Where's it going?
Do most people have aims and know what they are working towards with their riding?
Sometimes I feel like I'm not sure what's happening, and what I am actually improving on. I know I've got to get better at my cantering and jumping, but I want to be able to do other things as well which I can't. My stables said that I can't ride bareback there (unless I go to pony camp, which I can't afford). I want to be able to learn horse care, but my mum said that I can't help out there or volunteer somewhere because it would get in the way of my school work.
My lessons just seem random with what we work on, it seems to depend on who else is in my lesson. I really want to do dressage, and perfect all the gaits but I don't think I'll be able to do that at the stables I am at. Sometimes I am on an unbalanced horse, but I'm not really sure what to do about it or how I should ride differently. Sometimes I'm on a horse that is dead to the leg or leans on the reins or rushes at jumps or bucks into canter and I don't know what to do. Am I just being too optimistic, are most lesson horses like this?
It was a bit annoying that my last "lesson" was actually a hack where we just walked round for an hour and I didn't learn anything because the pony camp was going on and the school was being used. I know that it's nice to get out of the school sometimes and go out into the countryside, but as I only get one hour riding a week I felt like it was a bit wasted, and they could've told me that I would be hacking if my lesson was then so I could have booked my lesson for a different day.
I really want to loan a horse, to have one that is "mine", and if they have any problems then I could try to sort it. I could be with horses more than an hour a week and learn much quicker. I'm going to try and get a job when I'm 16, so maybe in a year I could loan.
Sorry, this has just turned into a moan :oops: I just wish I was more involved with the horse world.
I'm sorry to hear you're frustrated! However, your mother is right in that at your age, school is definitely more important. Perhaps you could volunteer during breaks? I understand wanting to be more involved with horses but not being able to. I completely felt that way at your age.
Lessons are learning experiences, so even if they are random, it doesn't mean you're not learning. You're said you're not sure how to ride an unbalanced horse: Did you ride it though? If so, you're doing at least something right! Same thing with a horse that bucks. You're learning how to keep your balance, even when a horse doesn't go forward perfectly.
Even going on a hack is a learning experience, though it might not feel like it. You and your horse are in a different environment, and you have to ride just a little bit different. Your position may change if you're going up or down a hill, your horse might be a bit more excited or "looky," etc.
Right now, just keep at your lessons with the goal of being the best rider you can be. Work on getting your basics down. Read horse books, read this forum, and soak up all the knowledge you can for when you do get more involved. If you feel you want to switch to another barn that does dressage, then go ahead and do that. There's nothing wrong with switching barns. However, sometimes even the most random and unusual lessons are teaching you something, even if you don't realize it. When I taught lessons, I often played little games with my younger students. They thought they were messing around and having fun, not realizing that my games were helping them with things such as steering or transitions!
vergo, some days I feel like I'm not just not moving forward with my mares, but (in opposite) go backwards. :wink: Some lessons feel awesome, and some like we achieved nothing. But (as my instructor says and I completely agree) you always learn something when you ride. Even if it's not so positive experience, it's still an experience you learn from.
Yeah, I know I am progressing but it just seems so slow because I only get 4 hours with horses a month. I don't think I could volunteer because they would want a commitment, not just me turning up a few times and then not being able to for a few months.
On the unbalanced horses, when they do things like put their head down or go really fast I get told it's because they're unbalanced but I don't really get a lot of help with how to help the horse. I probably should ask more questions in my lessons.
On the hack she kept tripping over, and then spooked at something and leapt to the side, so I suppose it was good to experience that. Sometimes it feels like I'm getting told off for things that the horse does, like on the hack when I stopped to wait for people to catch up, and the horse I was on just decided to turn around. The horse my instructor was on will kick horses that go near, and I felt like my instructor was telling me off for my horse swinging round and she was saying pull on the right rein and give her a big kick in an annoyed tone. Maybe I had done something wrong, but it's not like I would ask my horse to swing round right next to a horse that is known for kicking.
I don't think I could go to a dressage stable, I think most of them want people to have their own horse, and they would probably be more expensive as well.
Vergo, I can tell you, right now I'm not quite sure what my goals are with my riding. It's a little bit confusing.
One thing I noticed is that some barns won't have a "goal" in mind for their riders or ask their riders what they want to work toward. Right now I'm pretty happy because every lesson I take builds up to something more challenging, and I feel like I learn something.
I know how it can stink to go to your lesson and then have it just be a hack or something similar. Especially when you only get so many lessons.
I really encourage you to see if you can lease a horse! It's really helped my confidence and it is so good to be able to get to know a horse and to know how to work with them.
In most cases if the horse is unbalanced it's because you're riding unbalanced. A lesson barn wouldn't have unsound or horses that have a balance problem, that's just asking for trouble. Only your instructor can tell you what you're doing wrong, it's hard for us to speculate what could be causing the horse to become unbalanced. Like I said before, you really need to spend some time doing no stirrup work especially at the trot and canter. Maybe even take away your reins and work on a lunge line. Yes, I said reins! Cantering without stirrups and reins is a great way to learn balance.
Don't worry about dressage right now because you have to master the basics first. I don't know how long you've been riding but I think you're getting a head of yourself, especially with only 4 hours a month which is very little time in the saddle. It's good though that your barn is switching you up on horses, you do not want to get too used to a specific lesson horse. There will be many times in your life where you will have to ride a dead lazy horse, or one you have to hold back every single stride. It's good experience even if it's frustrating right now. Push button horses are a luxury and when you get used to them you get spoiled. :)
It just sounds like you're not happy with your instructor or barn in general, and rightfully so based on what you said in other threads. Do you have another barn you can go to? I also understand you want to ride A LOT but you can't due to your age, time and lack of money right now. Being young sucks at times, but enjoy it while you can. You have your whole life ahead of you to master riding and get into dressage, doing whatever you want. :)
I don't know, I think that volunteering is excellent, both for experience and stuff to put on your résumé. You're a bit young to be thinking about that, but hey, it could lead to opportunities or help you get a job when you get a little older. I know your mother thinks it would interfere, but is there any way you could convince her to let you do it once a week, like on the weekends? Maybe you could tell her how useful it could be to you (work experience, connections, etc.), and show that you have all of your schoolwork completed by the time you go to volunteer? I don't know, it seems you really do want more time around horses, and I wouldn't give up on the volunteering idea just yet. It might be hard to convince her, but "real world" experience is good, just like doing well in school is good.
The only way I could loan a horse at the moment would be to stop my lessons which I don't think would be a good idea. I can't get a job (I'm almost 15) and I know my mum can't afford to pay for lessons and loaning.
My stables are a bit strange with how they do private or group lessons. I can't really ask for private lessons as they only really do that for beginners, but sometimes my lesson is private if they can't find anyone to be in the lesson with me. I probably have a private lesson every two months or so.
I'm going to ask if I can do more no stirrup work, I think my next lesson might be private so I'll see if I can do it then. My balance is pretty awful :oops:
If it was me who's unbalanced, wouldn't that make all the horses I ride unbalanced? I got told for one horse that I rode that she was unbalanced in the canter so ends up going really fast, is that me causing that? Some of the horses are quite young, I think the youngest I've been on is 5, so that might cause some difficulty as well.
I've looked at moving stable before but the stable I am at is the best one around here. Ive been riding for two years, and for the first year I went to an awful stable, and I've also tried another stable around here but I could only afford half hour lessons there and the horse was already tacked up when I got there so I don't really want to go there.
I have asked my mum about volunteering on the weekend, but she said it would be too restricting because they would want me there every week and it would make going away or having days out difficult.
When the horse speeds up at the canter you need to sit tall with a deep seat and make sure you're not leaning forward. A lot of riders think they are sitting tall (straight) when in reality they are leaning forward which can tell the horse to go faster. You have to tell yourself to sit back and often times when it feels like you're leaning too far backwards you are actually sitting perfectly straight. You also need to make sure you're not tensing up and breathe!
Has your barn taught you about half halts? Half halts are a great way to also control the pace and keep the horse focused on what you're asking them to do.
My coach told me that all horses are unbalanced in some way. You have to figure out what the kinks are and adapt to the horse to make him straighter. I have to use a lot of right leg on the horse I ride because he is weaker on that side and cuts corners, etc., but going the other way around the arena he's fine.
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