I'm 66 w two bad falls, one mediocre fall - feeling down - Page 5

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I'm 66 w two bad falls, one mediocre fall - feeling down

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    05-17-2013, 11:23 AM
Green Broke
I have truly enjoyed reading this thread and just wanted to say how inspired I am. Thank you to all of you.
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    05-17-2013, 11:27 AM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Your instructor at the dressage lesson should have paid more attention to your strenght level and fatigue. When I take lessons, I sometimes have to tell the instructor that I need a break. She may say, ' now canter" and I'll say, "hang on, I need to break for a minute." I can feel when I am becoming so fatugued that my seat is in jepardy. I am 55, by the way.

We have to move into a different approach to waht makes riding satisfying. I had a bit of a rant a ways back on this forum about how it pissed me off that my skill and knowledge were going up, just as my body was starting to decline. Other middle aged riders and older helped remind me to keep focussed on what I CAN get out of riding, and how ridng slower has its' joys, too.

I admire how brave you are, but be brave enough to say "No" when you need to take care of yourself. You must preserve your investment; the time you spend learning to ride, so that you can get as much out of it as possible in the coming years.
I know I know I know. I am so proud - too proud. Its definitely my downfall in a way. I don't want to say, "I can't do it." Or "I"m not up to it" and I hate saying, "I need to stop". I actually did take breaks during the posting but I should have opted out of the canter end of the circle and just did the posting trot.

That's the thing - Liny - I'm learning now that I DO have limits. I didn't think I did. I KNOW I'm 66 but it takes a while for me to learn what I can and can't do. I guess that's a part of growing older too - that reluctance to admit that I'm not what I was even five years ago.

Still, I've got to master what I can of this. I have such a deep love of horses, every one of them. THis guy was also "difficult". Didn't want me touching him. After a couple of hours of grooming and talking to him, he was butter for me. I am learning about their personalities. And the riding is such a sweet gift they give. I NEVER want to stop riding.

But I am going to stop pushing myself beyond. When I get tired, I have learned it's a serious matter. I am not going to "overcome" being tired. Someone else said it, about being young, you get hurt, you brush yourself off and do it again as soon as you can. But at my age, a fracture is a lot easier to get than it was back then. I dont' want to end up with a broken neck or a broken back or a broken anything. I just want some nice horse and me to ride off into the sunset.
tinyliny, Dustbunny and Sereno like this.
    05-17-2013, 11:29 AM
Originally Posted by Oldhorselady    
You have lots of good advice here. I'm 42 and definitely try to keep it to my level, just a fact of life. Just keep it real, not trying to re-live my childhood by any means.

I do ride with an 82 year old young woman. I do parade practice with her at another ranch and then we ride home together since our ranches are across the street from each other. We often take a nice trail ride before going home. All I have to say is that she is AMAZING! She doesn't have very good vision, she tells me, and has to rely on her horse...lol.

Here she is, riding in front of me a couple weeks ago on one of our post-parade practice trail rides home...lol.

she is just great! She sits so nicely too. :)
    05-17-2013, 11:34 AM
Originally Posted by bsms    
^^ Yeah, but pity whoever tried to TEACH us!

I love it. But it would be great, wouldn't it?

I think that's part of it too, since I'm putting it all there - I'm riding with college age kids - most of them very good riders. There are very few older riders. I do have one woman, an experienced dressage rider who's in her 50s and she's the one who said to me very quietly to only do what I can do and not necessarily what my instuctor asks of me. Pretty much what you guys have said.

I haven't said no because I have been too proud to say I can't.

Thank you all. I knew posting here, I would get the advice I needed.
tinyliny and Sereno like this.
    05-17-2013, 11:41 AM
Originally Posted by wetrain17    
I don't have any advice to add that hasn't been given already. I think its great you are trying to work through this instead of giving up as most people would. However, what I really want to know is where did you find those plaid breeches? I can never seem to find any I like online.
Smartpak Equine by FullerFillies. They're REALLY comfy. My husband laughs at them but I love them.
    05-17-2013, 12:02 PM
Originally Posted by wild old thing    
she is just great! She sits so nicely too. :)
She is a pretty awesome woman. She was a little tilted to the right towards the end in the saddle, but totally fine. We rode for an hour or so and she was wonderful conversation the whole way....once my horse caught up with hers...lol. You can really learn a lot from her.
    05-17-2013, 12:12 PM
FWIW, I think dressage is oversold as a style of riding. The books I have suggest it is for everyone. However, the dressage seat often taught is the one used by athletic, skilled riders on highly trained horses to demonstrate the skill and training of both. The dressage oriented books I have downplay how hard it is to ride dressage well, and by doing so they harm the average rider and horse.

For example, the modern dressage seat has a vertical line from ear to shoulder to hip to heel. The foot will be mostly flat in the stirrup instead of heel down. In comparison, the traditional western seat (which looks to me like most of the paintings and statues of riders going back 2500 years) has the leg angling to the front of the rider.

I've been playing around with this for some time, but riding 'western' in an English saddle has clarified for me WHY I find western easier: it uses my joints to my advantage. For example, most books, including dressage books, speak of having a relaxed leg draped around your horse. You should not grip with the knee, but let the weight flow uninterrupted into the heel.

Using the traditional western seat, I can adjust my stirrup length so that the bend of my knee is at the widest point of my mare's barrel. It doesn't matter if my hips are tight. It doesn't matter if some of my muscles need to stretch during the first 15-20 minutes of riding. It allows a joint - my knee - to follow the shape of my horse and drape around her in a relaxed manner. In this position, it is very hard to grip with the knee because the knee is folded around the shape of the horse. To start gripping with the knee, I need to bring my heel back.

Also, why does the cinch go around the horse where it does? It is because that is the smallest circumference of the horse. That makes it the easiest place to wrap my legs around her, because it is where my legs need to spread the least. (This isn't a contradiction...I want my legs to go where her barrel is smallest, and then adjust my stirrups so my knees lie against the widest point on her smallest circumference).

This vase is from roughly 540 BC:

This is an illustration from a dressage text written in 1729:

That has been the easiest place to put your leg for a LONG time!

It also has some disadvantages. I'm told by much more experienced riders that it limits the cues you can give with your spurs, and that you can give a greater variety and more subtle signals to your horse if your heel is under your hip. And I believe them. I don't ride with spurs and don't give my horses lots of subtle cues with my heel. My horses are not highly trained, and neither am I.

For a good, experienced dressage rider riding a good, well trained horse, there may be a lot of advantages to having the heel under the hip because of the cues you can give and the subtlety and just how impressive it looks. And I'm sure a well-trained, experienced rider who is a competitive athlete can make it work without gripping with their knees.

But I'm a guy who has done more weightlifting than dancing, and started at 50, and who spent 40 years jogging daily. I have tight hips, tight legs, and I've spent 5 years riding struggling to loosen my knees and get weight into my heels. When I move my heels about 4-6 inches in front of my belt buckle, and adjust the length of my stirrups to put the fold of my knee at my horse's widest point, it becomes hard to grip with my knee. It becomes natural to let my leg fold relaxed around her, because I'm letting the joints do the bending.

The same is true of moving with my horse's back during a trot or canter. In the traditional western seat, the place most humans bend easily - the waist - is used to absorb the motion of the canter:

You follow the motion of the horse by moving your hips up and forward by unfolding at the waist. This is easy. It will NOT impress a judge, but it is an easy way to move with your horse. I tried it earlier this week on Mia in my English jump saddle, and it worked. For the first time since I learned to canter a couple of years ago, I was able to keep my rump in contact with the saddle while moving with her well enough that she stayed happy and moving. The only change I saw was that she shifted some of her weight to the rear (following my weight), and thus cantered slower than when we canter in a forward seat.

The spine is not meant to compress vertically. A lot of threads discuss how strong and flexibly you must be, working from your core, to do so. And the end result, with a skilled rider on a good horse, is darn impressive.

But I ride 3-4 hours/week tops. VS Littauer argued that recreational riders who rode less than 6 hours a week would not have the physical conditioning to ride like a more frequent rider, and that they (we!) needed to adapt our style to stay within our limitations so we could ride without irritating or hurting the horse. I think that is true. It is as silly for me to think I can ride like a top rider while riding 3 hours/week as it is for me to think I can run like a top runner while training 3 hours/week. Or play football like a pro football player while only practicing 3 hours/week.

And as an older rider, security is important to me. Staying in the saddle, moving with my horse, keeping maximum contact with her - those help me stay on. Pretending I'm a competitive dressage or jump rider does not. My legs will not drape around my horse at my horse's widest point, even if she is an Arabian! Instead, that creates tension, causes my knees to grip, pushes me up out of the saddle, makes it hard for me to move with her...lots of bad things happen. And they will continue to happen, because I don't ride enough or have years of training in riding that style.

Just something to think about. I think it is fun to watch dressage videos. I also like to watch folks jumping 6 foot oxers, but I'll be darned if I am going to try it!

And if any of this doesn't help, feel free to ignore it. I'm a total nobody in the world of riding.
    05-17-2013, 12:15 PM
Green Broke
You have gotten some great advice already. I've had horses most of my life-started learning about gaited horses in the 80's, then bred a few Peruvians, while still ridng our "regular" horses also. Got my Aussie saddle around that time,& still happy to ride in it after having the worn out parts replaced. I like the smoothness of the gaited horses & the speed, but also love posting so I tried to keep both available. I haven't used my English saddle for years now, so probably should think about selling it so it can be used & not dry up in this climate. My Aussie fits many horses & I use it when I ride a neighbor's horse. She's glad that I have my own saddle!
wild old thing likes this.
    05-17-2013, 12:17 PM
Originally Posted by wild old thing    
I haven't said no because I have been too proud to say I can't.
One of the benefits of being this age is you can say, "No, I don't think I will do that, but thanks for bringing it up." Which is the polite version of "I'm not going to do that and you can't make me." Mostly it works just fine!
    05-17-2013, 12:23 PM
Originally Posted by Dustbunny    
One of the benefits of being this age is you can say, "No, I don't think I will do that, but thanks for bringing it up." Which is the polite version of "I'm not going to do that and you can't make me." Mostly it works just fine!
Yep, you got it right!

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