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Wooton 07-06-2013 02:55 PM

Help Riding for a newbie to horses!
Well, hello there! Wooton here.

So, I have loved horses a lot. I had a span of about 2 years where they were the only thing I thought about; I read up on them and learned about them, and was so into horses. Although the intensity of my thirst for horse knowledge had lowered a bit, I still really loved them and wished that I could ride. However, because of money, I knew that that would never be the case.

Until now!

You see, my grandfather owns a cattle farm, and he always keeps around a few cats and goats along with his cows. He used to breed Arabians (and did so for quite awhile) until he got older and decided that having so many horses was too much work for him. So, he got rid of all of the horse stalls in his barn and just kept the tack room.

Well, now he's gotten himself a "farm horse" named Lakota. She is a 13 year old, 14HH Missouri Fox Trotter mare, and she is very sweet. However, he got her for about $1400 from her previous owners because they neglected her and just wanted to get rid of her. She has been taught basic riding commands (like, applying pressure with your heels will usually get her to walk), and she will turn when you move the reigns appropriately (if she feels like it). She is still a bit independent and somewhat stubborn, but definitely rideable.

Here is the interesting part; her saddle isn't the correct size, so she has to be ridden bareback for the time being. Today, I went to my grandfather's farm to visit and was with my cousins. They have both had a couple of lessons and are much more comfortable on her back than I am. I am just wary because I have only ever ridden once, and it was on a very well mannered pony. I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to riding her. I love to groom her and feed her hay and grass, but once I get onto her back I just get nervous that I'll fall off.

I have yet to ride her by myself, and have only had my cousin lead her whilst I was in the saddle (except there was no saddle).

So, does anyone have any tips? I don't foresee myself getting lessons anytime soon, as that just really isn't in the budget. However, I would love any info that you have to provide.

Also, she is a little bit fat (though she doesn't look it). However, as soon as I mounted my hips started hurting. XD I don't know if that really plays a role in anything at all, but I thought I'd share.

Thank you so much for any insight that you have! I really need it.

xJumperx 07-06-2013 05:19 PM

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Welcome to the wonderful world of Horse Forum!! :D

I would say, for now, being led around by your cousins is a great start! It will help build up your confidence slowly, and is definitely the safest route since it sounds like this horse isn't out of the 'green broke' category. While not on the back of the horse, look up informational videos on youtube!! There are some out there that are *extremely* helpful, and some that are less than. You just have to find the good ones! But heck, that's a nice and fun adventure in itself. Do some more research and see what discipline of riding you can really see yourself getting into.

Oh, and come here to the forum!! It holds tons and tons and tons of information, and more is added daily! Plus, we like to have new people to play with :lol:

Wooton 07-06-2013 05:31 PM

Thanks so much! I watched one video, but it was more about doing disciplines whilst on horseback. I'm more interested in just being able to ride her to get around and explore the farm land (after she's explored it herself, of course). She's definitely still green; I think a lot of it has to do with her previous owners. My cousins said when they picked Lakota up at her previous home, they thought she was brown, and they didn't realize until they washed her that she is skewbald with white and dark brown.

Needless to say, her previous home wasn't the greatest and because they neglected her, this is her first time being regularly groomed and ridden in over a year.

Anyhow, do you have any videos that you can personally recommend for a beginner? Like I said, I've looked at some, but they were more for riding in shows than just "I need to know how to stay on and get the horse to move" kind of riding. Pardon my ignorance on riding. ;)

anna3363 07-12-2013 11:29 AM

First of all, to be comfortable around your new horse, you need to start a bond with the horse. Show her she is loved by you. That will make you a lot more comfortable around her. If there isn't something wrong with your hips, then it is just normal to be sore after and during riding for beginners. Also, remember you are in charge of the horse. They are not in charge of you. If your horse starts acting up, turn them in a circle and show them this attitude isn't allowed. Don't let your horse get away with things, if you do, eventually the horse will be a spoiled brat and you won't have any fun. Keep up grooming and riding her regularly and show her she is loved! Also, it's great that you are building up your confidence slowly, and take things slow with her if she hasn't been regularly ridden all the time. Good luck!

Speed Racer 07-12-2013 11:45 AM

It's not about love, it's about respect. In order to be someone the horse can trust, the OP has to be an effective and fair leader. When the animal respects the OP as the leader, then will come trust and after that maybe affection.

Horses don't care about love, they care about safety and comfort.

tinyliny 07-12-2013 12:38 PM

there are plenty of people who have learned to ride by just "getting on". The also learn to fall by just "falling off".
It's always better to have someone there to help you who has more experience, but you can do a lot of figuring out on your own.

I would recommend riding in a smaller enclosure the first few times, if you can. a smaller paddock, not the wide open countryside. Personally, I would wear a helmet, but I am a cautious person by nature.

And, yes, it's not about having the horse "love" you. it's about being very consistent with the horse . Having a clear set of expectations, and insisting that the horse meet those. even if you don't ride, you can have a clear but small set of expectations and enforce them.

For example:

you don't push me with your head.
you don't lean into /on me.
you don't go ahead of me when I lead you.
you dont' grab food out of my hand.
you back up when I tell you too.
you don't rush through gates.
you let me catch you when I come.

get the horse to observe all those, every time, and you will start building respect.

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