Definition of Experience? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-07-2009, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Definition of Experience?

Okay, so not quite a Webster's dictionary sort of definition, but how do you define experience? What makes a rider an 'experienced rider'? What skills do they have? What's the difference between a beginning rider, an advanced beginner and an intermediate rider? How would a person know if they were at one level or another?

I know time can't be it, since it seems to me that a person could ride for years and years and yet never be 'experienced' or conversely, a new rider with appropriate training and dedication could become an 'experienced' rider within a few years. It seems like it would have to be the skills and abilities that define the rider.

Do you think the definitions are pretty well known? For example, if seller A says that the horse needs an intermediate rider, do you think most other people would agree with that? Or do people vary a lot in what they consider to be beginner/intermed/adv?
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-07-2009, 07:42 PM
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I think 'experienced' riders have experience. Haha. Riding for a few years. They've been trail riding/competing, they are very familiar with horses.

I think it goes:

Beginner Intermediate Experienced Advanced

Beginning is just starting.

Intermediate is you've been around.

Experienced is you are on the verge of training maybe. Lots of knowledge.

Advanced is advanced. :)

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post #3 of 23 Old 06-08-2009, 12:14 AM
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How I kinda always understood it is somethingl like this

Beginner: never ridden before, never been around horses

Intermediate: ridden some, usually broke horses, nothing green

Experienced: ridden lots of different types and temperments of horses. Can handle most situations well.

Advanced: has been around horses of all different types for a long time. trained or re-trained many horses and can handle almost any situation that comes up.

Of course, it all depends on what you have been exposed to and what you have attempted or been involved in. I have met people that have been riding for decades that I wouldn't consider much more than a novice. Then again, there are people who have been riding for only a couple of years who have amazing horse sense and I would consider them experienced. It all depends on quality, not quantity. :)

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post #4 of 23 Old 06-08-2009, 12:45 AM
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An old saying in England was -- You are not an experianced rider untilll you have fell off 7 times !
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-08-2009, 12:59 AM
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Hmm, this is something I've been thinking about.
I know I am a beginner for sure. I've taken 4 lessons so far, but I have ridden and read tons. The reading really does help me and I think I'm doing better then some with only 4 lessons under their belt. But I would never ride without someone there to tell me what to do better.
Intermediate to me is someone who can ride anything but rank horses. Someone who can stay on a buck or rear, but if they fall they get right back on (yeah I know I contradicted myself). They can ride alone no problem. But still need refining.
Advanced is someone who can train horses, and can ride the horses others can't. They can ride a horse with grace and fluidity.

This varies alot of course. Many things overlap other things and it gets all messy. So this is never set in stone. Its confusing.
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-08-2009, 06:23 AM
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I have never seen a consistant set of definitions beyond novice/beginner, and I personally don't like mixing riding and training in the definition(s). I know some very good, experienced riders who call themselves trainers that I trust to ride any of our horses, but I wouldn't trust to train an unbroke/green horse. Although there is certainly a common set of horse knowledge/behavior skills involved in both, at some point to be experienced (and good) at riding v. training requires a separate set of specialized skills, IMHO. That's not to say that a person cannot be experienced at both, just that it's tough to lump them together in one definition.

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post #7 of 23 Old 06-08-2009, 03:37 PM
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I usually think of a beginner as the range between unable to tack up without assistance or supervision to starting canter work. Cantering requires enough riding time and stability to meet my version of Intermediate, as far a riding goes. Intermediate can ride more difficult maneuvers on a trained horse, deal with moderate "issues" (spooking, minor vices, etc.), jump if English, perhaps ridden more than one discipline, and be quite proficient in the basics of horse care and management. An intermediate rider may be able to work with a relatively safe horse with issues with the supervision of a trainer. The advanced level runs from able to handle nearly every situation (under saddle and in the barn), and train a basically calm and quiet horse successfully to taking a green baby to seasoned competitor, deal with difficult problem horses, and manage a stable efficiently, perhaps give lessons. I have this unspoken, demigod level in my mind, too, I guess, above and beyond advanced. Advanced riders have to ask questions, too.

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post #8 of 23 Old 06-08-2009, 04:02 PM
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[QUOTE=Nutty Saddler;323106]An old saying in England was -- You are not an experianced rider untilll you have fell off 7 times ![/QUOTE

I've ridden intensely since I was little. I think I've only fallen of a handful of times...about three. And Blu has yet to get me off.

So this could be misguiding

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post #9 of 23 Old 06-10-2009, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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I like many of your responses.

It's tough for me, because in the dog world, I'm very experienced. I work with rescue animals- evaluating where they are mentally and in their training, work with them to improve their manners, and even rehab dangerous dogs or problem dogs. I help decide what sorts of homes would be suitable for which dogs. I'm not a show person by any means, though I do obediance and agility, it's for fun and for the mental work and challenge to us as a team, not because I want to compete against others. Add to that being a vet student and my dog-cred is though the roof. ;) I know what it means to be x, y, or z level of owner or trainer or whatever in dog-world.

Then I get into horses, and started about as green as you can get since I grew up in the city. I knew nothing about anything! I have progressed rapidly. It seems that some sort of animal sense (and common sense) apply to both, though I had to learn to account for the differences between predator species (dogs) and prey species (cats). I wish I had a magic scorecard I could rank myself against to see where I fall on the riding ability scale. I might be getting some video to post in a couple weeks that would probably help there.

Sometimes I see people do things with horses... people that *should* know more than I do, if you go by time of experience anyway, and I get uncomfortable. Because who am I, the newbie with only 18 months of horse-time, to say anything?

But hey, two falls down, five to go, right? ;D
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-11-2009, 01:09 AM
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An old saying in England was -- You are not an experianced rider untilll you have fell off 7 times !
i have always been told that its your not experienced until youve fallen off 100 times. 7 times is not very many, someone could have really bad balance and fall off that many times in one ride. and as blumagic said about herself, some ppl very very rarely fall off. i have gather from that saying that its not the amount of times you fall off, its the time that it takes to fall off 100 times. so maybe you dont fall off 100 times, thats just a number. its the amount of time you have been riding that counts

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