How long does it take? New rider trying to learn everything - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Minnesota, currently in Montana
Posts: 109
• Horses: 0
How long does it take? New rider trying to learn everything

I know everyone learns at different rates, and that individual lifestyles play a huge role, but I'm moreso curious about other's opinions and personal experiances. I am 25, and am just now at a point in my life where I can focus my time on taking lessons in preperation of owning my first horse. I took lessons when I was about 6, so basicly I'm starting off from the very begining again. I'm lucky enough to have found a trainer whom I adore and have been taking lessons about every other week (money limits me).

I know with only 2 hours a month on horseback I'm very limited,, and it all still seems kind of jumbled trying to remember to do everything at the same time. Been working at a trot the last few lessons, getting better at posting but still havent quite found that rhythm. How long abouts does it take that muscle memory to become solid so I don't have to contunually think about where everything needs to be?

In other words I'm venting about only able to have that much time with horses when I so desperatly want and need more! Just looking from those who have more experiance that being stuck with only a couple hours a month isn't going to hurt me later down the road by slowing everything down, besides the fact that it's slowing everything down.
TwistedSerpent is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 04:29 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 4,847
• Horses: 1
Two hours a month isn't very much. You'll likely spend a significant portion of the lesson going over what you learned last time.

Unfortunately there isn't a straight time line I can give you. It does depend on you, and also your instructor, and what your lessons are like. Some people naturally pick up riding a little better than others, so I don't know when you'll be trotting without thinking about it, but it might take a while.

Be aware, horses generally cost more than two lessons a month. When I was a kid and wanted my own horse my parents were very reluctant, so I had two lessons a week, and then three, and then they thought that owning a horse would be cheaper. So we got a horse but it was still more expensive to maintain than 3 lessons a week.

Within a year of riding I was walking, trotting and cantering confidently but that was on a school horse, which is really a very different experience to a non-school horse, but I would take weekly lessons as well as holiday camps at my riding school. My riding improved very quickly when I got my own horse, and not just because I could ride regularly but because a horse that you have to actually control, teach etc. teaches you a whole lot more.

Although, riding can get a lot better in a short time. I helped teach a little at Pony Club camp, and had my own troop, and while they were children, some of them improved so much over the course of a week. Its not just the hours you put in, but how close they are together, and after a week of riding 4 hours a day people improve a lot.

Generally being fit and flexible will probably help you, but riding is like everything else, to be good you have to put in the time. People learning an instrument practice everyday, and the same with riding, you've got to work at it. Riders can make it look easy, invisibly cuing the horse, but they didn't get there in a week, or in a year, or sometimes even in five years.

If its a funding problem perhaps look at seeing if you can do some work in exchange for lessons, if you really do want to learn everything and quickly you've got to ride more.
Saskia is offline  
post #3 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Minnesota, currently in Montana
Posts: 109
• Horses: 0
I do fully understand the cost, it's going to be a good few years before I can even start planning on getting my own. I have a good part time job, however as we all know most places are refusing to give out full time positions and I refuse to kill myself yet be forced to stay just a few minutes below full time hours so I don't get the benefits. It's going to be a matter of waiting until either something full time does open up, or another job with better oppertunities comes around (or wait until I'm completely bill free in about 5 years).

I'm not trying to be in a rush, but it's hard not to want more then you can get when you really enjoy it.

Being fit is causing many of my road blocks actually, instead of moving along with the horse I tend to force and power myself through it. My trainer says I'm the exact opposite of everyone else she works with with our difficulties. The horse they have my on is a 4yr old reiner who needs a lot of motivation to get to work, so I'm really learning in that aspect too which might be why everything seems so slow to me, correcting the horse and myself at the same time. It will be a nice feeling once all these loose ends start pulling themselves together.
TwistedSerpent is offline  
post #4 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 17,193
• Horses: 0
You might consider holding off on a few lessons and then go three or four days in a row. When I start kids out I recommend to the parent the first three lessons are daily as much that is learned is retained. Then weekly or whatever the budget affords.
Saddlebag is offline  
post #5 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 01:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 214
• Horses: 0
Saskia hit it dead on.

Honestly, you learn more owning/caring for a horse then you ever could just taking lessons, in my opinion.

My favorite trainer always said in order to be a great rider, you have to be a great partner first. Which = understanding how a horse thinks - not just how a horse thinks, but how your horse thinks. Every horse is different.

As for posting? Honestly, I've been riding for at least 5 days a week since I was 4 years old, (which is almost 11 years now..) taking lessons here and there, and I still can't post perfectly. I guess after a while, you just forget about thinking! Just keep riding and it'll come! Bareback riding REALLY helps you feel a horse's trot if you want to (it's pretty hard to post while bareback though.. haha!)..

May I suggest leasing or even half-leasing? Then you spend time with the horse without having to buy it.
RunJumpRide is offline  
post #6 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,156
• Horses: 0
It takes a good amount of time. Two hours a month is not much. I have been riding for almost six years now on and off and I have been taking lessons consistently for almost two years now. I still have a lot to learn. There are MANY things that you need to learn in order to own a horse and trust me right now it probably seems easy because you're just doing somewhat beginner things and probably riding a beginner lesson horse.

Non riding stuff:

*Vices and how to recognize, fix and/or control them.
*Common injuries and how to treat them and when to call the vet.
*How to tack up quickly and efficiently in your chosen discipline..
*How to groom.
*How to feed and water a horse correctly (this is useful to know even if you won't be doing it yourself).
*How to actually BUY a horse! There are many things to remember so you can have the best possible buying experience and get the proper horse for you, such as bringing someone who KNOWS horses with you, getting a vet check, etc.
*How to lunge a horse.
*How to lead and halter a horse (easy but...still lol).
*How to put a fly mask on.
*How to put a blanket on.


*How to find the right length for your stirrups.
*How to hold the reins.
*Being able to post, sit, and extend the trot confidently with and without stirrups. Be able to at least post/sit to the trot bareback, wether you decide to post or sit depending on the horse's trot. Getting the right diagonals while posting.
*How to canter, preferably both in the arena and on trails as well as without stirrups.
*How to jump at least small cross-rails. You never know when a horse may decide jumping over random things is a good idea.
*How to control a bucking horse.
*How to control an otherwise moody, misbehaving horse.

And it goes on. As for how long it takes to learn everything...depends on the person, of course! But for posting, it took both me and my cousins several months to really get our posting to a nice movement we don't really have to think about. But I'm not sure there's a point you don't have to think about where things are. Even my instructors say they still forget to put their heels down every now and again! So it's really just a "practice makes perfect" kind of thing so that you don't have to think about everything constantly.
Cinder is offline  
post #7 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Palmyra, Wisconsin
Posts: 6,092
• Horses: 4
I've been doing this longer than I care to admit & I still don't know everything.
Set small goals for yourself then add new ones as you progress.
natisha is offline  
post #8 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Quebec
Posts: 1,847
• Horses: 0
Well, it takes a while. I've been riding for a total of 4 years, however it doesn't feel so long because for the first 2 years I only rode in the summer (so 2 months), then the year after I rode every week in the summer, then every 2-3 weeks during the year while stopping during the months of december, january and february.

This year I'll be riding as much as the last (maybe a bit more). So, after 4 years of irregular riding, I know aroudn 3/4 of Cinder's list.

Every 2 weeks isn't much, but it's a good start. I suggest you do what I did: ravage the Internet and make Google your new best friend. Read buckets of horse articles. Subscribe yourself to a horse magazine. If you're in Canada I suggest Horse Canada. They have a lot of useful information on riding, horse care, training...

DOn't worry, I also wondered how long it would take for everything to become automatic. It will come when you least expect it. ;) I don't know the details of your barn, but since you cannot afford more lessons, maybe ask your trainer if you could come every other week to the barn to just look at lessons and perhaps groom your school horse... maybe even help with the horses (like turn them out).
Spending time with horses out of the saddle helps a lot to understand them, which will help immensely when handling and riding them. Good luck!
jinxremoving and tinyliny like this.

A ride a day keeps the worries away!

Last edited by Hidalgo13; 10-09-2011 at 04:55 PM.
Hidalgo13 is offline  
post #9 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 5,455
• Horses: 1
I would recommend that you continue to take lessons before you buy your own horse. There are many things you need to learn before you buy your own horse and if you can only afford two lessons per week you can't afford to board a horse and take two lessons per week. You will benefit greatly from the lessons.

Every horse is slightly different but they all think the same. Some people will want to argue about that and that's fine but in my experience the thinking is the same although the reactions may differ slightly.

Hopefully you will never stop learning new things. I have been riding for 30 years and training professionally for 15 and I learn something new with every horse I ride. When I stop learning new things I'll sell my saddle and quit riding and that's the advice I'd give anyone.

I will NEVER know enough!
smrobs and SorrelHorse like this.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
kevinshorses is offline  
post #10 of 14 Old 10-09-2011, 10:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 5,582
• Horses: 2
I have personally never taken a lesson of any sort. Anything I've learned is from just someone giving me a tip, watching others, or reading books and articles on the internet. I've owned my mare for a little over a year and there is an unbelievable amount I don't know. I ask questions and research what I want to learn. I sit in the bookstore and read. Hidalgo said it too: Just research what you're interested in. It'll keep you busy with horse-related subject matter between lessons and be beneficial for your overall horsemanship.
Poseidon is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Seeking Jumping Saddle advice for long-legged rider! EventinginMI Horse Tack and Equipment 12 08-02-2010 11:09 AM
New Re-Rider from NC: Long ramble and picture from first lesson! Breezeey Meet the Community 6 03-04-2010 08:46 AM
How long to learn to feel the horse. benheschen English Riding 13 10-17-2009 09:57 PM
new trail rider!!! (long) dreamrideredc Trail Riding 13 07-27-2009 06:31 AM
horse and rider learn dressage 2gether? horselover85 Dressage 3 06-25-2009 09:16 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome