My first time
So this is my first post as I just joined this forum. I went riding this past weekend and had a blast. I spent more time grooming the horse than I did riding, but I actually enjoyed it.
So I know it's probably too soon to call me a member of the sport, but I have aspirations of sticking with it every weekend if possible.
But I do have a couple questions may you could help me answer.
I would like to start taking lessons, I notice some places have private lessons, is this a good way to start?
And I rode western style this weekend, which I felt comfortable with, should I learn both western and english if I take lessons?
Most of all, I would really like to understand more about horse than just riding, do many stables accept volunteer work to learn about maintanence etc?
Thanks for your help
I see you're in Mass. Lot's of folks riding English up there. You'll probably have more choices of both barns and instructors if you ride english, but do what you feel comfortable with.
Most lesson barns start you out in a private lesson the first few weeks to get you up to speed on the basics, and then integrate you into a group that is riding at your level. Most barns do accept volunteers to help out around the barn. Few are going to turn down free labor!
I would visit a few different places and watch the lessons. It will give a feel for how each place teaches and whether you would be comfortable taking lessons from them. Have fun!
It's always a good idea to pick one style first so you can get comfortable. Once you are comfortable at the basics, you can decide if you want to switch or expand into the other style.
my other question would be: are there any things that I should be aware of that would steer me away from a certain stable? I can probably discern obvious mistreatment of animals, but is there anything I should know that my untrained eye should look out for?
I found "my barn" by going through the phonebook. I then went for a visit and watched a lesson. I just got a good feeling. The vibes were good, I just felt it was a good place. Everyone was nice and helpful, and it was clean and smelled good. I then checked if there was a group for it on facebook. lol You can learn alot more from a facebook group then from a website created to make the place look it's best.
With that said I think you should focus on finding a good barn. Then if they teach english do that. If they teach western, do that. The basics are nearly the same when you first begin. After you know how to control a horse sufficiantly and dont need an instuctor breathing down your neck, then move on if you like.
Also, I think most barns do accept volunteers. But the work might just be things like cleaning bits, or sweeping. Things that the trainers or barn owners (or whoever) really has little if any time for. But it still is nice being in the atmosphere.
So I found a near by stable and have my first formal lesson on Wednesday.
Anything that I should do or know to prepare for the lesson?
I think pretty much anyone with a horse would like someone to volunteer to help! haha. I started riding in group lessons which are lots of fun because you get to meet some people. I think you're best off to start with private lessons until you have the basics down and then do group lessons after.
Which discipline to start in, well that's a controversial issue in the horse world I think! I personally think english, but i'll list the pros for both:
- The saddle is very secure which will help your confidence when you first start.
- You ride western with a loose reign and therefore learn not to balance on your hands.
- the saddle is not nearly as secure, however it you'll establish greater balance
- it is way easier to learn western after english. It's hard to learn English after western
- i prefer the English activity of jumping
Depending on the type of style your going to be doing, I'd definitely invest in a pair of boots! :D
I personally prefer Western for the whole relax and comfort aspect of it. I like to go fast, but still be able to ride with a loose rein and a deep seat. Plus, I enjoy the added security of a big 'ol clunker horn to grab onto if my horse rears (which mine do, lessons horses normally don't, no worries)
Keep your heals down, toes up, squeeze with your legs, relax, and expect to be saddle sore in muscles you didn't know you even had.
I bet you can't wait until Wednesday to get here! Have fun!
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