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Beginner adult male rider..

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  • Should farriers wear jockstraps
  • Groin strain horse riding sitting trot

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    12-16-2011, 08:26 PM
  #41
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    

No need to wear a cup, and none that I know of to wear a jock strap, BTW.

Best off to NOT wear anything. Stiffen Peters got all the attention he wanted by letting the jewels hang loose.



     
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    12-16-2011, 08:32 PM
  #42
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyder    
...Stiffen Peters got all the attention he wanted by letting the jewels hang loose...
If I did that, the only attention I would garner would be from paramedics. Tighty whities and jeans suffice. Going commando? I whimper with pain at the thought.

Although, if that is the fellow in a well known picture, "loose" doesn't really describe the situation.
jinxremoving likes this.
     
    12-16-2011, 08:38 PM
  #43
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by mind    
I'm glad Ian and iridehorses brought the subject of trail rides up, because that relates to another question I was planning on asking. In addition to private lessons to focus on building fundamental skills, there's a local barn that allows you to pay a flat monthly fee and in exchange you can go for as many guided trail ride as you like, potentially that would give me an option for inexpensive saddle time. Would it be better to focus on strictly taking lessons, or would trail rides we a good way of getting time on a horse and practice what I'm learning a bit?
I would certainly encourage you to do both. For those of us that love the open spaces and trails, we use the ring to teach/practice the basics and provide an contained environment with reduced distractions for both the rider and the horse, (semi) jokingly to get someone to the point that they won't kill themselves. Outside the ring, though, is the real world, where every ride is different and there is nothing more pleasurable to me than getting on your horse, looking around, and deciding "where should we explore today?" Whatever you decide, set aside some fun, relaxing saddle time where you're not concentrating on all the details from your lessons. I've met many people that lost their desire to ride because they turned it into work... there is a time to learn, and a time to enjoy.

Quote:
I go to the gym often, hopefully that will help prevent me from being too sore. If I am though, being sore is a small price to pay for time with a horse
Riding is about balance, and balance comes from core muscle strength. If you have that, any soreness will be short lived.

Good luck, enjoy, and be safe.
     
    12-16-2011, 08:55 PM
  #44
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    

Although, if that is the fellow in a well known picture, "loose" doesn't really describe the situation.

True .... he sure pointed male riders into a new fashion direction!
     
    12-16-2011, 10:21 PM
  #45
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by mind    
I go to the gym often, hopefully that will help prevent me from being too sore. If I am though, being sore is a small price to pay for time with a horse
You better start working on a LOT of flexibility of your hip joints and groin muscles/ligaments.

Granted, I'm 20+ years older but when I started riding the muscular soreness around my hip joints and groin were almost too much.

But it gets much better with time on the saddle. And LOTS of pre and post ride stretching.
Skyseternalangel likes this.
     
    12-17-2011, 06:52 AM
  #46
Started
Mind - another issue which has not been mentioned is the size and fit of the English saddle. Most men need at least a 17.5 inch saddle whereas a slim woman can sit comfortably on a 16.5 inch. I did once use an 18inch saddle

Some modern saddles rise up towards the pommel which again gives problems to the male anatomy. A man usually needs a flat topped saddle rather than a deep saddle.

A woman when riding presses her crutch down and tries to sit flat on the saddle in the so called '3 point seat'. An inexperienced novice male rider who still bounces in the seat, especially at the sitting trot, will find this painful - until his body learns the knack of not crushing his male parts.

If you go to a riding centre where lots of different young women are taught on the horse regularly allocated to you, you may find that the saddle fits the horse well enough but it feels uncomfortable for you.

Until you eventually buy your own horse and a saddle which fits the horse and which feels comfortable to you, you may have to come to terms with the problem. To solve the problem you'll then put more weight on the stirrup bars than a young woman might when riding the same horse in the same saddle. You might be better off using a riding centre which favours jumping rather than dressage. The dressage seat tends to be deeper.

A British saddler, will select a saddle which fits well the shape of the horse's back and then once the saddle has been chosen, the saddler will ask the regular rider to check it out for comfort at all paces. Sometimes it is found that the saddle selected suits a female rider but not a male.

A saddle which is not comfortable to the rider can be made more acceptable by the use of a saddle pad - but if the saddle is too short then you'll need either a different saddle or a horse with a longer back and a longer saddle.

As I wrote before, the essential first step for a novice male rider is to learn how to adopt the correct seating position and if the saddle doesn't suit, that will prove to be difficult.

Yes, you should find a school which employs an instructor you feel comfortble with, but that school must also have a school master horse on which you feel comfortable to ride - and that includes the saddle.
     
    12-17-2011, 09:16 AM
  #47
Trained
FWIW...for beginning riding, I would recommend starting western.

I started at 50, after 40 years of jogging. It wasn't so much that my LEGS were tight, although they were. The problem in riding was that my HIPS and LOWER BACK were very tight. That tightness helped keep me healthy during 40 years of jogging, but it made it very hard to ride well.

I suspect most men, even in their 20s, have tighter hips than most women.

Western riding is more forgiving of tight hips. Many western saddles will have your feet about 6" forward of the classic "shoulder / hip / heel" vertical line. That is called a "chair seat", and is looked down upon by English riding. However, it has some advantages:

1 - If your hips are tight, you can ride in the dreaded 'chair seat' with a loose leg. IMHO, a loose leg is more desirable than perfect vertical alignment. So, if you hips are tight, a chair seat will work better than the more vertical seat.

2 - The dreaded chair seat makes it easy to keep your heels down. As you sit in your chair facing your computer, put your heel in alignment with your hip. Try to raise your toe. I cannot. Now move your heel under your knee. Try to raise your toe. Easy.

Heel down is not nirvana either. A loose leg is much better than heels down - but a chair seat allows those of us with tight bodies to have both.

Another reason for learning western first is your back.

Sitting in your chair, sit tall and straight. I've had instructors, and read well respected books, that tell you to imagine an angel is pulling your shoulders up into the sky.

If you are like me, you have just locked your lower back and made good riding almost impossible.

When western instructors shout, "Get on your seat pockets!", they don't mean lean back. They may think they do, because most western instructors, like most English instructors, don't know why things work. And I've read a lot of criticism by English riders who think it means lean back and shift your weight to the horse's rear - which is also incorrect.

What the western rider needs to do to get "on his seat pockets" - the lower edge of jeans pockets - is to stay vertical, but unlock your lower back and allow your hips to settle. Sitting tall rotates your hips forward. Settling - staying vertical but bringing your shoulders down - will result in your hips rotating a bit back...maybe even onto your pocket edge. But in the process, it will also unlock your lower back - and you cannot ride well with a locked back. Locked back = bounce.

Experienced riders can unlock their lower back and still have their hips rotated to a more forward position. That is nice, but hula dancers can also unlock their hips in ways that mine just will not follow!

That is one of the reasons I think western riding is more forgiving for a beginning adult. When your lower back unlocks, you can accept a sitting trot. If you can sit the trot well, you can probably pick up cantering easy. If you can canter, then galloping is easy.

Unfortunately, most riding instructors don't know or do not understand what I've just written. Most instructors start as young kids, when flexibility and looseness is easy. Most are also females, with more flexible hips and backs than most men. Most continue riding, and they know what is 'ideal' - but they know what is ideal for a loose, flexible body conditioned by lots of hours on a horse. They have no idea about the trade-offs involved in an adult learning to ride.

If/when your body loosens up from western riding, then English riding is relatively easy to learn. It requires more balance than beginning western riding, but 4-6 months of western instruction should have you comfortable with the basics, and loose enough - if taught well - to adjust to riding English without as many trade-offs as I mentioned above. Or, if you enjoy it, you could continue western. Western is easier for an adult to start with, but both disciplines can provide you with a lifetime of learning. Good western riding is as demanding as good English riding, although in somewhat different ways.

Sorry for the long rant, but Barry Godden's post got me to thinking about how saddles can impact how we learn - and my experience is that most instructors don't know much about how an adult body impacts learning.
     
    12-17-2011, 09:40 AM
  #48
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
Just to keep in mind, there are many different leasing options.. partial lease (usually 1-2 days) with no obligation to pay for anything of the horse's unless something happens whilst in your care.. then you foot the bill. So it'd be like those rental trail rides.. you pay to use the horse and that's it.

Then there's half lease where you ride usually 3+ days but are responsible for paying 1/2 board, 1/2 vet bills, 1/2 farrier usually because even those options have variants. It'd be kind of like renting your own horse for x amount of days per week, with a LOT more price tags involved.
Thank you, that is the exact information I needed.

I did some searching and familiarized myself with the general concepts of leasing a horse, but it's nice to have it laid out so clearly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mildot    
I'm a 45 YO male new rider (started almost a year ago).

I'm at a level I would call beginner-intermediate, meaning I am not a beginner anymore (I can w/t/c in confindence both on the arena and on the trails, understand and can perform basic lateral work, can ride solid, mostly accurate school figures, can get a horse on the bit and using his back without forcing him, etc, etc), but I have still SO much more to learn. Jumping is next on my list of things to begin learning.

I ride english exclusively, and I am concentrating on learning how to use dressage to improve both my leased horse and myself.
...

To the OP, please submit an after action report of your first lesson(s). We'd all like to know how that went.
To transition from a beginner to almost intermediate level within a year sounds like a very good rate of progress, correct me if I'm wrong. Knowing that it's possible to learn that much in a year is great motivation. Would you mind sharing how often you take lessons, what else you do for practice?

I'll definitely update the thread with how my first lesson goes, it will be a couple months until that can happen though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinxremoving    
I'm not sure how to respond to this, but I'll try because part of me feels like you're suggesting that if I carried myself in a more confident "manly" way that I wouldn't get stereotyped. For the record, I am not metrosexual or anything of that nature. I like to consider myself a mans man - in a straight way. A little bit white trash with my NASCAR loving and a little bit of a city slicker, but definitely 100% straight and I carry myself that way. I also kind of look like a thin lumberjack. :)

When I first started riding a friend of mine mentioned how it's great to see a straight guy riding English. I never actually thought about male riders as being either straight or gay until that moment, it doesn't matter anyway to me what someone is as long as they love riding. However, I ended up asking at least a dozen of my female rider friends and every single one of them had the opinion that most, not all, but most male English riders are gay.

While you haven't been stereotyped, maybe because you have a wife or children so it's obvious, there is definitely a large percentage of people both riders and non-riders who look at male English riders as possibly being gay. It's very strange to me, because I'm not sure where the stereotype originated from... most of the Grand Prix level riders have girlfriends and wives and families, but it does exist regardless of how the man carries himself.
I agree, age may be a factor in mildot not having is sexuality questioned, I've had mine questioned before for pointless reasons.

Although the entire stereotype that men riding english or generally engaging in any activity dominated by women are gay is absolutely ridiculous, it's an inescapable reality for some of us I guess. I just laugh when it happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares    
I would certainly encourage you to do both. For those of us that love the open spaces and trails, we use the ring to teach/practice the basics and provide an contained environment with reduced distractions for both the rider and the horse, (semi) jokingly to get someone to the point that they won't kill themselves. Outside the ring, though, is the real world, where every ride is different and there is nothing more pleasurable to me than getting on your horse, looking around, and deciding "where should we explore today?" Whatever you decide, set aside some fun, relaxing saddle time where you're not concentrating on all the details from your lessons. I've met many people that lost their desire to ride because they turned it into work... there is a time to learn, and a time to enjoy.

Riding is about balance, and balance comes from core muscle strength. If you have that, any soreness will be short lived.

Good luck, enjoy, and be safe.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. I can see how lessons being the only horse time would make something that's supposed to be pleasurable feel like work.

My core strength is pretty good I think, but I'll make good use the time leading up to starting lessons and work those muscles even more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
Mind - another issue which has not been mentioned is the size and fit of the English saddle. Most men need at least a 17.5 inch saddle whereas a slim woman can sit comfortably on a 16.5 inch. I did once use an 18inch saddle

Some modern saddles rise up towards the pommel which again gives problems to the male anatomy. A man usually needs a flat topped saddle rather than a deep saddle.

A woman when riding presses her crutch down and tries to sit flat on the saddle in the so called '3 point seat'. An inexperienced novice male rider who still bounces in the seat, especially at the sitting trot, will find this painful - until his body learns the knack of not crushing his male parts.

If you go to a riding centre where lots of different young women are taught on the horse regularly allocated to you, you may find that the saddle fits the horse well enough but it feels uncomfortable for you.

Until you eventually buy your own horse and a saddle which fits the horse and which feels comfortable to you, you may have to come to terms with the problem. To solve the problem you'll then put more weight on the stirrup bars than a young woman might when riding the same horse in the same saddle. You might be better off using a riding centre which favours jumping rather than dressage. The dressage seat tends to be deeper.

A British saddler, will select a saddle which fits well the shape of the horse's back and then once the saddle has been chosen, the saddler will ask the regular rider to check it out for comfort at all paces. Sometimes it is found that the saddle selected suits a female rider but not a male.

A saddle which is not comfortable to the rider can be made more acceptable by the use of a saddle pad - but if the saddle is too short then you'll need either a different saddle or a horse with a longer back and a longer saddle.

As I wrote before, the essential first step for a novice male rider is to learn how to adopt the correct seating position and if the saddle doesn't suit, that will prove to be difficult.

Yes, you should find a school which employs an instructor you feel comfortble with, but that school must also have a school master horse on which you feel comfortable to ride - and that includes the saddle.
Very, very good information, I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me that, thank you.
     
    12-17-2011, 10:02 AM
  #49
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by mind    
...My core strength is pretty good I think, but I'll make good use the time leading up to starting lessons and work those muscles even more...
Core strength tends to become a factor as you refine your riding. Take sitting the trot - trotting on a horse without posting - as an example.

If you have 'heavy' relaxed legs, that dead weight will help pull you into the saddle. Bracing against the stirrups can help even out the bounce, but in the long term, it prevents you from accepting the horse's motion. Dead weight below your hip helps hold the hips down.

A relaxed lower back will help accept the horse's motion, and absorb it.

Those two things by themselves will allow most people to sit the trot. Then you can add posting, to take some of the pressure off the horse's back, and you can add using some firmness in your tummy to help control your body as it absorbs the horse's motion during the sitting trot.

By combining a loose leg with a relaxed back, my daughter-in-law was sitting the trot...mmm, well, OK...during her first lesson.

But because I had tight hips, tight back, and braced against the stirrups, I bounced like crazy for the first TWO YEARS! It didn't help that when I took about 3 months of lessons in my 20s (30 years earlier), the instruction focused on counter productive (for a new rider) things like "Toes forward" (which with my body meant twisting my knees into the horse, creating a pivot point that I could bounce really high from!), or "Heels down!" (which I tried to do by forcing my heel down, creating tightness all the way from my hip to my heel, which meant I could bounce from the stirrup up ).

Now, on her next couple of lessons, my daughter-in-law needed to use her core to improve her posture while trotting. And after a half dozen lessons, she was ahead of where I spent several years getting - but then, most of what I was taught early on (or read about in books) was counter-productive. It wasn't WRONG, but it was trying to get me to do things my body wasn't ready to do. Heels down is good, but not if you do it by shoving them down with your leg muscles...
     
    12-17-2011, 10:12 AM
  #50
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by mind    
Thank you, that is the exact information I needed.

I did some searching and familiarized myself with the general concepts of leasing a horse, but it's nice to have it laid out so clearly.



To transition from a beginner to almost intermediate level within a year sounds like a very good rate of progress, correct me if I'm wrong. Knowing that it's possible to learn that much in a year is great motivation. Would you mind sharing how often you take lessons, what else you do for practice?

I'll definitely update the thread with how my first lesson goes, it will be a couple months until that can happen though.
You're welcome :)

Even though the second part wasn't addressed to me, the more you practice (in a chair... in your mind, on a horse, on the ground) the more progress you make. You can work on your legs and balance OFF of the horse easily by sitting on a medicine/yoga/exercise ball instead of a chair. You can work on steering by tying or looping a bathrobe tie around a chair and work on keeping your heels down and your position if you do squats with a chair (behind you so when you squat down, you can pretend you're on a horse [yes lame I know..] and without a chair to strengthen all of your leg muscles.. and even more so if you do it with tippy toes and with feet flat on the floor but toes flexed.

But if you're lucky enough to have a really good memory for how something FELT like the horses' walk, or what happened when you added more pressure to the one rein.. or how the stiffer brush worked versus the softer brush, you just need to sleep on it and things will start clicker faster. And the next time you're around the horse or on the horse, you'll have a better idea of what it FEELS like when you're doing it correctly.

I went from beginning beginner.. to an intermediate in about 8 months? And that's with a big move thrown into the mix where I couldn't ride for about 6 weeks.

It's possible to do it, so give it your all :)
     

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