center of the ring, and it was difficult to get him to the edge. I kept pulling the rein, but he didn't really seem to care all that much. I kept resting my hands on the saddle, too, and my posture wasn't all too great, and my hands were everywhere and gosh was that horse hard to turn. Plus, the entire time, I was a bit... spazzy. Haha. I mean I'm 5'1, and it was my second time on a horse! And he was really big! That probably didn't help...

But I mean I kind of liked it too. Well, I was tired and it was annoying when I was in there because my hands were everywhere and he wasn't going and she kept shouting instructions at me (not in a bad way; she was doing her job. I was just confused). But when I got on I felt really comfortable. Like, REALLY comfortable. The first time I got on I felt like I was going to fall off but this time? None of that. It felt... good. And I got the hang of it at the end. I was looking and he was near the edge and I was still awfully spazzy and my hands and legs were everywhere... but it was better. I feel like when I go back it'll go well. It just feels like it'll come a lot more naturally. Posting was MUCH easier this time, and I just really feel like I got the hang of it enough to do well next time... ish. And be more comfortable around the horse. I'm 5'1, 125 pounds, and those things are BIG so no matter how many hours and hours of reading I do about horses it's still a bit intimidating to be in there with them.

So... yeah. I'll get to the point! Exactly what should be expected of someone at their second lesson? I really didn't do horribly well. I kept slouching (but she actually didn't say that much about posture) and I would kick him too much and I couldn't get him to turn and yeah. I keep watching these videos of people at their second or third lesson and they look so good! And I'm like ughh! Plus, it's annoying because I don't go for my next lesson until two weeks form now. And that's a long time. But anywho. What mistakes are normal for people JUST starting and what should come naturally, if anything?

Sorry. I talk a lot...
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post #2 of 29 Old 11-28-2009, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Also, since my next lesson is so far away, is there anything I could do so I still have a slight feel for posting/turning and all that stuff? I watch a LOT of videos and read a LOT... but there's only so much time you can spend online looking at this stuff before it gets REALLY old. Are their any exercises I can do to help my riding and keep this all fresh in my head?
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post #3 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 12:32 AM
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You're not that old to start riding ;) My dad is almost 50 and he's just picked it up this year and is doing really well!! It's never too late to start :)

As this is only your second lesson, of course your instructor will be putting you on a lazy horse. If you were put on a sensitive horse that did everything it was told (even if you don't mean to tell it something!) you'd probably end up on the ground because your balance isn't yet sufficient to tackle something more lively. Don't blame the horse at this stage, your aids will be very unclear and so the horse will be slightly evading them at the moment- which is why you want a lazy, dead quiet horse to learn on!!

As for where you should be in your first lesson, well, it depends on you really. Some people are naturals at it and will be cantering and balanced on their second lesson. Others/most will still be very shakey and not understanding of exactly what to do at this stage.
All you should be doing is really getting a feel for the movement of the horse and learning to go with that movement. Learning to rise/post trot is actually extremely difficult!! You forget how hard it is when you've been doing it 'forever'. Teaching my dad to ride really opened my eyes up to just how hard it is to learn. Initially you'll only be able to ride a few strides then lose your rythem, but as you have more lessons, you will start to get the feel of the movement of the trot and your muscles and balance will be more in tune with riding. Soon enough rising will be the most natural thing in the world and you'll hate sitting haha!

Watching videos and reading is all good and well, but there is no way you can just jump on a horse, pick up the reins and be able to get collection straight away. So many people start out thinking they're experts because they've read books, but then they get on a hrose and realise it's just so different. Every horse is different, so you have to adapt to riding differently. Once you get mroe experience on the one horse, you should try to get a chance to ride as many as you can, so that you learn to adapt to the differences and understand that you can't ride in exactly the same way on every horse.

Exercises, well, at this stage there's not a heap you can do other than get in as many riding hours as you can. The fitter you are the easier you will find it to pick riding up as you won't get so fatigued. I try to run a few times a week and also go to the gym. Most importantly you want to have a nice toned belly. I use my stomach muscles more than any other muscle in my body when I ride, I use them to slow the horse, to turn, to half halt, to get collection, etc etc. So tone that tummy! Sit ups are great ;)
Also, strengthen your legs by sitting on a chair (when you're watching TV ;)) and lifting one leg parallel to the floor, and hold it for as long as you can, then do the other leg.
Stretching is good, you want to be nice and flexible. Pilates is great, you need to learn how to seperate your body so that you can use your hands independantly of your seat, legs etc. Even now, after riding for almost 17 years, many horse including breakers and ottb's, I try to have lunge lessons as frequently as possible with no reins and stirrups in order to make sure I am still using my aids independantly.
To see if you are good at using your tummy to stop the horse and balance yourself, sit on the edge of a plastic chair, both feet flat on the floor and with your pelvic/6 pack muscles only, try to tip the chair forward while keeping your body straight. Its harder than it sounds if you do it right!!
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post #4 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 01:45 AM
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Thumbs up

It'll get easier and more fun as you take more lessons. I started in August. I'm also sixteen, in high school. I've always loved horses. Basically, don't stress too much about it. I'm sure you're doing fine, everyone learns at their own pace but my second lesson was all about posting and it continued like that for a little while until I got it down and then we began trotting. Just focus on doing your best and try to have fun with it, it's a little harder in the begining but believe me, it'll come quickly and you'll think back and be like, 'woah. look how far i've come' or 'look how much i've improved'. I never used a lunge line until trotting but it's different in different area's and how the trainer thinks will best suit you so you can learn, have fun, and be safe. A tip for posting which I found really helped was to sit for a minute, and just feel the horses rhythem, keep in mind that posting shouldn't come from the knee's. Knee's should only have a light contact with the saddle and not squeeze the horse. Use the calf and thighs to post. Now, I ride a horse that's particularly sensitive about 'handsy riders', and it was hard for me to become more dependant on my legs, the way it should be, remember. It's about your leg and stomache muscles.

Horses lend us the wings we lack.

Last edited by easyluckyfree; 11-29-2009 at 01:52 AM.
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post #5 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 03:52 AM
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Congrats on taking up riding. Its one of the most fulfilling sports ever. It also takes lot of time and commitment.

Its only your second lesson, so don't worry too much about your position. Just try and sit up straight and focus on keeping your hands elastic and your heels down.

I know sometimes it may seem a bit mean to be kicking him but most of the time you squeeze with your calves. You only really nudge him a bit with heel if he is being un-responsive. When you feel him starting to drop in on the circle, squeeze with your inside calf til he listens and stops trying to come in. Use your outside hand slighty (only slightly) to pull him out.

Arr posting. Its easy when once you've got it but when you're learning its like really hard. I remember the first time I posted and I was so focused on keeping my lower leg so still I stuffed it up. Just put all your weight down on the ball of your foot and let your butt rise up and down. Count 1,2,1,2 in time with the horse's trot if that helps. You don't have to rise completely up. Its just a slight pelvic movement.

Lunge-line lessons are great so take advantage of them.

Have lots of fun and keep us update with how you go.
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post #6 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 04:18 AM
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I just started riding this year. I am only just starting to canter and I've been riding for about 10 months now. I didn't start trotting for about 4 lessons, and I didn't do much trotting at first.(Had bad expereince and am quite nervous riding)
I wouldn't really concentrate on your position yet, I'd just try to have fun and learn posting. Listen to all the instructions and good luck :)
Horse riding, as Gidji mentioned, is one of the most fullfilling sports ever.

Horseriding- The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.
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post #7 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 09:10 AM
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I guess I go against the norm. When I first got involved seriously with horses, it was at least 4 or 5 lessons before I was allowed to ride. I spent those first lessons learning about their care and grooming. I then watched riders and was instructed as to what they were doing and why. I learned the parts of the horse, I learned about tack and it's purpose, I learned how to groom, muck and feed. I was given exercises to practice at home. Only then, was I allowed to mount a horse.

I was being taught to be a horseman, not just a rider.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

It's not always what you say but what they hear.
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post #8 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 11:51 AM
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I agree with iridehorses. In all of the lessons that I've had, you were given a good balance of basic horse care, first aid, how to tack up and how to ride....but I think for a second lesson, trotting is a but much?? Maybe thats just me. If you're still having trouble controlling the horse at a walk, tell your instructor to SLOW DOWN and actually teach you rather than shuffling you right along. Accidents happen, but we want to try and prevent them!
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post #9 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 02:14 PM
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My take on it is that if you can't get the horse to do what you want at the trot, go back to the walk. Perfect your position there, perfect your cues at that easy gait, and THEN move up to the trot. The horse probably isn't later he was just confused. 99% of things a horse does wrong is rider error. Most new rider's arn't good enough to tell the cues perfectly to the horse. I've been riding for 8 years and I still have trouble with some things. Just keep working on it!

Jumping a horse = Getting wings!
Why live on the edge when you can jump off?- Greenwood Horse Trials Tee-Shirt
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post #10 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 02:50 PM
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i was a confused all over the place rider when i started at first too. it'll take some time but you will get there when you get more experience and muscles :)


"There is no purer love than the love of an animal"
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