Getting Started, Things I should know?
I've just gotten an English saddle and I hope to start riding English (I already ride Western and have for a long time & I would say I'm a decently solid rider) and I really want to jump and event - because I think it looks so much fun!! But first I need to learn how to ride English... ;)
My pony is a 14hh POA gelding named Specs. He's a pretty good all-arounder. and he's 11. Do you think he's too old to train to jump? I know - 11's not old - but still. I've jumped him a little before (like x-rails, and big, 1 1/2 diameter log!) and he does it. Not well - but he gets over it ;)... He's got good sturdy legs & feet, doesn't have any huge conformation flaws, and is very healthy for the most part--physically. Mentally - he's sometimes not all there :-P jk.. Check out my pic in his profile in 'my barn' if you wanna see him ;).
I just got the saddle - a 16" Silver Fox saddle I got off a horsey website (high quality right? haha! I just wanted to try a cheapy first just in case I change my mind on riding English - then I wouldn't be out on $$.)
I had a few questions that I thought you guys could answer?...
-How do you size an English girth? Is it the same as Western? Or what?
-I'm not real big... 5'2 and pretty petite, but I thought that a 16" is a pretty generic size, right?
-How long should stirrups be? How do you know how long to use your stirrups? Last time I rode English like a year ago, my friend ('instructor' I guess ;P) said that my stirrups were wayy too long and laughed at me - but they felt perty short to me!
-Will I look stupid riding English in jeans and cowboy boots :oops:
Anything else I should know??
I just think a few lesson will be the best way to get started. Is that possible for you? It just makes every so much easier to be "shown" instead of "told".
Good luck, and I am sure your horse is not too old.
Can't any horse jump? its just something natural for them. and to get the length of your stirrups, make a fist with your hand, and put it to the bit where the stirrup leathers join the saddle, stretch the stirrup leathers and iron out, and the stirrup irons should roughly be at your underarm. and you can ride English in whatever you like!
If your stirrups are too long or short, shorten or lengthen them until the stirrup iron fits under your armpit comfortably without any excess stirrup leather.
It's kind of the baseline on where you start. From there you shorten or lengthen based on a few things.
(these aren't concrete just my opinion and experience):
a) discipline in English (dressage, jumping, hunters, eventing)
b) your seat
c) strength of leg
The first and foremost is which discipline you decide to do. It's best to start (IMOP) with Dressage because it's about finding that seat, learning the basics inside and out dealing on the flat only. But you can start with whatever. Dressage stirrups tend to be longer. But an exception would be if you are working on your legs (like I am) your trainer may shorten them etc.
I've found that if you have a more secure seat, you can often get away with longer stirrups but it isn't dependent on this sole fact. Just a factor. Also if you have weaker legs (me again) you may work with short stirrups.
Lastly, you always should factor in comfort. If you aren't comfortable, then your riding probably isn't as relaxed and put together as it could be.
No you won't look silly in jeans and cowboy boots. Maybe at an English show :P but you shouldn't be concerned about how others view you when you're with your horse.
Have fun!!!!! :)
Make sure you get that saddle evaluated on your horse to make sure it fits!!
Stirrups should be right at your ankle bone. (the part of stirrup where your foot rests). 16 sounds like it could be on the big side if you are super tiny. Boots & jeans are ok, you might want some half chaps too so that your jeans don't get stuck in your leathers. I wear them when I don't feel like changing into my breeches. My Ariat pro-baby boots fit fine in the stirrups. If you're just playing around and not showing, who cares what you are wearing, as long as it's safe. :)
Eventually I would like to do hunter/jumpers!
Another question... Is it illegal neckrein in English riding? :-P ok maybe not illegal, but is it frowned upon? Specs can do both neckreining and plow reining, but I'm just curious ;).
Thanks SO much!
Run, your horse may have a heart for jumping. Or may not. But 11 is nearly not being old to start! Lol! I'd strongly advise working with the trainer though (and may be take some english lessons on BTDT lesson horse).
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