Horse Talk: Beginning Older Riders
   

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Horse Talk: Beginning Older Riders

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  • Horseback riding mid 50s
  • Forums on advice for older horse back riders

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  • 5 Post By boots
  • 3 Post By Sereno
  • 1 Post By Back2Horseback
  • 1 Post By Sereno
  • 1 Post By cebee

 
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    05-07-2013, 01:24 PM
  #1
Foal
Horse Talk: Beginning Older Riders

Hello,
I'm a 50 year old who has come back to horses after many years. Beginning rider again with my goal to lease at the end of the year after lessons. Thoughts? Advice? Would love to chat with those in similar circumstances. I live in Southern California.
     
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    05-07-2013, 01:34 PM
  #2
Started
I ride with a few people who started in their late forties and their 50s, and some who are returning riders after decades out.

One advantage they seem to have, at least in a class setting, is taking an instructor's direction and asking for clarification, if they need it. Oh, and generally less dramatic, for example, they don't gauge whether another student got more attention or praise than they. They use their time efficiently and productively.

I've taken returning riders out to check cattle and they just seem to have a bunch of gratitude for the opportunity to get horseback. I've also gotten a few quite elderly people horseback for their first time and they glow like they just won the Derby or a class at Spruce Meadows!

Getting people involved in horses is just a blast!
     
    05-07-2013, 01:39 PM
  #3
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Efarnswor    
Hello,
I'm a 50 year old who has come back to horses after many years. Beginning rider again with my goal to lease at the end of the year after lessons. Thoughts? Advice? Would love to chat with those in similar circumstances. I live in Southern California.
Good for you! My wife and I had not ridden in over 40 years. In our mid 50s we decided that it was time to get into the saddle again. We bought a couple of Paso Finos. A small breed of horses just over 14 h. So our older bones could get on and off with no problems. Shorter distance to "hit the ground" too. Lol. Gated so very smooth and NO posting or saddle sores at all. No re-arranging our back and other bones.

We watched them very carefully on the ground and while being ridden. Being a different discipline we had to put aside our old riding ways and learn again. Later we cross trained. LOTs of time in the coral and learning. LOTS MORE time just walking and playing with them to get to know each other.

As soon as we were in the saddle, no problems. Everything came back as if we never stopped BUT we did have to learn some new tricks. (One was that we are in a Spanish speaking country .... so english didn't work. LOL.)

In our early 60s and we have no problem trail riding way up in the out-back hills and our boys understand english now. :)

Good luck and don't forget to do some stretching before you mount. Older muscles can tend to cramp while getting on. OUCH!
     
    05-07-2013, 01:42 PM
  #4
Green Broke
I'm not new to horses--owned since 1985--but I am 5 years older than you. MY advice is to work on your physical shape in between lessons. Riders needs strong legs that are also flexible. You can ignore your arms, and do just a few ab exercises, but any leg exercises will help your ride better and advance faster. We're not teenagers. When I taught, however, there were teenage girls taking lessons from me that weren't in my shape, at 30yo.
     
    05-07-2013, 05:38 PM
  #5
Yearling
I'm (at 39) an older, returning rider...it's been a blast for over a year now...the body remembers more that I'd thought!

As a first time rider, the very best thing about having a few years under your belt in LIFE is that you can apply all of the life experiences you have, such as those you may have from either raising kids or working a career all of these years or both, to apply to your horsemanship techniques...it's amazing how much cross-application there is for such facets...

Just have fun with it. Another thing which seems to come to a lot of us who are beyond our thirties, let's say, is the ability to really appreciate the important things and not sweat the small stuff so much...and even as a seasoned "stress-ball" m'self, I can still appreciate when something is important (safety, appropriate veterinary care pronto for horse and medical care for self in case of any "incident") vs. totally dumb, waste of time junk, ("how do I look in this pair of breeches?" "this helmet might mess up my hair-do, and there is a super fine instructor teaching our class today")...blech! Let the twenty year old girls stress on that junk!

Just a silly-sounding example, I realize, but somewhat real-life for some folks unfortunately!

Ride, learn, work hard, read a lot and observe a lot, have FUN, be safe, and again...HAVE FUN!!! :0)

Best to you!! B2H :0)
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    05-07-2013, 05:53 PM
  #6
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Back2Horseback    
I'm (at 39) an older, returning rider...it's been a blast for over a year now...the body remembers more that I'd thought!

As a first time rider, the very best thing about having a few years under your belt in LIFE is that you can apply all of the life experiences you have, such as those you may have from either raising kids or working a career all of these years or both, to apply to your horsemanship techniques...it's amazing how much cross-application there is for such facets...

Just have fun with it. Another thing which seems to come to a lot of us who are beyond our thirties, let's say, is the ability to really appreciate the important things and not sweat the small stuff so much...and even as a seasoned "stress-ball" m'self, I can still appreciate when something is important (safety, appropriate veterinary care pronto for horse and medical care for self in case of any "incident") vs. totally dumb, waste of time junk, ("how do I look in this pair of breeches?" "this helmet might mess up my hair-do, and there is a super fine instructor teaching our class today")...blech! Let the twenty year old girls stress on that junk!

Just a silly-sounding example, I realize, but somewhat real-life for some folks unfortunately!

Ride, learn, work hard, read a lot and observe a lot, have FUN, be safe, and again...HAVE FUN!!! :0)

Best to you!! B2H :0)
NOT silly at all. You not only point out some good things.. but your passion has ... ahh ahhh... I take it that you are glad to be in the saddle again. You YOUNG thing!

Perhaps some things ARE better revisited... and done... after some time.
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    05-07-2013, 06:44 PM
  #7
Foal
I got my first horse at 53, had ridden with cousins in my youth, but many many years ago. Was surprised how much came back... things like putting on the bridle, etc. But I also find I am more aware of being breakable at this age. No where near as bold as the young riders. I watch my daughter ( 22 ) decide it would be fun to jump bareback - and know there is no way I will ever decide it is a good idea. I have a been there/done that horse, likes to mosey down the trails with me... at my age, and experience level, I don't want a green broke horse, I want one as 'mature' as I am, one who will keep me safe... at this age I don't worry about 'outgrowing' my horse...
Having horses has been the best part of the last 2 years, give me exercise I would otherwise never get, I have friends I would never have met... and I have a whole new world to 'learn' about, keeping me mentally active as well!
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    05-07-2013, 10:28 PM
  #8
Trained
Starting at 50, I noticed that my body didn't have the flexibility of youth. Some17 year old girl who started riding in the womb would say "Your leg needs to go here and your toes point over there" and I'd think, "You stupid b&%#&. If someone twisted my leg into that position, it would take 3 months in the hospital for me to recover!"

Maybe it was because I'm a guy, or because I spent 40 years jogging before getting on a horse, but they would tell me to relax into the saddle...and I would think, "This IS relaxed!" My hips and thighs had built in tension, good for keeping me healthy thru 40 years of jogging, but I was squeezing with my legs without meaning to. The tension in my tendons saw to that!

I also found a lot of mental imagery that I suppose works for some was awful to someone with an engineering background. "Your arms are hoses, pouring into the horse's mouth..." - YGBSM! My fingers don't leak squat! Or 'Your horse's energy flows from his hind legs into the bit, and back into your hands'...yeah! It it did, my hands would be ripped off my body. I needed instruction like "Force your knees as far apart as you can...you are still gripping with your knees...FURTHER APART!!!!"

A good lesson horse for starting would have done me wonders. Let's just say it isn't a good idea to buy a horse before you start riding, or to trust someone who says their horse is "Perfect for a beginner!" Sounds like you are already smarter than me...

When I finally got serious about lessons, I was lucky enough to take lessons from a woman whose emphasis was on how your balance affects your horse, and how your behavior can make your horse more willing, confident, etc. It can include little things. When you pick the feet of a good lesson horse, the horse will be sizing you up and deciding if you are someone to work with or not.

If you haven't read it yet, this thread gives a good mental framework for interacting with a horse:

Every rider IS a trainer -- every time you interact with a horse
     
    05-07-2013, 10:38 PM
  #9
Super Moderator
See how many of us there are! We are legion, and we won't just go away and quit becuase we are gray or have achy knees or whatever. We do the best we can with what we have NOW, knowing that we won't ever get any younger.

Cheers to you!

PS I laugh at B2B including herself at 39 in the oldster group!
I am 55, if it matters.
     

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