Where do I even start? Adult looking to begin riding English - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-12-2013, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Where do I even start? Adult looking to begin riding English

I am an adult that has just discovered the joys of horses. I was taken on a trail ride this past week with a group of other first timers and a few novice riders and am hooked. I did some preliminary research and really think english riding stood out the most to me. But so now that leaves me with the question where do I go from here? I did some google searching and discovered a plethora of stables that offer lessons quite close to me. How to I begin to weed out which of these is a quality establishment worth my time and money? I do not know what I necessarily want to pursue on horse back yet, first things first I just want to learn how to be a good rider. So I would really like to find a teacher/trainer that can give me a solid foundation and as I learn more about the different riding disciplines help me pursue whichever direction I choose to go. Any advice in getting started properly would be really appreciated!
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-12-2013, 09:08 AM
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I too learned to ride as an adult a little more than six years ago. Even here in this rural backwoods, I find that stable owners don't like to talk about other owners. So maybe riders in the area, but there tend to be lots of prejudices. I found my stable with just luck.

I guess in the beginning, most English stables should be able to get you started. What I would look for when there is the quality of riders at the stable. What are they doing? At what level?

Also, when it comes to instruction, how much information is the instructor providing. When I started I thought: hunh, walk, trot and canter. Have those under my belt and I should be good to go.

Wrong. That's only the beginning. Riding is incredibly complicated and a lot is going on. As you move up in skill, pay most attention to the quality of the information provided. If it is scanty, with a yep and nope, thrown in, it is then time to look for more else where.

Not sure if this helps.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-12-2013, 09:36 AM
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Do you mind if I ask what area you are in?

My first thing I suggest to new riders is research. Look for reviews on the stable. Go and just take a tour and notice little things like the condition of the horses. Are they healthy weight? Do they look happy and content? Does the barn look safe? As in no nails sticking out, things for horses to get caught up in. Does the hay look good quality?(even take a sniff and make sure its not moldy hay) Is the barn clean? Well maintained? Sit and watch a lesson and listen to the coach to see if her/his teaching style would work with you. And last but not least, certification. Coaching certification is huge. You wouldn't send your kid to swimming lessons with an instructor that isn't a certified life guard would you?

The other thing. What sort of English riding are you interested in? Are you looking to get into dressage? Jumping? Pleasure riding? Do you want to show?

Put together a list of questions for the coach. Ask their certification. Ask when they last updated their first aid course. How they advance students. How do they start students out. Do they teach theory and equine first aid, including stable management. Ask how many times a horse will go out in one day for a lesson.

The reason I say look at simple things like the quality of hay, how clean the barn is and how many times a horse goes out a day for lessons is because things like this speak volumes on the facility and pride they take. Are they mass production or do they actually want their students to learn and learn to ride safely? Also the care of the horse says if they actually are in it for the horses and students or are they in it for the money.

You are learning to ride a 1000lbs animal that has a mind of its own. You want to learn somewhere that values safety and the care of the animal.

Any questions feel free to ask away And welcome to the addicting world of horses!
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Last edited by NBEventer; 02-12-2013 at 09:39 AM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-12-2013, 11:03 AM
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It can be hard to tell who is a good trainer and who is not.

Perhaps go to a local show, find a few english riders that appears to know what they're doing - i.e. get decent ribbons, are quiet yet firm in their handling of their horses, horses are not too skinny or too fat (should easily be able to feel their ribs) and get recommendations.

Ask them who their trainer is, what farm(S) their trainer is associated with, the price and length per lesson, if their trainer has beginner horses and/or if the trainer will travel to individual farms, etc.

Once you have a few names/locations start calling. Tell trainer you'd like to see them teach a few lessons to see if their teaching style relates to your learning style. Then go watch them teach a few lessons. Generally you want to see them teach a lesson or two for a person(s) at your riding level and a lesson or two above your level. Figure out their teaching style - are they screamers? If so - are YOU OK with that? (I personally LIKE correction - hate someone only telling me everything is great - but I hate screamers - I turn them off in my mind.)

Don't forget not everyone learns the same way so what is good for Joe may not be good for you, and vice versa.

Dressage is for Trainers!
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-12-2013, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the responses,

NBEventer: I am currently working in the Middle East but reside in Ohio when not working abroad. As far as what interests me, jumping has always been a fascination of mine, but when I first start out with lessons do I necessarily seek someone to begin teaching me with jumping in mind, or do I need to first find someone to just teach me the fundamentals of riding in general? I see lots of abbreviations in the forums and other sites when I start researching more in depth in regards to trainers. What certifications/certifying bodies are the most significant to look for?

Valentina, I plan on doing just that as soon as I return to the states!

onuilmar, thanks for the insight, its nice to know I am not the only one getting a start later on in life!

Last edited by EsquireGSD; 02-12-2013 at 04:56 PM.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-15-2013, 10:49 PM
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As a beginner with no real knowledge of the horse world it is hard to know the difference between a good instructor or a bad instructor. One thing that I find important is having good quiet horses. Some people will cheap out on horses and get some that are not very well broke just because it is cheaper to do so and then make beginners who don't know any better try and learn off of them. Pay attention to how the horses are looked after, ask people who take lessons there what they think, and most importantly, if you don't feel safe don't be afraid to stand up and say something.
A good instructor will almost always be confident in talking about what they are teaching. If they seem like they are fumbling for answers to questions or struggling to explain things they probably don't know as much as they say.
You may have to try a few different stables and a few different instructors before you find one that suits you and your goals. Don't get discouraged, just like everything else in life there is good and bad, don't get discouraged by one bad experience.
I wouldn't say you necessarily need to pick a type of riding just yet. Get the basics down then do some research into the different types and see which one interest you. I ride english and western and love them both, there is nothing saying you have to stick with just jumping, or just dressage. Dabble a little and try a few things until you find one you love!
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-21-2013, 04:49 PM
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In England we have the BHS (British horse society) and riding school can become approved by them to show high standards. Having said that I'v ridden at approved stables that are too 'safe' and don't push you enough, and at unapproved ones that have been fantastic.

I think your best bet is to book a taster session and ask if you could watch some more advanced lessons, or even help out for the day. That way you will get a feel for their horses, and an idea of the level they teach up to. Perhaps book taster sessions at a few and then decide which one you prefer. If you don't want to mention your trying other stables just say when you book you just want a one off to see if you like the feel of English riding.
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