English riding instructor teaching western riding? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 11:24 AM
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Oh hun....I hear ya......
The instructor is actually quite good. But she should keep it less complicated, one thing at a time. Could you ask that of her? Riding is actually quite logical. Look in the direction you want to go and your body will automatically give the right aids for the horse to follow.
I wish I was closer.......
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman View Post
Oh hun....I hear ya......
The instructor is actually quite good. But she should keep it less complicated, one thing at a time. Could you ask that of her? Riding is actually quite logical. Look in the direction you want to go and your body will automatically give the right aids for the horse to follow.
I wish I was closer.......
My brain must be leaving me as I age, I swear. I thought it was more logical, or at least it seemed that way, until I've had to change everything I was doing. You are right, maybe too many things at once. I must say though, the place that made me nervous, no longer made me nervous, because I was too busy focusing on the other four things I was supposed to be doing all at once during that time!

I am going to try and practice one thing at a time and get comfortable with each. I'm a litteral and logical thinker, so it has to all physically make sense as I practice it. I want to just ride bareback at the walk and get a real feel for the horse. I do know that I was pushing too much with my seat, thinking I had to, and then throwing my horses off. I also hold them back, especially Belle since she is so big, when I ask them to go more forward, but then hold them back due to my fear of the unknown.

I am so grateful that my horses put up with me and take care of me. Belle and Snickers babysit me...lol.
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post #13 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 12:07 PM
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They probably sit down at night and figure out the way to break it down for you....
Can you ride Belle in the roundpen instead of a large arena for a while? It might give you a little more security.
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post #14 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 12:31 PM
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I've told this story before, but repeat it FWIW:

I've got a bunch of books on riding. When I tried to figure out how to cue the horse to canter, it seemed to all be, "Push the right side of your hip here, turn your left ankle inside out, breathe deeply 3 times, and fart gently, directing the gas out to the left side of the horse..." Don't know about you, but I never thought of my hips as having independently moving sides...

I was taking western lessons at the time, so I asked the other, more experienced riders in the lesson how to cue a horse to canter. They all looked at me kind of odd, and finally one replied, "Kick harder?"

There is a lot of truth to that in how I cue my horses. I usually trash talk to them first: "You want to canter? YOU want to CANTER? You're just a nag...you aren't strong enough to canter!" Since my horses understand my eccentricity, they get a bit excited. Then a firm squeeze with the legs, and we're off! And since a lot of our cantering is on a trail, I don't worry about leads.

That obviously isn't 'proper' riding. Imagine watching a show, WP or dressage or ANY show, and hearing the rider say in a loud voice, "You aren't HORSE enough to canter!" - and then cantering after the horse got excited. Any judge that didn't laugh would probably toss a beer can at me!

How much English and Western riding differ depends on the style of both. Western riding includes the old style cowboy approach, which can drive modern riders nuts:



I often direct rein, which I don't associate with western riding. How much slack, if any, in the reins depends on the horse - Trooper gets a lot, while Mia prefers very little. But then, one of the reasons I consider myself to be a western rider, even if I often use a *******ized forward seat and an Aussie-style saddle, is that I'm only interested in what my horse and I like.

I also find, as an older rider who took it up late, that a lot of the instructors I've met seem to focus on how they learned when they were 10 or 12, rather than prioritize things based on how a much older body bends, moves, etc. I think an older rider benefits more if you work on one thing at a time, or accept that some things won't happen right away. After 5 years of riding, my heels aren't as far forward and my toes aren't quite 90 deg out any more, but I wasn't physically capable of riding in the 'correct position' at the start. Can't now either, and one foot sticks out sideways more than the other. Finding an instructor who appreciates both the different capabilities of an older body, coupled with an older mind that understands that a fall hurts more as we age...that's tough. They exist, but they aren't hanging around everywhere.

< / rant >

BTW - Good luck!
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... Energy is an admirable thing, but the energy of stupidity seldom avails much..." - On Seats and Saddles (1868), Francis Dwyer, Major of Hussars (light cavalry)

Last edited by bsms; 03-29-2013 at 12:35 PM.
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post #15 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 12:43 PM
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You mentioned there was another trainer that you might try. It seems to me the basics of English and western should be the same but the trainer you have been working with does not seem to be working for you. Some can ride, some can teach, some can do both, and some can't.
If you could start out with this other one, begin by showing just what you are doing as far a cueing your horse. The fact that this person will go out on trails is a good thing also.
I'm sorry this has been an ordeal. I hope this gets better for you and your horses.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #16 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Desert and BSMS....I really started feeling like a failure and not being smart enough to ride my horses. I think I will go to the roundpen. I'm not scared of riding Belle's faster trot, I'm scared of her going into the canter and doing her crow hop or lead change and me falling out of the saddle again. I also made the mistake when I first started asking for the canter, of running the diagonal down the arean towards the gate to get her to speed up. So, now when we are in that corner and she speeds up, ever so slightly, I panic. I hold her back and she babysits me, no wonder she won't canter with me....either of us are ready for that.

BSMS, I am with you, learning to ride later in life, after my body is already set in it's ways. I agree that it's so different teaching an old person to ride than a ten year old. I guess I associated that I was doing it right with my horses because the outcome was usually what I ask.....as far as turning, yielding, backing etc. It's going forward that I'm screwing things up with my own body. Well, actually all of it, but that's where I've had the problems...lol.

Desert...I'm still unemployed, so I have plenty of time to practice at the moment!
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post #17 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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You mentioned there was another trainer that you might try. It seems to me the basics of English and western should be the same but the trainer you have been working with does not seem to be working for you. Some can ride, some can teach, some can do both, and some can't.
If you could start out with this other one, begin by showing just what you are doing as far a cueing your horse. The fact that this person will go out on trails is a good thing also.
I'm sorry this has been an ordeal. I hope this gets better for you and your horses.

Thanks Dustbunny, I think when I add some more lessons, I will do just that. I went on a camping trip last weekend and she was there teaching another rider older than myself, who has the same fears. She was very laid back and I enjoyed her company.
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post #18 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 12:49 PM
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I once tried to get my daughter to canter, using Trooper. Trooper & I had cantered a number of times at that point, and I knew he could do it & that he loved cantering. However, my daughter couldn't get him to canter at all. Total failure after about 30 minutes of trying.

After the ride, she admitted to me she was nervous about cantering and didn't really want to do it. She didn't feel ready.

About 6 months later, she was riding in our little arena, and suddenly she & Trooper were cantering. I asked her about it, and she said she wanted to try cantering, and she squeezed a little...and Trooper immediately cantered. He knew. And he did what she WANTED, not what she 'said'. Trooper believes in taking care of his rider (unlike Mia, who figures staying on is MY problem).

... Energy is an admirable thing, but the energy of stupidity seldom avails much..." - On Seats and Saddles (1868), Francis Dwyer, Major of Hussars (light cavalry)
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post #19 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 12:55 PM
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Amen to bsms's post!

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #20 of 23 Old 03-29-2013, 01:23 PM
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While I don't find fault in the fact that a primarily English rider teaches Western (at least on a basic level, or figures out a way to smoothly intertwine the two), I am concerned that she is confusing you (and others, for that matter). A good instructor (any discipline) will have you walk away feeling more confident and with clear training tools/exercises to practice and build upon in their absence. If the lady is doing the complete opposite of that, then regardless of discipline, you should find an instructor who helps you grow, as opposed to oppressing you!
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