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alianne 09-24-2012 04:32 PM

Beginner wanting to start lessons soon, would love advice!
I am an absolute beginner, for sure! I went to horse camp for 4-5 summers when I was younger and had an aunt who gave me lessons for awhile on her horse, but other than that I was raised in a suburban area with almost NO exposure to horses. I always really loved horse camp and was always very excited to go visit my family friends in Wisconsin to visit their horses.
Now that I live in a more rural area I've found there are 3-4 different stables here and I'd like to at least try to start taking lessons. Is there anything to look for specifically in a trainer/lessons? Anything that should be a red flag that someone who's relatively new to riding might not know about? I'm just really trying to get more information on something that will be a new experience for me and would love any help/suggestions.

Joe4d 09-24-2012 04:35 PM

dont get so caught up in prim and proper you dont enjoy yourself. Alot of it just doesnt matter. Remember it is a hobby and should be fun.

Andieve 09-24-2012 04:35 PM

I think it's nice to find a trainer that will teach you how to groom and tack as well as the riding. :)

Good luck with your lessons!

alianne 09-24-2012 04:46 PM

Joe4d, I'll keep this in mind while I'm taking my lessons! At this point all I'm really interested in would be trail riding, but that may change as I progress! Or maybe not, I guess I'll see :)
Andieve, I posted on my local craigslist asking for reviews on the stables near me and just got off the phone with a woman who had taken her niece to lessons and gave a glowing review, she said the hour lessons were actually much longer than an hour because they had the students go get the horse, groom them, and get all the tack together and on and those parts apparently don't count towards the hour! Thank you!

Thunder1 09-24-2012 07:39 PM

X2 on learning to tack and groom

DancingArabian 09-24-2012 08:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Like the others said, take lessons on tacking and grooming but also basic horsemanship. Learn how to catch, lead, properly tie, the things to look for that tell you when a horse is lame, symptoms of colic or general illness. Learn how to spot check your horse for injuries and missing shoes.

Watch videos and see what kind of disciplines/activities look interesting to you.

ThursdayNext 09-24-2012 10:45 PM

WA-HOO!! Come to the dark side, honey!! It's a slippery slope, taking lessons. Next thing you know you'll be back here asking for opinions on the horse you're planning to buy. hee hee hee... :-P

For now. You should decide whether you want to learn Western or English (of some kind) because not all lesson barns teach both. It doesn't matter so much what kind of English you want to do, if it's English, because the basic skills are the same when you start no matter what discipline you go for.

What to look for in a lesson barn:
Clean facilities without a lot of dangerous looking metal stuff and other junk lying around. There will be SOME junk but it shouldn't be the kind to make you worry about getting cut up on it.

Horses that look healthy and happy (note: all horses get pissy, even the happy ones). Horses shouldn't have prominent bones and ribs you can count, and should have reasonably bright eyes and even, shiny coats. You can't tell anything useful from manes and tails because a lot of that just comes from the breed, and some horses are really hard on their manes and tales. So just because those look ratty doesn't mean the horse is unwell.

A lack of barn personnel beating horses with sticks or using whips to hit them. Using the end of the lead rope is fine, and using whips in the air is part of lunging and certain types of training, so just because you see a whip come out doesn't mean there's abuse going on.

Clean-ish tack. OK to be dusty. Not OK to be frayed or encrusted with filth.

Ring in good condition. Ask yourself if you'd want to run on that surface. If there's a big ditch where you can see that the horses have been walking in circles around the edge of the arena, that's not so great. That happens, but it's not great for the horses' legs. It should be getting flattened out regularly with a harrow.

What to look for in an instructor: someone with experience teaching people like you (some people do great with kids, some with adults, some with both).

Someone who will take time to answer your questions.

Someone who will teach you basic horse care (grooming the horse, tacking up, all that stuff is part of "riding").

ThursdayNext 09-24-2012 10:47 PM

Oh, yeah, and if you see barbed wire on the horse pens, turn around and leave.

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