Hi there! I've FINALLY embarked on the long (and exhausting) process of searching for my very first horse. Just window shopping for now, but within the next 12 months, I will be seriously saving up my hard earned cash and taking the plunge!
The problem is that - because I'm cold-searching (that is, through Horse Deals, Newmarket Saddlery etc.) there's all this lingo such as novice, beginner, intermediate, experienced, expert for grading the level of rider needed for a specific horse. Now, I've never been to a competition, or graded myself, and my instructor doesn't like to just 'place' us in a grade like saying 'you're a beginner/ntermediate rider,' she says things like 'your canter's looking good' or, 'your legwork needs work.'
No one comes to watch me ride, so a) I have no external feedback and b) NO pictures of me riding!!!
Here's the crunch: I was wondering if any of you could give me at least a vague description of where I am now as a rider, so I can at least kind of picture what I need to be looking for in a horse, AND how to interpret the lingo of horse dealing.
* I am taking lessons at a local riding school (english dicipline)
* The instructor is university educated and accredited
* I have been riding for 1.5 years at this riding school
* I can walk/trot/canter quite well on schoolmasters and although I've had a few falls on the school's advanced (level 3) horses, I am gaining confidence on the school's intermediate (level 2) horses
* I have an independant seat
* I can collect, shoulder in, half pass (not well, and only at walk)
* I am jumping 1.5 feet confidently, and 2 feet not-so-confidently (but still in a strong position)
* I can do walk to canter transitions on certain horses
* I can maintain my seat easily when a horse shies/refuses/runs out on a jump at trot, and regain my balance quite easily doing the same at canter
* I can handle bad-mannered horses in the arena
* I am capable of tacking/floating/lifting feet and applying medication/bandages without help
* I help out the riding school during school holidays with the young riders holiday program
* I can jump small logs and puddles out in the paddock
* I can swim horses quite well through the local creek
* I have been riding a 6 yr/old 16.3hh TB/QH
* I am capable of driving a horse forward out of a buck/rear
* SOMETIMES I can perform a flying change
* I am able to mix feeds, sometimes needed for several horses with special dietary needs
* I have quiet hands, although sometimes turning into piano fingers
* I have solid legs, able to keep my heels down without thinking about it, and keep them quite still without jabbing the horse
* I do tend to lean forward a little bit at the canter, and if I'm nervous, I automatically go into two-point position and have to go back to trot to re-acheive contact with the saddle!
* I am capable of riding on the road both alone and with other horses
* I am able to ride through a horse misbehaving
* I am starting to learn how to ride bareback/without stirrups
* I have NEVER worked on a lunge (not sure if that's bad or good, just letting you know! )
There! Sorry for the novel guys, but I haven't actually ever written down what I've learned in the past year or so. Wow! After coming to the school as a happy (once-a-year) hacker with a LOT of bad habits, to be able to properly collect a horse, well, I'm a teensy bit proud of myself. I've also just worked myself back to riding after a 3 month interlude due to injury (I tore some cartlidge in my medial meniscus on the left knee) Ouch!
I have to watch myself when I'm mounting/dismounting still, and need a block to make sure I don't jar it, but I'm getting there.
So......what am I? Beginner, Novice, Intermediate??? (It's probably beginner, but both my instructor and I feel that I'm outgrowing the schoolmasters out at the riding school and I need to know my status. Again, sorry for the lack of photos, but it is physically impossible for me to capture them at the moment.