Getting back to the Horsey way of life - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 02-10-2009, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Getting back to the Horsey way of life

I am pretty new to this forum and I thought I would do a journal about my horse background and where I am at. I have changed the names to protect the innocent.

I am sure I was like many of you, I was horse crazy as a kid. Begging my parents for a horse and lessons. (I once even told my parents that I must be adopted because my real parents would get me a horse. Wow kids can be cruel.) They called around and none of the trainers in my area would start lessons until the kid was 7 so I had to wait. I knew I wanted to ride hunters. My mom had rode as a girl and I had all these pictures of my mom riding her horse Blackcherry.

I started taking lessons at a stable in our area with a lady, which we will call Sarah. Even though her teaching style consisted of constantly yelling and putting me down I stayed because I wanted to be around horses. I also knew that my parents did not have much money and she was the cheapest around. Looking back now, I don't know why I stayed as long as I did. I stayed with Sarah a total of 4 years. The barn was unsafe. There where very aggressive stallions. One of which had a stall right next to the grooming supply cabinet and he would lunge at you at any opportunity.

At my first show, she put me on a horse that I had only ridden a few times when I first started. She did not tell me until the night before the show. I realize now that it was because she did not have enough room in the trailers, but she just acted as if it was a punishment for not doing something right in the lesson. She did this more then once. My parents did not have a lot of money, so I mainly leased horses and rode the lesson horses. Which did in the long run help me be a better rider. I had many good friends at this stable and that made things more bearable. There were also some boarders at the stable who where really nice and taught me a lot about taking care of horses. Sarah did teach me a lot too, but she was not constructive in her teaching style.

In fact the straw that broke the camels back was when she did this again.At the last show with her I was riding a horse I had not ridden in a long time. While normally this horse, which we will call Billy, was very docile in fact he was probably in his early 20s. He was acting up a lot. (mind you I am 11 years old) I could not get Sarah to help me, she was just ignoring me. This is when my mom lost her cool. She got really mad at Sarah and told her off in front of everyone at the show. (Not really a stellar moment for my mom, but we had enough)

We left the stable and I was soon followed by many of my friends. We went to a stable a little further away that was run by Dana (of course names changed). When I left Sarah's I really thought I was a bad rider, but I loved riding and wanted to continue. The difference was like night and day. The stable was new and the horses where well trained and not the old hags I had been riding. My first lesson with Dana, she complemented me! She made me feel good about my riding. She explained these I was doing wrong to help me understand in a new way.

Soon after I had been there, she found a horse that suited me and worked payments out with my parents, so I could get my own horse. I rode with her for several more years until I decided I no longer wanted to show. I was tired of the competiveness. I moved my horse to a place very close to my home so that I could ride everyday. Even though no one else at the stable rode english, I could ride to my hearts content and no longer took lessons.

Money got really tight for my family when my mom got sick, so I sold my horse when I was 17. I got a job on a polo farm and exercised the polo ponies for a while. I quit because the owner and I had different options on how horses are treated. I would not continue to work horses that were not sound and just hopped up on pain meds.

I later worked in a vet clinic and rode fox hunters with my friend that I worked with. Soon she moved away and we lost contact. After that I would work horses for different people I knew, but nothing on a permenent basis.

About a year after that my friend who had joined the navy came home on leave after 9-11 and we got married 10 days later. I moved out to California with him and wanted to ride but it was so expensive I knew we could not afford it. Where I was from I was known in the horse community and people would ask me to work their horses, but I was completly unknown out there. We moved around and I rode on occation. I was in college and had a lot going on. I got my bacholors and masters(this being the girl who never thought she was going to college ever when I graduated high school)

We came to the point where my husband could reenlist and go back out to sea or Iraq or get out. We got out. We moved to Missouri and I started a Ph.D. program at the University. We bought our first place 15 acres near the town. It has a nice pasture, but no fence or barn. We have been here about 6mo. I am getting really impationt with the whole process. I have decided that I want to start taking some dressage lessons in the mean time to get my seat back. I found a stable in the area that I like and am going to start in April when the constuction is done on thier new outdoor arena. This is a new stable that just recently opened. Which is a great thing since the next closest person that rides english is almost 2 hours away. I am really looking forward to it.

My primary goal is to adopt an ex-racehorse. I had ridden several before and really want to work with them again. I have a long way to go before that point, but that is my end goal. I have been drooling over the horses for adoption on New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program but I am going to have to wait for that.
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post #2 of 16 Old 02-13-2009, 12:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: texas
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Really liked the journal entry. Its awesome that you are going to start riding again Good luck on the horse search and Dressage lessons!!!
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post #3 of 16 Old 02-13-2009, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2009
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I have been getting out my old tack and cleaning it up. Even if I don't have a horse to put it on I still feel like I am doing something horsey. One of my bridles got pretty dried out, so I oiled it up and it feels great now. My dogs thought the whole process smelled great. There was a lot of sniffing when I was taking the stuff out of storage. One of the beagles Maggie even found some old horse treats in the tack trunk.

I do realize now that the styles of tack have kinda changed since I rode. I have a crosby plain flap close contact and courbette eventing saddle with suede knee pads. The smooth leather padded flaps seems to be the big thing now. I also have a braided leather bridle that was all the rage back then. I could not even find one for sale in the tack stores. I still really like it. Both saddles are in great shape still and don't see the need in getting rid of them to be fashionable. Now I am thinking if I get into dressage maybe I'll get a brown dressage saddle, stay consistant you know.

It was a little sad when I found out that my slim calfed field boots no longer go on. Of course I was about 30 pounds lighter the last time I rode in them. Ah, what time has done to my lower half.
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post #4 of 16 Old 02-14-2009, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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I am trying my best to be patient as the outdoor arena is being built at the stable I am going to start lessons at. April seems so far away.

The most silly thing is that I am a little nervous. I know I can ride, but since it has been so long I don't know if I will still do ok. The thing that makes me the most nervous is posting. Posting a trot is second nature to me, but it took me forever to learn how to feel and get a correct diagonal. My old trainer Sarah, (mentioned above) used to yell at me all the time about it. "Look at his shoulder!" "Why can't you get this!" etc. I have a bit of a confidence issue with it. I used to look down at the horses shoulder for the first several strides of the trot, until my next trainer explained to me how to feel and connect with the horses gait, so that I would not have to stare down at his shoulder. I am worried I wont be able to do it again.

I wish I could be more like my mom. She can get on a horse after 10 years and look like she has been riding everyday for the last 10 years. It is like her muscles have a perfect memory for it. Of course don't put her on a bicycle she will just fall right over.
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post #5 of 16 Old 02-15-2009, 06:00 PM
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It's perfectly normal to be nervous, but i'm sure you will do fine! :)
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post #6 of 16 Old 02-18-2009, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Well, since my mom has come up a few times, so I will elaborate.

She rode as a girl in hunter jumper shows and had a Morgan cross named Blackcherry. He was sold when she went to college. I grew up reading all of her old horse books. She would ride with me sometimes when I was growing up, mainly riding in the field or on the trail. She even once did a walk trot class at a schooling show for fun on a horse I was leasing and got 2nd place. She was the total horse show mom. She was the one who drove me to my lessons, and shows. Took me to the riding club meetings, the whole nine yards.

Several years back she was in an car accident and her pelvis was shattered. You know the type of story the doctor said she was unlikely to walk again, but now she gets around just fine. She does still have some pain issues on and off. She wants to ride again and has been talking about it for years. She says that dressage is the perfect riding sport for old ladies.

She is real concerned about it being painful to ride. She had a friend who had a gel seat saddle and is convenced that it would make all the difference. I told her that I would get her a gel seat saver and we can put it on one of my saddles. I think she just need an to get back on again to find out that it will be ok.
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-04-2009, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I just got back from my first dressage lesson. It went really well, and I really liked the way the trainer instructed and described what to do. She was really positive and always made sure I understood her instructions. I was really worried about my seat and leg position, but she actually complemented me on it. I do need to work on my hands some. It was interesting to discover the differences between dressage and hunt seat. Also, she told me about a dressage clinic that runs about once a month. I think I might go just to watch the next one and maybe ride in the next.

I rode a really loud bald face paint mare. She is really solid and was a great horse to ride after being out of the saddle for so long.

I am really looking forward to the next lesson.
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post #8 of 16 Old 04-04-2009, 10:14 PM
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Location: South Carolina
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thats good glad you had fun
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-15-2009, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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**** April weather, it has been raining too much to ride. The instructor is currently putting in a new footing in the arena, so hopefully it will drain better in the future. By the time the winter comes, they are supposed to be done with the indoor, too. In the future rain will not stop me.

I have been walking around our place with a walking wheel, plotting out my own paddocks and arena for the *one day* when I will have enough money to build them. I might just start buying posts little by little and hoard them, so that I will have enough at some point.
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-21-2009, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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I had my second dressage lesson and it went really well. My body kinda goes straight into a hunt seat when I get into a saddle, so changing to a dressage seat feels weird. I always heard people say things like "engage the haunches" and get "the horse into a frame", but never really understood what they were talking about. Now I do, this trainer seems to really explain things in a way I can understand. The one downside to her as an instructor is sometimes we start talking during a lesson and kinda get side tracked telling old stories and such. I guess this is the first time I have been training under someone who was close to my age, so the dynamic is different.

I am going on a trip with my mom and one the way we are going to stop at the "Ghost Ranch" in New Mexico. My mom is a big Georgia O'Keeffe fan. They have a horseback riding thing there, so we are going to go on it. Maybe trying out riding again when all you do is walk in a line would be good to get her confidence back.

Also, when going through the big cities we are going to go to all the big tack stores. Tack stores are in very short supply around here. The feed store in town has a small selection of western saddles and one very sad looking used English saddle. This thing was really cheap and maybe cost $150 new, the seat has been used as a scratching post by some cat. They are asking $125 for it. Needless to say it has been there the whole year we have lived here. I seriously think that they think just because it is an English saddle it must be expensive. The next town with a tack store with "English selection" is two hours away. I have not been there yet, I just looked at their website.
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