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Self-Taught Riding?

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  • +"information beginner to self teach riding my new horse

 
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    07-05-2010, 07:39 PM
  #21
Trained
I think we all need a pair of eyes on the ground every now and then, but for the most part, I go it alone. I'm an info junkie, so I read and watch everything I can get my hands on. If anything looks useful, I try it out. If I get stuck or feel like something's off, I take a tuneup lesson.

As far as regular instruction is concerned, I think while as a beginner rider needs someone to show them how to ride, as we get more experienced as riders, our jobs as riders become only part rider and rest becomes more toward training our horses. If we had good instruction as beginner riders, we will have the tools necessary to develop our own horses. We still need eyes on the ground, but more in the way of addressing things we cannot solve on our own or still don't have the skills to address on our own.
     
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    07-05-2010, 07:40 PM
  #22
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
Amen, MM.

I had lessons at a riding school for about 3/4 years from the age of 5. The horses were like zombies and all I learnt was to stay on at a walk, trot and canter. I becaame a junior staff there when I was about 9, and stopped lessons. I got my first horse at 10.

Since then, I haven't had proper lessons - I'm now 20. My parents are completely non-horsey and I didn't know any horsey people. I joined the local Pony Club.

I had a sh*t of a pony who scared the bejeebers out of me. My dad had to lead me all the way to Pony Club, in tears, and I would STILL fall off that pony. I rode this 11h pony in a big heavy stock saddle made for a fully grown man that I floated around in and that sat all the way back to my ponies rump. We were the definition of novices in over our heads - My parents didn't know how to help, so my 10yo self had to shape up or ship out. Guess what? I did. I sold that pony as a safe kids pony a year or two later.

Numerous horses later, and I am a darn good rider. I'm not a pretty rider, i'm no a classically correct rider, but I am a functional, safe, and effective rider. I haven't gotten on a horse yet that I can't improve. I have had GREAT success competeing - I have bags upon bags of ribbons at home. I won our zone gameing championships 5 years running. I have numerous awards for my riding. I also have begun to instruct at our PC and other places. I was in the state squad for MG 4 times. I have represented my country riding overseas. I ahve done well in just about any discipline you can think of.

Okay, so that wasn't intended as a brag - It IS intended to show that with a bit of determination, guts, and no other option, you CAN each yourself, and do it successfully.

It also requires a good horse - By good, I don't mean well trained - I mean with the right temperament. You need a tolerant horse who won't take advantage of mistakes. Wildey was that horse for me - An 11yo kid with a green broke 5yo Arab by rights should have ended horribly - But he had the temperament, and we were phenominally successful. Of course I made mistakes - He has some bad habits now that he wouldn't have if I could do it over. But I was a kid who liked to go fast (Which kid doesn't!). Despite that, he is an absolute legend of a horse and I have had numerous offers from people wanting to buy him. He is now at a Riding for the Disabled School - not bad for a pony trained entirely by a child.

I still like to figure things out for myself. I see other people doing something cool, and I think 'I want to do that'. So I go home and experiment, try different things, until I hit on one that works.

I get to clinics if I can, and recently had a couple of lessons with a family friend. Lessons to me are more about refining, fine tuning, and cleaning up the picture. The basics I can do myself. I honestly don't care what I look like when riding - But if I am functional enough to stay on top of my horse chansing after cattle in rough country or doing Mounted games flat out, and still get what I want from my horse, then I am happy.

Funnily enough, even though i'm not a pretty rider, I have won quite a few rider classes (Like equitation classes).

*

There is a massive dependance on instructors and trainers in the US. It is almost blasphemy to be competeing without a trainer. It is really bizarre to me, as it is so different to here in Australia.

Here, most kids don't have trainers. They are too expensive and often not available in many areas. We get used to relying on ourselves and other horsey friends. Not one of my riding friends has lessons or a trainer.

When I first joined this forum I thought it was absurd how most threads had the response 'Get a trainer!' - it just isn't what we do here. It still rankles a bit when I hear people being told they can't succeed without a trainer. It is very 'elitist'.


That's so great, you must have been really brave when it came to horses. It's good to know that not everyone has had lessons or a trainer and are still successful.
So many people I've talked to have said that it's impossible to be a good rider without being told what to do, how to do it, and when to do it... I disagree.

A lot of the people who have posted in this thread are the perfect example of being on your own when it comes to your horse and riding... not everyone is rich and can afford a trainer for lessons often! And riding isn't rocket science, either. Sure, it can be difficult, and there's a lot to learn... but a big part is just common sense and understanding.
     
    07-05-2010, 08:53 PM
  #23
Yearling
I havnt read this whole thread, but heres my view.

I think it can be beneficial. I started lessons when I could w/t/kinda canter. So I knew the basics, i'd grown up with horses so I had horse care down pat. I had 2 years of group lessons, then 2 years of private flatwork lessons. It took me ridiculously long to improve as im not naturally talented in riding and i'd just gotten a new horse when I started private lessons, and he was so different to anything id ridden before so it took me a while to get the hang of things. We were also both learning together so that doesnt help.
I stopped getting lessons due to a number of things, but continued to ride. Since then I have improved so much. My seat/balance, my horses way of going etc etc. My instructor was good, no doubt about that, but the time I've had to 'figure things out on my own' has benefited me greatly.
In lessons your constantly told what you need to be doing, when to do it etc etc, and I think I became accustomed to relying on my instructor to tell me what to do. In a way I guess she was riding for me. I suppose I would 'switch off' somewhat, I was also around 15/16 yrs, so the age didnt help!

In saying that though, I can/have only worked on what I know already. I can only build on what I've been taught in lessons. If I wanted to start something completely new i'd need instruction. I can get a horse to Novice level dressage (leg yeilds, 10m circles, lengthened strides etc) but if I wanted to move up (next level is elementary, start shoulder ins, medium/collected paces, counter canter etc) I'd start lessons again. I wouldnt feel confident enough starting these things on my own and it would probably be quite stupid of me to try.

This was probably long and boring, but I think there is so much you can't learn in lessons. Just getting out there and trying new things/riding different horses/different disciplines etc. Talking to different people, listening, keeping an open mind to how other people do things.
     
    07-05-2010, 09:08 PM
  #24
Yearling
I love what you said MM!! We do live a in a world scared of everything and confident at nothing. We humans are very smart and can figure things out..... I am self taught and while I do take lessons once in a while, it is to get ideas from someone else that I can add to my head- like a paid for brain storm. Some learn better from being told what to do and then practicing or copying that while others learn better by doing it themselves with trial and error......
     
    07-05-2010, 09:33 PM
  #25
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacabreMikolaj    
What did people do BEFORE coaches, instructors and trainers?

We live in a day and age where we are SO afraid of doing things wrong, it's like a death sentence. With a little bit of common sense, it's REALLY hard to screw a horse up so badly you can't fix it or re-train it. The only thing I've ever seen done that's sometimes next impossible to fix is beat a horse or let it get away with murder - the first is usually WAY harder to treat then the latter, and also can be a good fix for CURING the latter.
Excellent and inspiring post, MM. The part I highlighted jumps out at me especially; I came to a really similar conclusion myself recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
I think we all need a pair of eyes on the ground every now and then, but for the most part, I go it alone. I'm an info junkie, so I read and watch everything I can get my hands on. If anything looks useful, I try it out. If I get stuck or feel like something's off, I take a tuneup lesson.

As far as regular instruction is concerned, I think while as a beginner rider needs someone to show them how to ride, as we get more experienced as riders, our jobs as riders become only part rider and rest becomes more toward training our horses. If we had good instruction as beginner riders, we will have the tools necessary to develop our own horses. We still need eyes on the ground, but more in the way of addressing things we cannot solve on our own or still don't have the skills to address on our own.
^I agree completely. I vividly remember when I stopped taking regular lessons, my dad said that it had basically turned into me paying to put lesson ponies through their more advanced paces, or to exercise the saner horses brought for training. This was about the time I bought my first horse. Since then, it's been me and my horse, research, some trial and error (and fixing), and picking the brains of everyone I meet.
     
    07-05-2010, 09:45 PM
  #26
Foal
Lesson are supposed to build confidence, that why there are bomb proof lesson horses. You really do learn more by just riding your horse, reading books, going to clinics and asking people for help/ideas. Trainers are just that trainers, they had to start somewhere too. I have a taken a few ( like three) lesson, they were for jumping/dressage. They were with my own horse, both of us had no formal training other that I watched the olympics ALOT( I broke my VCR), and read books, watched other people ride and we both had natural talent. There is not a better place to learn then from the back of your buddy.
     
    07-05-2010, 10:35 PM
  #27
Foal
So reading through all of y'alls posts, you think it's okay to not be a perfect rider?

I think it's okay, especially if riding just for fun with my pal out in the field or on trails... but that doesn't mean it's okay to be completely clueless!

I think I'm going to start learning on my own, like in Templeton Thompsons song "I've learned more from the back of a horse than most folks ever get to know, and you never really know what you're made of till you ride out on your own".... thought it was the perfect time to use that!

Any tips for future learning reference?

The stable I was riding at held me back for a long time, though which I don't understand. I had established a good sitting trot and posting trot and was ready for cantering but they never let me get to that point. And that's why it's hard having someone saying what to do, when to do it. It really can be a big set back.
     
    07-05-2010, 10:41 PM
  #28
Weanling
Well I've been trained in english for about 3 to 4 years,and I know every basic thing and most expeirnced things, but sometimes I've been horseback riding and I couldnt ride english so I've pretty much taught myself to ride western. My friend sage whos ridden western pretty much her whole life has taught me alot but besides that I've taught myself most of western. Im good on walk and trot in western and on thursday im going riding western again and im going to lope and maybe gallop (:, so im not against self traing, but I think theres different levels of it. Like help from a friend who is not a riding instructor or being completly clueless and just watching and learning :)
     
    07-05-2010, 11:08 PM
  #29
Trained
I don't think it's especially important to be a pretty rider, but it IS extremely important to be a functional rider and not impede your horse. Luckily, this is the easier one to learn yourself.
     
    07-05-2010, 11:40 PM
  #30
Showing
I totally agree, WS. Being a functional rider is a totally different thing than being a pretty rider.
     

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