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too late to start?

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        12-23-2012, 03:25 PM
    My story is not a whole lot different than many of those above.

    My dad had a couple horses as I grew up. Mainly we used them for hunting season, a few rides during the year. As a teenager my interest moved more to objects with motors and faster speeds.

    In 1983 the Forest Service closed off a lot of area that we used to hunt to wheeled vehicles. The only way into where we used to hunt was a long hike or horses. I went a few hunts with friends on their horses, a few pack trip in fishing. About 20 years ago, the opportunity came for me to own a horse and I jumped on that opportunity and very quickly realized I knew nothing about riding or caring for horses.

    Over the last twenty years, I've owned about 20 horses. Had 3 foals that I've raised and that are now are my main trail riding horses. I have broke every horse that I've owned. Too cheap to pay for a already trained horse. My first horse was a 3 year old Arab/Saddlebred and a true handfull. I'm lucky I survived teaching myself and a young horse. I don't reccommend the Green on Green approach.

    I read books and watched videos. But I think the best thing I ever did was start going to NATRC competitive trail rides. At these events, I had a horsemanship judge and a vet looking at me and my horse several times a day. I learned how to spot when my horse was sore, to understand his hydration, respiration and heart rates. How to camp and care for my horse. Often the judges would ask me to handle some obsticle and my answer was often, I don't know if I can do it, But if we fail today, I will be able to do that at the next trail ride. It would give me something to go home and practice. We didn't win anything the first year. But both my horse and I learned a huge amount.

    After 6 years of competiting and having judges dock me for small things. I gave up the sport. I'm happy now days to just get out and enjoy a good trail. To see new country. To enjoy an afternoon with my daughters or friends, To spend some time with the horses.

    I never took any lesson. I'm basically self taught with the help of watching friends, other horse people and the comments from judges at the competitive trail rides I attended. I'll never compete in dressage or western pleasure. I doubt I ever attend a horse show. But some how, I've started and trained 20 horses over the years. People are impressed with my horses and buy my older horses as I start working another youngster. My wife daughters and my daughters friends all ride my horses and feel safe. So I've done something right. ( But I have made lots of mistakes along the way).

    My advice is read some books, watch some videos and get on the horse and go enjoy. I'm 60 now and hope I'm still enjoying my horses at 80. My dad is 84 and hasn't ridden for a 30 or more years. He has been bugging me to let him ride one of my horses. So I finally gave in and put him on one of my mares for a ride.
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        12-28-2012, 06:32 PM
    I was 49 when I took my first riding lesson. Got my first horse a year later, an 18.1hh Clydesdale and my second horse, also a Clydesdale a year after that! The Queen of England is 87 and she still rides. The wife of the farmer where I board my two horses is 78 and she and I ride out together - the younger people call our ride "the granny run!"
        12-28-2012, 07:20 PM
    I think horseback riding can truly be enjoyed by people of varied age groups. I took lessons as a teen and had my own horse in my later teens and twenty something. I had to sell my horse when we moved and I really hadn't ridden for for twenty some years before I decided to purchase a horse for myself. I decided to lose weight and riding helped a lot and I shed 50 lbs. Starting to ride again as an adult was a learning curve even with some previous experience. I am now 47 years old and wouldn't change the decision to ride again in my forties. I have learned so much in the last 5 years and am a more avid rider than any kid at my barn! My advice for you is to follow your dreams and don't give up on something you really want.
    clairegillies likes this.
        12-28-2012, 07:23 PM
    I taught a lovely lady for her very first lesson in her life at 70 years old and she loved it. At our yard we have a veritable mix of client ages so you really are never too old to start.
    jillybean19 likes this.
        12-28-2012, 08:10 PM
    Green Broke
    I am 58 and getting my self back into shape to ride. I have been slowly losing some extra lbs, but I have Terrible knees, don't bend so well, and low back /tail bone osteoporosis issues. I keep trying to get on that saddle even with my step, I am okay once I get on, getting off and on the horse is a bi**ch . ! And I only ride my old broke gentle horses and pray they don't decide to act like they are 5 !! Lol
    clairegillies likes this.
        12-28-2012, 09:29 PM
    Just a note - I am an endurance rider, and most endurance riders are 3x my age and retired because they're the only people with the time and money to dedicate to endurance :P One lady in my club is over 80 and still riding! Of course, I think she just rides for pleasure rather than competition now, but it's quite the interesting group of older ladies that hide from the sun by packing all their lawn chairs into the back of the horse trailer and chat over their beers after the ride ;)
    Celeste likes this.
        12-28-2012, 10:31 PM
    Well well, you guys have talked me into it. ;)

    I did some digging and found a handful of stables nearby. I dropped an email to one of them today asking about lessons and such. I still probably will wait to start until I lose a bit more weight. Plus it's gotten COLD around here lately. But the next step has been taken!

    I'm sure I'll be bugging you guys with questions before long
    WSArabians and clairegillies like this.
        12-29-2012, 05:29 AM
    Originally Posted by MitchTx    
    Well well, you guys have talked me into it. ;)

    I did some digging and found a handful of stables nearby. I dropped an email to one of them today asking about lessons and such. I still probably will wait to start until I lose a bit more weight. Plus it's gotten COLD around here lately. But the next step has been taken!

    I'm sure I'll be bugging you guys with questions before long
    You will soon be wanting to buy your own horse and I would say, get a Clydesdale. Bought my first one at 49! He is 18.1hh and I am 5feet 4" But he is absolutely wonderful to ride. You have to let us know how you get on Mitch and we want to see pics...LOL
        12-29-2012, 06:20 AM
    Originally Posted by SorrelHorse    
    I don't think you're too old at all. ^^

    This picture is awesome. I'm glad to hear about the more senior people on this forum getting into riding as they approach the "golden years". I just recently realized I'm not 28 anymore, but I don't want to stop living before I die.
    Celeste and Dustbunny like this.
        12-29-2012, 08:43 PM
    You should definitely start riding! Anyone that tells you it is too late is completely wrong. I completely recommend it, and I love your philosophy... have some fun!

    Whether you want to ride English or Western.. that comes down to your preference. I ride English, but I have done trail which is typically a more Western discipline (although it goes either way). Both of the disciplines contain sub-disciplines depending on what you are looking for. Personally, that is a whole 'nother question. If you are looking for a more relaxed discipline, I would recommend Western Pleasure or especially Trail. If you are looking for a little more formality and organized action, I'd go for English. If you are looking for "dancing on horseback," dressage (English) or reining (Western). And, if you're looking for high thrill action, jumping or barrel racing. I recommend researching all kinds of disciplines. That was just a rough rough ROUGH summary, there are soooooooo many more disciplines. Seriously!

    Riding is amazing. You probably don't even realize how much you'll gain from it until you look at your life now and then analyze it after you've been riding for some time.

    And in the horse world, don't label yourself as overweight because there is always a horse that will fit your weight.

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