Today was my first riding lesson in about four years. I stopped riding regularly maybe 3 and a half years ago and I decided I wanted to get back into it, so I took a lesson. I am in so much pain, I didn't know how much horse riding could hurt.
It was interesting. I sort of have "big horse fear". A few months before I stopped riding I was riding someone elses horse, a 17.2hh OTTB and it threw me, I hurt my ankle and was on crutches for a few weeks. That really shook me up because I have never seriously hurt myself when I have fallen. A few months later I was riding my last horse, a 16.3hh Clydie/TB and we were cooling down from a session on a long rein and she just went a bit crazy. Started full out bucking, threw me after a few and I landed on my head, then she kept bolting around bucking, ripping the bridle up. I don't know what happened, it was so out of character for that horse that I figured maybe something stung her, she never did anything like that again. I was so dazed and dizzy when I came off I didn't get back on for about a week, and those two incidents combined sort of made me lose my nerve.
I sold the horse when I left home and moved away (went through a teenage stage) and since then I have ridden a few times, but only smallish horses.
So I thought I would have a nice lesson, and for some reason I thought that all school horses were kind of small and nice. I was wrong. They brought me to this 17.2hh Warmblood dressage/vaulting horse with the hugest strides ever. He was taller than me.
I thought I would do worse and that the instructor would tell me I sucked, but I was pleasently suprised. She said my position needs no work and I have excellent heels. She said I did well on this horse who gives many people trouble with canter transitions because you have to hold him together and be clear with aides, but I got him first go. I also faced my big horse fear - I wouldn't buy anything over 16hh but I feel better about the giants.
This muscle on the outside of my ankle hurts like hell. And I know exactly where my seat bones are because I feel them everytime I sit down.
As good as it was to have a lesson it got my thinking. To me lessons have been tools to help train me and my horse for a goal but I don't have that anymore. My riding is good enough for general riding and low level jumping/dressage. It was fun to ride but I felt like there was nothing much to achieve. Like we worked on yielding of the leg and extensions but I don't know if its worth forking out $50 for a private lesson if I am not really accomplishing much.
So I am thinking of getting a horse of my own again. I can just afford it, and have a few grand in savings that I was going to use for travel, which I can get set up with rugs and such, and I kept my saddle.
There is this association where I live that rehomes Standardbreds. You put in your application and then where there is a suitable horse in your area they notify you and you can go check it out. If you like it they give it to you on a 12 month lease. If at any time you feel that the horse you have isn't right for you or something you can give it back with some notice. If after 12 months (and two vet checks) you like the horse and want to keep if you send the association $40 and they transfer the horse into your name.
They're generally unbroken to saddle but broken to harness. I started my clydie/TB alone so I think I should be able to do it. Also, I'd keep it at the place where I took lessons, they also have horse trainers there so if I needed a hand I could get some help. They have a round yard, indoor arena, jump arena and cross country course. The shared paddock option costs more than I wanted to pay per week but I think it is worth it for the facilities - once the horse is broken and basically trained I could move it elsewhere or into their larger paddocks. They also have some people from the uni I attend, so maybe I could make some new friends.
I only want a horse for pleasure riding, maybe adult riding club, the occasional unofficial competition in something, but at the same time I like a challenge. I don't like "perfect" horses, I like having something to work at. I've heard Standardbreds have wonderful temperments, and although they can be a little trickier to retrain many of them seem to come good. I also like the idea of helping a horse that is in a bad situation. I know many people like TBs more, and I have had one before but I don't want one at this stage in my life.
I know its long, but I just wanted to talk about the situation - I have no horsey friends and my family is not into horses so I just wanted to write my plan down and maybe get some comments, opinions?
Thanks for reading!