Rode for the first time in years...feel genuinely stupid. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Rode for the first time in years...feel genuinely stupid.

I've perused this forum quite a bit, just lurking about, enjoying reading the discussions. I thought today would be a good day to join. Here goes...bit of a rant incoming. I just rode yesterday for the first time in probably...6-8 years? It's been so long I can't even remember how long it's been. I guess I just have a lot of anxiety about the whole thing and I was wondering if anyone here has gone ages without riding. It's hard to believe any of you awesome horsey people would go even a week without being around horses. :[ But my parents aren't horse people, never were, my mother's full experience with horses included one trail ride where the horse bolted off with her on it, and she was never a huge animal-lover to being with. >_>;; They both grew up in less-than-desireable urban environments and had to work their way out, so even if they did love horses, I doubt I would have ever been able to have my own horse.

So, yeah, when we moved to a more rural setting, I was able to take lessons at a local barn. Hooray! That was for about 3-4 years. I guess I just felt like I wasn't progressing nearly enough there, I was pretty shy as a kid/teenager and still am, so I just kind of did whatever the instructor wanted that day, I never felt like I had a choice of direction in what I'd like to do, but the other kids were more like "I want to do that" and vocal about stuff. And maybe that shyness made her think I was afraid or something, so she always took it painfully slowly with me. But I wasn't afraid, just socially awkward! :U Lolz. So yeah. Maybe I was just a dumb, headstrong kid. But I stopped riding there, thinking I'd be able to find another place shortly. Well, school picked up, a couple years went by, and before I knew it, university was staring me in the face, so there was no point going back for a short while just to be torn away from it. No horses at school. Hardly any animals will go near my awful school in that smoggy city. But FINALLY I am graduating at the end of this semester, so my boyfriend and I started taking lessons together at his house! I'll be moving here in a few months and will finally just be able to ride. Ugh, I've been DYING to get back to riding since I stopped, watching horse videos, reading forums such as these, having dreams about riding. I rode like...twice with my friend at her house a couple years ago, but there was no one really critiquing, so I had no idea how I was doing.

Seems I've forgotten nearly everything. :roll: I mean like, how pathetic. I was like, is the instructor even going to BELIEVE I've ridden before? Okay, perhaps it wasn't quite so bad as all that. But when I stopped riding years ago I was jumping, just beginner stuff, but that was my task at hand. Now my task at hand is trot in a circle and try not to do a million things wrong. Didn't even hold the reins properly at first, heels won't stay down enough, and so on. I guess I thought, going by things I've read online, that I would just magically remember how to do stuff, muscle memory, blah blah blah. To some extent, true. But I still managed to do the simplest of things wrong. Couldn't even undo the straps on the bridle and get the halter on the horse after without help. Yes, I apparently am that dumb. But I used to tack up, untack, groom, and so on. Now I know nothing! Woo! You'd think after watching hundreds of Youtube videos something would have come back, but nope. Doesn't translate to real life. Oh, and I tossed the bridle on the ground after taking it off, because that's what I was taught at the old barn. "Just toss it to the side, put on the halter and pick up the bridle after." Figures, right? Hardly any of the good stuff comes back, but I manage to instinctively throw the freaking bridle on the ground. I didn't even have time to think about it, I just did it. I guess you're not supposed to do that because the lady was like "Or you could do that. *smile*" She's super nice, but I felt so embarrassed lolz. I'm naturally a "oh no oh no people are going to think I'm stupid" type of person, so I kind of trip myself up with nerves, I guess.

So yeah. That was a rant, sorry. D: But I don't know anyone who would even be able to come close to identifying with these worries. My boyfriend is starting riding for the first time ever, as rusty as I am right now I probably look good to him. (I ride English, but I pose this question to riders of all disciplines!) tl;dr, did anyone feel flat-out idiotic their first time back to riding and horses in general after years away? D;
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 06:03 PM
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Welcome to the group

No Phelan, when people come back into riding, they ask themselves why they ever left. In the following morning they ache. Their butts, their thighs, the small of their backs - they ache. So they have a bath. Then laying soaking and hoping the aches are going to go away, they realize they have missed out. All those years without playing with a horse. So they book another ride.

And bit by bit their brains come to remember how to react in order to keep their bodies up in the saddle. They rediscover how to balance, how to hold the reins and how to sit upright.

Then they join Horseforum. They buy a decent 'How to ride' book and they become hooked - again.

Welcome to the group.

PS. My guess is that you have a second hobby - writing. All you need to do is do a spell check or two and revise the grammar but the prose comes out great.
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
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Phew, maybe I'm not some abnormal person that is doomed to be "bad at horses" after all. XD I really did miss it all that time! I was happy just to have the smell of horses about me again. Thank you for the welcome. You are correct, actually, I love writing! I've been writing stories since I was a kid, and I'm writing a book now as well. It's much more closely edited, though, none of this casual "so yeah" speech. :P
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 07:17 PM
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Welcome to the forum and back to the horse world!

Couldn't have said it any better than Barry already did.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #5 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 07:41 PM
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Be careful, horses have a way of stealing your heart.
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post #6 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 07:51 PM
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I was exactly where you are close to 2 years ago, only I made the mistake of buying a "green reclaim" as my first horse back into horsedom.

If you search hard enough in the old threads, you can find some really HORRID videos of rides that are much worse than what you have described.

Just relax and have fun!
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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welcome back to horses and to the forum!! I've never gone more than a year without riding and those years were forced by difficult pregnancies.
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post #8 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 08:54 PM
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Jeez, 8 years you've been away and you're shocked that you lost your muscle memory and such? How could you DO that? (A better question would be "how could you NOT do that").

Listen. You meet the horse where his is, and where you are, today. You can't afford to get hung up on this "well, I used to be able to do X". My boy taught me that maybe we could do X yesterday, but today? He's stiff in his hock, or I'm stiff in my knee, or the wind is blowing and he's distracted by leaves, or I'm thinking too much about work and not enough about him. And even though we had a seriously awesome lesson three days ago, today, it's like the first time either one of us have ever seen a saddle. Well, maybe not quite *that* bad...

But the horse isn't a machine, and neither are you. Important thing is not that you once-upon-a-time jumped. Important thing is that you can connect with the horse you are on *now* and you can stay in your body and meet him, and you can learn together.

I don't know how old you are, but I'm going to assume "not very" - maybe in your 20s? Reason I suspect this is that by the time you get to be 40, you realize that you've forgotten enough stuff to fill an encyclopedia. And you don't get too hard on yourself for letting skills go, and forgetting stuff, because if you did get hard on yourself for that, you wouldn't have time to do anything else at all.

So, check the ego at the door. Egos don't get you very far with your equine buddies. Don't worry about impressing the horse, the trainer, or your BF. Just go back out there and get you some Horse Luv, and let your BF do the same. 8 years is Too Long to be away from horses when you're born to be a Horse Person.
tinyliny and Back2Horseback like this.
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post #9 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 08:56 PM
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Also, I find it easier to run the crown of the bridle up over my arm to the shoulder - keeps it out of the way while I'm putting the halter on, but doesn't let the bit get nastied up by the barn floor, and it keeps the reins from getting twisted up. That said, I got totally distracted once and nearly clipped the cross-ties on to the BRIDLE. Oops!!
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post #10 of 25 Old 01-06-2012, 09:01 PM
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Dont beat yourself up too much. I had to re discover how to sink my heels after an entire summer of riding bareback and at the same time learn and remember all the bamn buttons to make dressage horsey actually do something, it was a disaster! Todays lesson was far more productive. It does get better :)
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