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Blind Wanna-be Rider

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    12-22-2011, 04:03 PM
Mellow means a horse that is not flighty or rambunctious - kind of "laid back".

Well broke means a horse that is very well trained. The last thing any new rider needs - and especially a handicapped rider - is a horse that needs a trainer. You want a horse that knows it's job so it can help teach you.
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    12-22-2011, 04:15 PM
Originally Posted by parham    

I read a message from SMRobs that said the horse should be mellow and very well broke. How can I know whether the horse is "mellow", and what does "very well broke" mean?
The best plan to judge that would be to have an experienced horse person or trainer help you.

This is one of those things that is hard to put into words. "Mellow" meaning a very laid back disposition, not inclined to spook, buck, or act out as it could be very tough to handle some of those things without the ability to see the horse. Horses give a lot of visual indicators that they are unhappy, such as pinning their ears or switching their tails.

Very well broke, meaning well trained and responsive to all cues, be it voice, hands, legs or your seat. There are horses that have been under saddle for many, many years that may not be "well broke" to some but may be to others. A horse that will go where you say, when you say and at the speed you ask for without question.

Generally speaking, those types of horses have a bit of age on them and tons of experience. Most horses used for beginner lessons should be that type of horse.
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    12-22-2011, 04:15 PM
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
There are programs, mildot, that speak the text.
True. My classmate was legally blind still she managed to pass exams and get her PhD (she's making her own TV shows now).

Parham, first of all, Welcome to the Forum!

Second, as number of people already said, why not? The real difficulty is to find an appropriate lesson program (that has very quite horses and trainers knowing how to deal with people like you). Where I live I'm aware of at least one lesson program dealing with people with disabilities. I don't know about your country, but if you really want it I'd ask around if there is anything close to you and then just talk directly to the trainer.
    12-22-2011, 05:46 PM
Parham, it would be very interesting to hear from you in future how you are doing! I wish you the best for your first times on horses back!
    12-23-2011, 02:50 AM
Originally Posted by kitten_Val    
I don't know about your country, but if you really want it I'd ask around if there is anything close to you and then just talk directly to the trainer.
Thanks for the offer! If you have access to such resources, sure, that'd help a lot.

Thanks to everyone for helping me understand the meaning of the words (horse-riding glossary anyone?) :)

And, I'll keep you guys updated about my progress. Thank you for being so understanding and open. To be honest, I came here, braced to read lots of “blind? Riding? As impossible as UFOs!” You people are the best! :)
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    12-23-2011, 03:05 AM
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
There are programs, mildot, that speak the text.
This I get, but how do you know that the riding in Western movies is "refreshing" or thrilling unless it's just a description with sound effects?
    12-23-2011, 03:12 AM
Originally Posted by bubba13    
This I get, but how do you know that the riding in Western movies is "refreshing" or thrilling unless it's just a description with sound effects?
Bubba13, first of all, allow me to assure you (and everyone else on this forum) that I enjoy answering questions like this and sharing information in any form, so you can always PM me or just ask in threads. Even though we're going a bit off-topic, the question posed here is, in my humble opinion, an interesting question that I hadn't considered before.

You see, when you watch a movie, it's not the video that makes you cringe, or grit your teeth, or lean forward in your seat. It's the sound effects, it's the soundtrack, it's the plot, and the actors. There are audio described movies. If you buy a DVD and look in the track listing, some of them have a track called something like "English (with audio description)" or "English (audio described)". There are channels such as BBC and IMTV that provide audio-described content, too. So, that's how they are refreshing and thrilling. And I wasn't talking about western movies; I personally hate the gangster and sheriff clichés. I was referring to horse-racing movies, or fantasy ones.
    12-23-2011, 06:59 AM
Parham, What pluck you have. I admire your spirit.
In the international para olympic circuit I am told that there are several blind riders but in the teaching of those handicapped riders there is a lot of acquired expertise.

To learn you'd need to find a very broad minded experienced instructor who is prepared to think broadly on the challenges you will face. It might help initially to work alongside a professional therapist who specializes in working with the disabled.

You will work in a fenced , flat sandy arena. Initially off the lunge. Look up "long reining", "lunge work", "Pessoa".

The key to your success undoubtedly will be in the horse. I have met with a horse who works with sighted riders who are paralysed from the waist down. It was amazing how well they worked together.

The instructor is an important ingredient in your training but it is the horse which will adapt to your needs. Such horses are not easy to come by and those people lucky who own them are reluctant to part with them. But such horses do exist.

I suggest you do a Google and make contact with the Riding for the Disabled organisation in the UK. They might already have the names of instructors working with blind people. They can no doubt help from afar.

You will also need to tone up the muscles of the centre core ie stomach, lower back so see if you can find a Pilates practitioner. Also it might pay to speak with a physiotherapist to check if you have any posture issues to sort out. She will give you some exercises to stretch the ham strings and calf muscles.

From the very beginning you'll need a sturdy riding hat, a body protector, knee and elbow pads. These can be bought over the Internet from organisation such as Rideaway.

Also I personally would suggest you learn how to groom a horse - as the personal relationship between you and the horse you need to find will be an important element in your riding.

The Iranian horses I have seen photos of have been spectacular but I suspect you might need to find something like a Dales - a breed known to be strong, steady, calm and not too tall. Dales were bred as pack animals and have a rythmic gait.

The more I think about the problem, the more I think it is workable - so long as you are prepared to take a tumble or two in the process of learning. It is nice to find an opportunity to bring individual people together when our political masters only seem to want to argue.

What you are thinking to do could be fun. Enjoy.

Keep us posted.
    12-23-2011, 07:16 AM
Hello Barry,

Thanks a lot for your very informative message. There's a lot I've got to learn from your message, so I will come back to it in the future, too.

Unfortunately, as I said, the Iranian view riding for the blind as something divine that only someone very gifted—or through God's hand, no less!—could master. So, I'm afraid I'm not really counting on any instructor that has special experience instructing the blind (or any other handicapped people for that matter) and I have to just beg the instructor to consider the fact that, “he might be able to. He just might.”

Also, since I can't transfer any money into or outside Iran (due to Iran's I-am-right-and-everyone-else-is-wrong policies), I have to trust in local riding supplies to be good enough.

After being emboldened by wonderful people on this forum like you, however, I just got the guts to take a plunge and go and secretly talk to an instructor face-to-face and see what comes of it. I say secretly because I have to hide it from my family too, who believe riding a horse is just plain dangerous and life-threatening.
    12-23-2011, 09:59 AM
Parham, you are a forceful, well spoken, intelligent person so it seems we must help you if we can but what we can do over the internet is strictly limited. The current political squabbles between the Middle East and the West make matters even more difficult. Your pluck in even considering such a venture is admirable in the circumstances. Maybe we can best assist currently by helping you to plan for learning to ride as a blind person with the thought that circumstances will one day change and hopefully for the better.

Nothing can happen unless you can find a home for the horse which can, in the early stages, be looked over by sighted, friendly, country folk.
The horse needs care from sighted humans and also you need to 'borrow' the use of their sight.
(1) Would these people support in you in face of disapproval from your family?
(1b) Is there within reach a convenient stable and pasture, owned by friendly country folk who are knowledgable of horses???
(1c) Is there close by those stables a flat area in which a training arena could be erected? The surface should be of sand and the arena should be fenced to waist height with timber post and rail?
(2) Do you have a sighted friend preferably one who rides with whom you can work in partnership?
(3) Your taking on ownership of the horse is a 24/7 responsibility - a serious long term commitment by you to the well being of the animal. Do you have you the money, the time and the commitment?
(4) Most country folks look on horses differently from sports riders. Farmers see the animal as a tool whereas for you it must become a companion. Remember it can easily kill you - it weighs the same as a private car. So the animal must come with time to feel that it must protect you. Amazingly some horses do become protective towards their human. However to achieve this state of mind, you must be involved in feeding it, grooming it and handling it. Your hands will come to replace your lack of sight. You will talk to it with your hands. Slowly the animal will come to know that you are blind.
(4) In time you and your clothes will start to smell of horses - how will that affect your relationship with others?
You and the horse have one thing in common - fear - which is the biggest hurdle you will have to overcome. If you feel fear you will tense up involuntarily, the animal will sense your tension and it will become nervous and will behave erratically The horse you need must stay calm in all circumstances - you need a working horse not a fancy sports horse.
(5) Can you look for and buy such an animal if you find the facilities to keep it?
(6) Ask yourself, could you sit on a horse, initially led in hand by a competent sighted rider, and ask the handler to let go?????
Before you even set out on this quest you must as yourself about your personal values.
(7) What happens when you tread in a pile of dung - how will you clean your shoes?????? Can you cope?
(8) What happens when for the first time you fall off the horse and suffer injury? Does the family come along and remove the horse They are correct in one respect - a horse could easily kill you . For a long time you as a blind person should never ride alone - even after you have learned to sit the horse.

What you asked for, to be able to ride as a blind person, is within limitations certainly possible in the UK but whether the facilities you need locally to succeed is available in Iran is another matter. I am not competent to judge. In your Muslim world there are influences of which I as an agnostic British male have no comprehension.

In the mean time may I suggest that you look up which is a very well written site which will tell you much about what you need to know about riding a horse.
Also that you also look up Dr Alexander and read about his thoughts on how the brain works. Surprisingly riding is as much a mental sport as a physical one. He writes about how the brain learns by rote and somewhere he will have explained how the brain takes over and compensates for the loss of a sense such as sight. You will have other heightened senses which sighted people lack.

Parham, in the meantime keep plugging away with your research. It is a pity you can’t take a holiday and do some research on the subject in the UK . You never know a trip might be possible sometime in the future.

blind, riding

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