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-   -   Will I ever learn English riding? Discouraged male.. (

JImmyG 06-12-2009 12:07 AM

Will I ever learn English riding? Discouraged male..
Well, I had my 4th lesson today and I am wondering if I will ever get to whree I enjoy English riding. I am a late starter, I always loved horses but never had the opportunity. Now that my kids are out of the household, I have more time and money to take a stab at a passion I have had all my life. I have ridden on vacations and once at a friend's house, but that is about it. I am determined to do this, but it is frustrating to see these little girls run circles around me. I am in good shape, I mountain bike, play tennis, ski and workout regularly. But after each lesson, I am bruised (in a different place each time) and sweating more than the lesson horse. It appears there are more than 7 English riding places in my area, but no Western schools. I joined this forum to learn all that i can. I think I need to have basic equipment like paddock boots, half chaps, and a "personal helmet". I don't know what a lunge line is, I am just trying to get that "up, down, up, down thing to work. I seem to do better when the horse goes faster, but these 20+ year old lesson horses take a lot of coaxing. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

LeahKathleen 06-12-2009 12:21 AM

It is something that will come with time. After only 4 lessons, you're only just beginning. I have learned through experience. I've been riding since I was 5 years old, and you learn what works and what doesn't.

I would suggest taking a couple private lessons - ditch the little girls giggling around you in the ring. Take a one-on-one class with a trainer. Close your eyes while the trainer leads you and just really focus on feeling the horse move underneath you. Move your body accordingly.

Western or English, it doesn't matter - it takes time. Horseback riding is very much a difficult and athletic sport - you'll be using lots of muscles you didn't know you had. ;] Soreness will ensue, and you will be bruised and banged up. But it's worth it.

I'd say - don't worry about trotting yet. Master everything at the walk. One thing that adult beginners often are mistaken about is that they don't have to spend as much time learning the walk as young kids do. You DO! You must be able to do EVERYTHING at the walk correctly to effectively trot or canter.

I teach beginners, and confidence is always such an obstacle. Focus on what you do well, and strive to improve your areas of trouble.

Maybe you could sit down with your trainer and discuss the issues you're having.

However, above all, my best advice is practice practice practice! You'll get the hang of it. :]

Best of luck, and congrats on taking up such an incredible and rewarding sport.

Oh, and welcome to the forum!

JImmyG 06-12-2009 12:47 AM

Thank you, LeanKathleen
I will try what you say. My first 3 lessons were private and the instructor said I did pretty good, I did better on my second, but I had a different horse on my third lesson and could not get the posting down and felt out of control. Today was supposed to be a private lesson but it turned out not to be. A different horse again, better than the 2nd but not as good as the first. My insturctor is very nice, but she is very young- 19 yrs. old. I can't say how good she is since I never had another one.

Do you think I should try to stay with the same horse? At least one I think I could work with? I can't wait to buy my own, but I know that is premature now, because I have no idea what to buy and how much to pay. The stables did say they would halp when the time came.

Thanks again for the encouragement, I am determined to do this.

Nutty Saddler 06-12-2009 12:50 AM

LeahKathleen is right in all she says.
One thing I will add is that if you have 7 schools where you live don't just go to one of them. You will find that they will all have differences in the manner and methods in the way they teach . What may be incomprehensible at one place may be explaind differently somewhere else and be easy.
Also you will get to ride on different horses.
As for the lesson horses - the riding schools have a responsibility to not over-horse their pupils as it would be dangerous , as you get better and more confident I am sure they will start to put you on horses with more ability.

LeahKathleen 06-12-2009 12:58 AM

Well, I'm 19, and I consider myself a capable enough rider to teach beginners. But I would never dream of teaching advanced horsemanship techniques - even even if I can do them myself.

I personally found easier to learn on one mount, instead of changing all the time. Once everything has been partially mastered, or at least understood, then it is good to change horses. A confident and skilled rider will be able to handle all types of horses - but it helped me so much to learn on one solid horse. I think beginners need a been there - done that mount, that are not soured by lessons or lazy. I know that's hard to find in schooling ponies these days.

When I was young, I took lessons on schooling ponies, a different one each time. I learned, but it was difficult to adjust myself to each horse's gait and movements. It was slow-going. Then I started riding Shorty, and teaching myself to ride bareback, and it was so comforting to have him on my side. If I fell, he stopped and waited for me to jump back on. If I asked him wrong, he waited for me to ask him correctly. He moved out when I wanted him to, and slowed when I was ready to stop. He was a great horse. He made me feel like I could do anything. RIP, good horse.

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. To answer your question, I do think it's better to learn on one horse rather than switching all the time. Perhaps there is a horse you could consider leasing, so that he/she might always be available for your lessons? I think that the right horse builds a TON of confidence, and when you're confident in your abilities, you will grow so much more quickly.

Cougar 06-12-2009 06:01 AM

Don't give up. No one becomes an effective rider over night. Talk to your instructor. Communication is key to get all that you can out of your lessons.

As for sweating more than the horse... welcome to my world. I'm not even kidding I was sweating so much the other day I had a wonderful sweat stain... on my butt... haha.

Chuckface 06-12-2009 08:15 AM

I agre with all above. it just takes tiem and patience, there where times I nearly gave up because it was so hard and I felt liek i was getting no where. But if you persevere, horseriding is one of the most rewarding sports. 8)

Prodomus 06-12-2009 08:26 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Just to give you hope - it takes time - our coach has a rider that is over 65 and had heart surgery last year - he just completed his lst event and placed 4th in entry. We are so proud of him.

My husband rides as a beginner and it takes time to learn and accept that it is not something you have total control of.

Just to give you some hope as a male rider - here are some pics of my sons.

iridehorses 06-12-2009 09:09 AM

Playing tennis, riding a mountain bike, etc are excellent forms of exercise but the requirement is just you and the equipment. Riding involves a second, living, breathing, thinking, partner. Just as it had to take more then 4 lessons to learn any skill, it will take many more to learn to ride.

Many people learn to stay on a horse but it takes commitment, perseverance, and especially time and patience to learn to ride. It also takes a trainer with a lot of experience in older beginners. There is a totally different mind set to teach someone who is 40 and not quite as limber as a 12 year old. I would find a trainer who understands that.

IrishRider 06-12-2009 10:58 AM

Stick with it! We need more male riders in the English disciplines. My trainer's husband never had been around horses until meeting her. Now he has started jumping and is doing really well. I know a lot of people have the hardest time with the posting trot when they are first learning. Trust me, you'll get it. Just remember that once you master one thing, then there is something else to learn. After getting the trot, then comes the canter...then cross rails, etc. But I promise it's worth every little struggle, because once you get it, it's so much fun.

Don't focus on the little kids. They seem to pick it up faster than adults because they have no sense of mortality, and they don't over analyze things. You tell them to keep their heels down they just do. Adults tend to analyze everything and we also think more about getting hurt, etc. When I screw up or have a bad lesson I dwell on it (trying to get better but I do). Kids screw up and they let it go. Just go at your own pace and have a good time.

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