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Lessons and Applicable Horse Riding Skills

This is a discussion on Lessons and Applicable Horse Riding Skills within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        04-09-2014, 09:40 AM
    Green Broke
    So long ago, when I took lessons, the instructors did lecture on how to respond to spooks, bolting, rearing, and bucking, while we were working on something, usually posting, on the wall. They not only instructed on how to respond, but how horses usually go through these and what horses would usually do once the rider was off. I think it was helpful.

    As a youngster, I even remember riding at one h/j barn where some of the teens did spook each others horses on purpose to show us the reaction, running sideways, stopping, heads up, blowing like fire breathing dragons, and then easing them out of it. Those instructions and demonstrations stuck with me.

    My own kids and their friends got instruction by me and the other cowboys as they grew up. Green riders who ride with us do, too.

    I also remember a riding with a friend and his son. Son thought he knew it all and was kind of sullen have to help move a small bunch of calm cows on one of the gentle ranch geldings. His riding showed it. The dad, at one point took his hat off and tossed it at the son's horse causing it to spook almost leaving junior on the ground. Dad growled "What's the matter Mr. Colt Rider? You going to ride that horse or be a passenger?" Meaning "be prepared and give every horse a good ride every time."
    Eolith, bsms and sarahfromsc like this.
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        04-09-2014, 09:56 AM
    Lessons are great for the basics, for supervised saddle time and for learning a particular discipline. I don't think most instructors teach the other stuff unless it comes up during a lesson and the horse needs a correction. It's because most riding instructors are teaching a particular riding disicipline.

    However, stuff like one rein stops and all that is - at least from what I'm seeing - falling under "horsemanship" and there are instructors out there if you look for them. Whenever I go to a obstacle/horsemanship clinic, it's all about working around scary things and the like.
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        04-09-2014, 10:05 AM
    This is why my I love that my lessons also included going out on trail once we were ready. And my lesson/lease horse spooked in the arena all the time for no particular reason anyway, so I learned how to sit a spook pretty easily.

    Honestly riding on trails has improved my seat and my hands and my overall riding ability way more then endless circles in an arena would. Riding on trail you learn how to work with your horse to get through obstacles, or over uneven terrain where you need to balance correctly so your horse doesn't end up tripping and putting you both on your heads.

    I remember once talking to a friend and she asked what I did with my horse and I said trail. At first she was like "oh, like the class with the obstacles and stuff?" And I said no, real trail, outside, with mud and weather and animals popping out from behind trees. And no sparkly outfits!
    boots and TrailTraveler like this.
        04-09-2014, 07:02 PM
    The instructor I had for years thought of trail riding as "slacking off." It was the one thing I really didn't like about her.
        04-09-2014, 07:19 PM
    I've taken lessons, on and off, at different points in my life. Usually, they were kind of refresher lessons because I don't show. I do, however, LOVE to trail ride -- not like the show class, but the real thing with real hills and real streams and trees and scary, furry/feathered creatures popping out from behind bushes.

    It's funny to me, too, that a lot of my friends who show occasionally take their horses out for a trail ride as a "treat." For the rider? Or for the horse? BOTH, would be my guess. Trail riding as a "treat." Yep, I think so, too. Beats "work," any day, in my opinion....
        04-09-2014, 07:21 PM
    In addition to the very,very basics of w/t/c, stops and turns, I'd say it would serve any trail rider well to know how to ask for and get sideways and at least turns on the forehand (yield hq). You never know what you're going to encounter on the trail and what you'll need to be able to do to get yourself and your horse safely out of ,around, or thru it !
    The first time we needed to turn around on a narrow trail,I forget what was blocking forward movement, with a few horses stopped in front of us,, I swear I could feel Sonny thinking "so this is the purpose of it" when I had him do a hq yield x 180 degrees to get us headed back up the trail. Other folks had to do a regular turn with forward motion and got all off into the heavy bushes, etc. on the sides, while we managed to turn around without getting off the path.
    Sideways comes in very handy when you run into gates that aren't on the map, or weren't supposed to be closed when you got to them. Speaking of maps and markings on the trails...never ,never good ime.
    Yes, YES to the one rein stop and having practiced it ad nauseum in a calm situation before ever needing it, having been taught in a lesson situation how to s l o w l y ask for it.
    Although a lot of instructors , esp. If geared toward showing/arena only..don't include helpful trail lessons,,there are options available. One of our local natural horsemanship trainers has an annual one day clinic geared esp. For trail riders/horses,and he also has an annual trail obstacle day.
    If you're an ACTHA or the other obstacle trail group (sorry , I've forgotten the name) member, then you have lots of opportunities to help your horse get confident with suddenly coming upon people and strange man made obstacles on the trail.
    A good trail horse is worth his weight in gold, imho.

        04-10-2014, 02:50 AM
    My instructor never said, "Here's how we stop a spooking horse." but all her lessons that taught me balance and cues and rein work saved me from just that problem during a lesson.

    If you have a good instructor, you'll be learning what you need to know during every lesson regardless of whether the instructor actually tells you that's what you're doing.

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