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MitchTx 12-16-2012 01:42 AM

too late to start?
I come tonight with my hat in hand to seek guidance, advice.

First a bit about myself. Recently 47, I remember riding horses on the dairy as a child when I was 6, but I haven't ridden anything since. Even then it was just something we kind of fell into. Nobody ever really taught us anything, we just led our horse to the fence and climbed on board. :) I remember nothing about it other than I remember riding in pastures.

Life happened over the years and while I've always liked horses I've never really had the time or funds to think about learning to ride(the family dairy is long gone). That and I've been more than a bit heavy for riding. However that's been on the mend this last year and I figure I've got about another 3 or 4 months until I hit the 230's or so again with my ultimate goal of 220 at 6'4". While that still puts me on the large end of things I think I can find a barn that will be willing to teach me on their horses at that size in the area.

So, the question is, is it too late to learn? I'll admit, I don't bounce like I did when I was younger. The thought of falling/being thrown from a horse isn't high on my list of things to do. However I believe that hiding in your house doesn't mean you live any longer, just means life is a bit more boring.

I'm sure I'll have a lot more questions as things go forward, if they go forward. I don't know if I should look at english or western, or if it even matters at this point. All I know is that I think it would be really kind of a nice, fun, neat thing to find myself on a horse. But if i do, I really want to do it the right way, the safe way, the way where I learn good habits and learn to work with a horse correctly in partnership.

I'm just feeling a bit timid about the whole thing though and wonder, have I left it for too long before I started.

What say you?

usandpets 12-16-2012 04:10 AM

47 isn't really that old, I think. My wife turned 45 when we got our horses 6 years ago.

I think you have the right idea. Take a few lessons first and not jumping in with both feet and buying a horse. That way you can test it out without a big commitment of owning a horse. Usually lesson horses are more laid back and don't act up. They shouldn't buck and such, throwing you off.
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SorrelHorse 12-16-2012 04:17 AM

I don't think you're too old at all. ^^

Saskia 12-16-2012 05:18 AM

Ages shows how many years you've been on this earth and beyond that it means little else, I think. It doesn't demonstrate knowledge, ability, health, maturity or anything else. That at least is my opinion.

It's never too late to try anything. You bounce no worse than any other 47 year old who rides, and there are plenty of them.

clairegillies 12-16-2012 05:23 AM

if you learn to ride now you are only incresing your fitness and happiness and give yourself more to live for.

we want to know when you're starting!!


bsms 12-16-2012 07:51 AM

I started at 50. Western saddles distribute the weight over a greater area, and if you get off-balance sideways a horn is nice to grab and get back into a balanced position. I bought horses and then learned to ride, and that is a bad order. Based on my experience, I always recommend lessons first. When I finally took lessons, I was lucky enough to find someone who emphasized how our riding affects the horse's movement and attitude.

If you take lessons, remember that a horse you own can get used to you and your personality. Some lesson horses can be a turn-off because they have so many different riders on them that they become jaded. They shut down emotionally because so many of their riders don't respect them. Too many lessons are about the rider, and not the rider with a horse...

My mare Mia got me hooked on riding. She was a horrible buy for a new rider (although advertised as perfect for one :?), but her intense personality taught me very early on that I was riding WITH her, not ON her. You ride ON a dirt bike. You ride WITH a horse, even if you are 'alone'. Good luck!

Tracer 12-16-2012 08:06 AM

It's never too late :)

I'd advise getting some lessons in both English and Western and see which one you have more of an affinity for. Then work on that one and see how you go :)

Like bsms said, a western saddle could be good whilst you're learning your balance. Personally I'd recommend trying to learn in an Australian saddle (I'm totally not biased as an Australian myself!). The thigh pads help keep you in the saddle, and the seats are nice and deep and mostly ridiculously comfortable, which comes in handy when you're not used to riding for long periods of time. Plus, it's easy to attach a 'monkey bar' for extra support.

Good luck!

MitchTx 12-16-2012 10:56 PM

Well thanks for all the good feedback folks. I really appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

I've still a bit to go on weight I think before I want to subject a horse to me. But I'm already down 70 pounds to 260... It can't be that much longer until I lose the other 40 to 220 right? ;) The next question is, how gangly will someone 6'4 on a horse look (chuckle) No, this will be fun and I'm looking forward to it. Gives me something to hang my hat on for a goal.

Now to look up some lesson barns in my area! I was reading on one online last night, they won't take students who weigh more than 230, so postponing starting until I get to 220 looks to make the most sense.

My thoughts on things are to work with lesson horses for at least a couple of years. I'm sure I can learn a lot that way and even start to ride 'trails' or what not for fun along the way with rentals. I wouldn't want to jump right in with owning a horse. For one thing there is so much to keeping a horse well and happy and I'd want to make sure that 'd really be able to do that and do them justice. Time to learn for now, maybe someday one will follow me home, but it's not the plan right off.

Any suggesting for required reading beforehand?

I'm pretty excited right now with the thought of finally getting up on a horse. They are such beautiful animals and I'd like to share at least a bit of my life with them.

Thunderspark 12-17-2012 12:25 AM

I was 43 when I got back into horses, I had been away from them for over 30yrs. I had never had riding lessons, I rode as a kid, did I have balance back then! Anyways, I was 46 when I started riding again (had younger one but not old enough to ride or train yet) and I had bought a 3yr. old filly with 30 days of riding LOL what the hell was I thinking! So it was green with green, not a good combination but it worked out for me! I had a western saddle but couldn't lift the darn thing so I got myself a bareback pad with stirrups and rode with that and her halter for about 3 months in the round pen. Just working on getting to know each other and making sure she understood whoa LOL My bareback pad had stirrups which helped me with keeping my balance, we slowly worked our way out from the round pen, to the yard, down the driveway and eventually out with others. I rode her for 3yrs. with the bareback pad and halter, never once fell off.....she was very reactive and would spin if something scared her but always stopped for me! My mare is now a mom to a 4yr. gelding I am training and she is going to be 11 this spring. I started using a saddle just over 5yrs. ago, we do alot of challenging trail rides so I did need something more secure than the pad. It took me a long time to get used to the saddle and even now I walk up a step stool to put it on her LOL We trailer all over the place with my friends and go for day rides and camping with the horses! At the time I was feeling I was too old to be learning how to ride but I don't regret my decision to get back into horses! I still have never taken lessons but my mare and I have come so far together, trusting each other......we ride through rivers, hills straight up and down, through thick bush and are having the time of our lives! You are never too old......we just are more cautious about things than when we were younger......keep us posted and good luck loosing the weight! Riding will definetly get you in better did me too!

tinyliny 12-17-2012 01:28 AM

Well first of all, welcome! you've come to the right place!

Secondly, age DOES matter. people who say it doesn't matter aren't old enough to feel how it affects you, specially when you fall off! And , I say that because you will naturally be more concerned with safety than a person who learns at 27.

However, it doesn't matter in that you wont' get any younger, so your choice is to try it, or pass it on by. What say you?

There are loads of us who ride and we're ancient. and some of us started late. It really is a hoot and will keep you young, since you really ARE!

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