How can I get better? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-19-2013, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Nine Mile Falls, Washington
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How can I get better?

I have a voracious want to learn, and I am always asking questions, learning new things, and trying things out. But I know I can't do this on my own.

But sometimes I feel that, even though I have an instructor, I'm not actively learning. I'm getting time in the saddle, but those "ah ha!" Moments are rare. I find when I work my lease, even though I am not as confident in my abilities with him as I am with the horses I have known for years, I feel I am actually learning and actively understanding and striving to achieve things I never could achieve before.

I was able to get him to round his back, drive with his butt, be in frame and properly collect. Never in the past three years have I gained that experience.

I certainly have come a long ways, and the team has given me experiences I have never thought possible. But I feel stunted, almost. But maybe that's because I put a lable on something it never had to begin with. Never once did my instructor say he would teach us the finesse and means of riding at practice, or how to ride. We need to do lessons for that. He gives pointers and coaches us, and we excel.

But half the time I feel like what I've learned isn't valuable, or that its "wrong". But I suppose that is the way the world works when you are a novice.

I'm thinking in a few years I might quit the team to split off and find something I enjoy, and learn with people I trust who can get me where I'm going. I already contacted a trainer seeking a pupil. They do cutting, and while that isn't my thing, the knowledge they are willing to teach in starting foals, tuning up horses, and training in general, is invaluable. Its a long shot, if I get picked, but doesn't hurt to try.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-19-2013, 01:47 AM
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There's a few things I've learnt during my times working with horses and with horse people of all kinds.....

You can never stop learning and you will never know everything

Even the worst trainer will teach you something.....

You can have five horsemen in one room....and five completely different opinions

Horses can kill you

It's dirty work

You either have the passion for it....or you don't.....

Learning by doing far outweighs learning by reading.....

Know when you're in over your head, never be afraid to ask for help or clarification

Shut up and listen

^^^^^all of those, worked for me;)
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-19-2013, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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: ) thanks.

I guess sometimes I feel that when I am inexperienced, wanting to troubleshoot/fix/learn, the only people I have who can help are too busy, don't want to, or just don't care enough to.

But that's how its been for the past few years. I'm hoping with my Lease Owner, I can toss my questions her way and she can show me how to do things.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-20-2013, 12:07 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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So are the horses you usually ride lesson horses? Lesson horses that are trained in what ever discipline you ride? Usually a good lesson horse will ignore all the "loud talking" that your body is doing, and get the general gist of what you want. They'll pretty much tolerate anything, which is what a good lesson horse is supposed to do.

I'm assuming the lease horse isn't trained in your discipline? Maybe? What I'm trying to say is maybe you should ride the untrained (lease) horse more often, so that you can FEEL what each mistake makes the horse do. Or maybe your lease horse is much more sensitive than the older horses you're riding. If that's the case, a sensitive horse won't tolerate the wrong aids that the other horses may ignore. I'm attempting to train my mare (and myself) in dressage at the moment, and she's originally been trained for western pleasure. The amount that I've learned from her in several months is very eye-opening. It keeps me engaged. When I was taking lessons on lesson horses, I was able to direct my attention towards myself alone. That was helpful, but having the opportunity to see what each action means to the horse is even MORE helpful. I get to see the "lightbulb" come on when my horse figures out what I'm trying to get her to do. We have "aha!" and "Oh come on! You knew this yesterday!" moments everyday, lol!

Since I'm not familiar with the situation, I can't say much more. I'm no great rider myself, and I'm constantly learning. Do you have anyone nearby to give you lessons? If you're not satisfied with the approach, you can always switch instructors.

To me, it's always so sad to see untapped potential go to waste. Someone who WANTS to work should be given the knowledge to succeed. What they do with that knowledge is their choice. You're doing what you should- seeking a teacher. Don't be frustrated! Good teachers are very hard to find. You'll know one the moment you start working with them. Your horse will know them too!
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-20-2013, 12:12 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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Maybe you should look at private lessons with a new instructor? When I find I'm not getting better in my riding skills, I look to different instructors. Everyone offers something different.

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-20-2013, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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My instructor runs an equestrian team that I participate in for local faires, so there isnt really a discipline. The horses are broke for riding, but don't have all the buttons I would like if I were to practice a discipline, sadly.

My lease, however, has helped me to understand and feel what certain things are like. Te owner has so kindly given me lessons, nd I think I will stick with her for lessons
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-20-2013, 01:43 AM
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If you get some extra money, spend it on lessons with new teachers. Stay with your current instructor as your staple, but as you get the resources, go explore! You are not betraying your current instructor by taking a lesson from someone else. Your English teacher is not going to feel slighted if you take a poetry class at the community center. Your flute teacher isn't going to hate you for learning the violin from someone else. Go out and find out what you don't know.

My sister gives lessons for a living. If she finds a deal on groupon or LivingSocial or another thing like that for riding lessons, she buys them and takes lessons herself. She too loves to learn and learns a lot from them. It can only improve her skills as a teacher.

Think of the lessons with others like mini-clinics for your personal education.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-20-2013, 02:17 AM
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'Bout the time you stop worrying about learning something, it'll come along and just happen, and you'll notice one day that you know something now that makes all the stuff you thought you knew before look wrong. And that keeps happening, over and over.
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