Riding Experience Without Lessons

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Riding Experience Without Lessons

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    03-03-2013, 07:00 AM
Riding Experience Without Lessons

Hey everyone.
While my parents recover from a vet bill, which saved the life of my dog, my riding lessons have again been postphoned, and I obviously don't own a horse. But, fortunately, a family friend lives on a farm and his sister boards her horse there. She used to ride her, but now she has back problems and is unable to. So Mango has been like a sitting duck for the past six or so years... that is until I came along. After just spending time wither her on previous occasions, today I rode her for the first time (not the first time I've ridden, but the first time Mango has been ridden in quite a few years). She was amazingly docile and I felt quite confident on her, and me being only a begginner rider, that's a big thing. I've been told that I am welcome to ride her anytime I like, and I've been given the resonsibility of cleaning her tack, brushing her, riding her regularly, spending time with her etc.

I was curious to ask if I could improve my riding skill with Mango, and if so, how. I plan to slowly break her into the routine of riding again before I go doing anything, and I also want to gain her trust. But there is one problem... Mango freaks out if she can't see her buddy, a shetland pony named Clancy. Riding her without him nearby would cause her to freak out, which makes trail rides difficult. I don't know if there is a way to break her out of that or if it's even a posibility, but if there is, I'm no no one to authorize it and I certainly don't have the skill to do it. So, is there anyway I can improve my bond with Mango and my riding skill without a teacher and without venturing too far away from Clancy?

Thanks so much.
gunslinger likes this.
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    03-03-2013, 10:24 AM
Green Broke
What you are describing is called buddy sour and while I am nit really experienced with it there is a lot of information out there.

With all horses its important that they understand that you are the leader so doing some groundwork which allows you to establish your position can certainly help. Again, search online, borrow books from the library etc.
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    03-03-2013, 08:37 PM
As a beginner I seriously wouldn't want you putting yourself into a situation that can be fixed with concepts that can only be taught hands-on by someone who is much more knowledgeable.

There isn't any way for someone to work with this horse on buddy hour issues? The last thing I want to read from you is you getting run off or spooked or something due to this issue... :/
Kayty, LisaG and Hope4Horse like this.
    03-03-2013, 10:55 PM
How much ground work have you done with Mango? You should find it helpful for a variety of reasons--while it may not cure the buddy sour issue, it might help. It will also allow you to establish yourself as the leader in the horse-human relationship, you will also learn more about your horse and her personality, and it will help with a good, trusting bond (can you tell I'm a big fan of groundwork?).

I agree that you should look online and in books for ideas on how to do this safely. The easiest way is in a round pen if one is available. If not, then a lunge line and a lead rope will work just fine, depending on the exercise.

In regards to improving your riding, yes: Being on a horse will definitely help you improve your skills, even without instruction! If I were you, I would use this time away from lessons to work on things such as your balance, posture (sit tall!), and communicating good aids to your horse.

Don't worry about progressing in skill level by yourself--this will almost definitely result in you getting hurt. But practicing balance and posture and other skills you already have been taught will allow you to improve, and you will progress faster into new skills once you do get back into lessons.
Hope4Horse likes this.
    03-03-2013, 11:22 PM
For the time being, just ride and get to know Mango with the pony in sight so you don't have to deal with a fight you aren't ready to win, yet.
Have fun!
    03-04-2013, 12:21 AM
I would spend time grooming Mango, getting to know the horse and also take her/him for walks and stopping to graze.....I would also recommend ground work also....
    03-04-2013, 05:40 AM
Agree with Tiny. The best way to get better at riding, is simple - just ride! Pay attention to the horse, and how you are influencing it. Try different things and pay attention to te results. If you use your brain and think about what you are doing and how it is effecting the horse, you will learn just as much as you would in lessons IMO.
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    03-04-2013, 06:49 AM
Thanks so much everyone for all the tips! As far as buddy sour goes, what do think would be the best thing to do? I like the sound of trying to help her, but I'm a complete newbie and I don't know if it's the best idea, let alone how to go about it. I'm sure I could speak to Doug (our family friend) and Mango's owner about it and see what they think.

Originally Posted by Thunderspark    
I would spend time grooming Mango, getting to know the horse and also take her/him for walks and stopping to graze.....I would also recommend ground work also....
Thanks for the tips. I have actually already spent a fair bit of time with her. For years, whenever we'd go over to the farm, I'd brush Mango and Clancy and just hang out with them in the paddock. Now is really the only time when we've considered doing anything more with it.
Thunderspark likes this.
    03-05-2013, 08:47 AM
Green Broke
I don't recall anyone having horse riding lessons back when I was a kid.

We got on and rode.

I'm amazed by how many people who post on this forum seem to think the only way to learn to ride a horse is to take lessons.

Granted, if you want to compete in a discipline them I'm sure lessons might get you you competitive quicker, but the pure joy of riding doesn't require lessons IMO.
    03-05-2013, 09:15 AM
My concern would be that the horse has some issues and you're new to the horse thing, sounds like. My suggestion for helping to teach Mango to worry more about you than her pony would be groundwork. I recommend Clinton Anderson because be explains things simply and his techniques work. You can stream his videos from his site for a fee, from RFDtv for a small fee, you could try renting from giddyupflix or outright buy them. I recommend looking at the groundwork series and the longing for respect series.

This will build a working relationship wih Mango and help with her anxiety. It will also give you confidence working with her. You'll be getting to know Mango but in a different way. Some horses have a personality change when they realize that you *gasp* have expectations! Some are fine with it, some are offended. Since so far you haven't really asked much of Mango, her respect for you is probably close to nonexistent. Groundwork will help.

He also has some excellent videos for under saddle work that I would suggest once you're there.

I recommend the videos because I personally like being able to go back, rewind and listen again.
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