Riding right vs. riding easy (spinoff from "New Headset" thread)
I decided to start a new thread because the other one seems to be going in many directions, and something that was said over there really spoke to me.
When I'm trying so hard to get something that should be incredibly simple, it's very tempting to give up and decide to just sit there and not learn to ride properly. After all, it worked for me for 20 years.
But then I realize that I owe it to my horses to learn how to ride them to their best advantage. After all, should they be the ones doing all the work?
So, I've started doing yoga, strength training, and fitness exercises to tone my body so I'm capable of becoming the best rider I can. It's difficult. It's frustrating. At times it's hard not to feel embarassed to be in a class of beginners who all seem to be getting things a lot quicker than me, all because I have years and years of bad habits to overcome. But... hopefully... in the end it will be worth it.
I am so with you! I had been riding incorrectly for so long and now have begun to understand how I'm supposed to be riding. It's difficult, esp when you don't know much to start with because everyone seems "experienced" when they may not know how to ride correctly either.
It certainly isn't easy. Expecting your horse to be a robot and do everything without being told is not very realistic. It's called riding, not sitting.
Thanks, I think there needs to be a thread like this.
Hmmm I always want to ride correctly, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes I think a person needs to learn to not only ride correctly, but to correct the horse correctly. For example, having the ability to recognize and 'feel' when the horse is moving improperly, because in all reality a rider could be the picture of perfect if you looked at just the rider in one instance....however the horse underneath may be a whole different picture.
How many of us have seen the photos of the rider sitting perfectly, perfect seat, perfect hands......and the horse underneath is running down hill or throwing its head in the air like a giraffe.
I've seen people get totally overwhelmed after attending a three day clinic, the information overload is too much. I much prefer to get ONE piece of advice, go home and work on it, get it perfect, then go back and get one more piece of advice.
Learning to ride correctly takes time, patience, practice and the willingness to accept constructive criticism to improve.....it ALSO requires the rider to teach the horse to carry them obediently while remaining balanced and soft. It's a two way street.......many people forget that.
I recently bought a 6 year old very, very green horse (had been backed a few times and that's about it). My trainer's been working with him and he's absolutely lovely... but I can't ride him at the moment because I'd send him through the roof. I need to learn to be a quieter, more balanced rider. It's great to have a goal (to be able to ride my own horse), but is difficult to sit back and watch at times. I'm in no hurry to jump on him before my trainer feels I'm ready, though... he's too tall and I'm too old to hit the dirt!
I'm curious to know what you mean by 'correctly'. I feel that's the wrong word.
There are SO many ways to ride a horse - calling any of them correct or incorrect is just silly. There are ways to ride more effectively, more clearly, more safely, more comfortably - but what is correct is very subject to opinion.
To me, it doesn't matter what style you ride - whether you're more comfortable in a chair seat or a forward seat, or whether you rely a little more on your hands or your seat - So long as you and your horse have a clear understanding of each other's expectations and respect that. I find most often when someone says the "correct" way to ride a horse they're referring to a more dressage style. And while I've learned so much from my few dressage lessons and so much from dressage riders on here - I don't find it necessarily the best way to ride every horse. In fact there is no best way to ride that works the same for every horse - they're all built to move and be ridden differently.
So to call any one style of riding 'correct' or incorrect makes no sense to me. Could you clarify the sense of the word?
ETA: I'm sitting here reading people's posts "horses moving improperly" and "not riding correctly" What qualifies as correct or proper? Doesn't that vary per riding style? And what for those people who don't ride for competition, which is the 'correct' way for them to ride? I feel this is all very...vague/overgeneralized?
If you and your horse understand each other - communication is clear and effective - and you're able to get the job done, without interfering in your horse's ability to do the job you're asking - isn't that correct?
When a horse startles or I feel the horse is going to misbehave, I tense up my body in preparation. My reaction does nothing to calm the horse and in many cases makes it worse.
I'm learning how to post (never posted before, always rode western/trail). I have weak ankles and very little core strength. So, I'm accidentally kicking the horse. He speeds up, I yank on him to slow down. My trainer said, "Think of it this way, if I grab your arm and say, 'Come here!' and then push you away and say 'No, go away!' how long would it take you to get mad at me?"
I'm talking about mistakes that give mixed signals to the horse. Riding in a manner that is actually uncomfortable to the horse. And, yes, "shortcuts" in training that lead to a horse in a position that is simply unnatural and uncomfortable.
I've always been told that while you're learning you will ruin 3 horses before you start making good ones.
That's the learning process. I've been a part of that. I have made sooooo many mistakes on perfectly good horses in my past. I can only silently apologize to them and not make the same mistake on the next horse.
The obsession with instant perfection is absurd. Accepting that you will make mistakes, that it's okay to make mistakes, and to learn from your mistakes is what's important. Otherwise horse training wouldn't be any fun.
Most of that is the "folly of youth" (which is funny because I am so young). My 22 year old self would love to kick my arrogant 16 year old self. And I'm sure my 33 year old self will want to kick my 22 year old self.
I think people don't realize that once you start riding correctly, it makes riding soooo much easier than you originally thought.
Part of riding right is being a sympathetic rider. If you ride different horses, then you not only need to ride correctly and in balance, but you also need to adjust your style for where each horse is within their training and also by their personality.
For instance, I might get on a warmblood that has had professional training for many years. His comfort zone might be that I keep him balanced and on my aids, and keep up a fairly constant communication between us. Yet I might get on another horse that was used for fast Western work and he may think that every time I use an aid that he must figure out what I want and respond instantly. This horse will not be able to relax if I keep communicating with him, so I must back off and only "talk" when I am asking him to do something.
So many people think that you can ride every horse the same way, but I've found that I can't even ride my own horses that I've trained myself the same way as each other. Part of riding right is using your brain every time you ride in order to figure out what is right for this horse at this particular time.
If you didn't know any better and taught a horse to rear, that doesn't mean the horse is ruined. The horse just needs to receive more training in a different manner than he was taught before. I just don't believe a horse can be "ruined" any more than a person can.
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