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whit144man 09-30-2007 11:53 AM

My Riding Situation and Its Downfalls
So this is my situation.

I'm a 15 years old, no source of income, money's tight for my family, but my little sister and I still like to ride horses. We haven't had enough money for lessons for a while now, but we've had plenty of lessons, and it's not like we don't know the basics of riding.

We thought we found a solution. A stable close to us offers trail rides for $20 an hour. You can come whenever, just ask for your favorite horse and hope he's in there. This way, we could skip a week or two if we couldn't afford it.

I enjoy it a lot, but there's a problem. These horses have so many different people riding them that some are stubborn. It works for the most part. The stable has its share of "beginner" horses, for people who just want to ride or have never ridden before. The beginner horses know their way through the trails better than their riders do. They are stubborn and being on one of them is like riding a merry-go-round horse.

My sister and I ride the "intermediate" horses. These horses are reserved for riders who pretty much know what they're doing. They know how to ride and control a horse. The horses are more willing to do different things because they're a little softer at the mouth, and they seem to generally trust whoever is riding them to be kind to them.

Of course, there are "advanced" horses who are very responsive, but also prone to flightiness or have other, uh, "quirks."

But the growing problem is that my sister and I want to become better riders. Whenever I ride, I like to concentrate on how I'm doing and try to get better. This is hard when every time I get on a horse; it doesn't know who I am, my riding style, et cetera. When we ride, there's usually an incident near the beginning of the hour-long ride where the horse tries to disobey or be rude to another horse. How you handle this situation is crucial because if you let him take advantage of you, you can pretty much kiss control goodbye.

We should be getting lessons sometime soon, but I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how I can improve my riding under these specific circumstances. Thanks for the read!

KANSAS_TWISTER 09-30-2007 02:59 PM

is there any way that you can work there on the week ends or after school, that way you earn money or ridding time?

whit144man 09-30-2007 05:06 PM

There are volunteers... But there are only a few options. There are the trail guides, who usually have their own horses and are very experienced riders; and there are the stable hands, who are usually boys in their late teens, and they do a whole lot of hard labor. Neither of which really suits me. I suppose there are people who take care of the horses, which I'm sure I could do, but I haven't seen or talked to any of them.
That's a good idea, though. Thanks.

Vidaloco 10-02-2007 08:30 AM

Check around for breeders, horse farms, trainers in your area. I know several in my area who have young people volunteer to do stall mucking feeding etc. in exchange for lessons. I have a friend who breeds horses they have 30 something at the moment and its hard for her to keep them all ridden. She has the neighbor kids come over to ride and she has taught them both everything she knows (which is a lot). Don't be shy just knock on the door and see if they need any help.

Xanadu 10-02-2007 02:08 PM

Vidaloco, what a great idea!

whitman, it sounds like what you are doing is great, if only you could do it more often. Riding different horses is a challenge and will make you a better rider. Like you said, they each have their quirks, so each of them will have something different to teach you. Not having everything handed to you will make you a better person too. You are having to work hard for your riding time, so it is that much more precious to you. You obviously have an appreciation for what you can get.

Lucky for us, hubby has a good job and my daughter takes lessons several times a week. However, sometimes I worry about her taking things for granted. I make her help around the house and help care for the horses we have at home, but still.

I am very impressed with you and your sister and your determination to ride. Keep it up!! :wink:

qux3 11-08-2007 12:13 PM

What about looking at some books on horsemanship at Barnes and Noble or some other big booksellers, and finding some areas of expertise you'd like to work on, then the next time you are on one of your rides, trying out what you saw in the book?

Not the same as a "real" one to one lesson, but I've found sometimes you can learn more that way than from some riding instructors.

Piper 11-11-2007 10:52 PM

At your age I could not afford a horse of my own either. So, I read a lot of books and befriended every horse person I could find. I often did chores or worked odd jobs in trade for getting to ride. Most of the horses I got to ride where far from perfect or push button. I found most people with well trained horses didn’t want someone inexperienced possibly messing them up. That really hurt my feelings at the time, but now I can totally understand.

All I wanted was a horse of my own. I’m now glad I didn’t have one. Handling many horses taught me so much more than only one could have. I believe main thing that helps improve riding is time spent in the saddle, not always riding the same horse. The later may help build confidence, but it can also give a false sense of security. A variety of horses will teach you a lot more and keep you on your toes.

When the horse you are on misbehaves you can try working it in small circles. This will help get the horses attention back on you. If every time the horse acts out it has to circle it will soon learn its more fun to behave. They much rather move in a straight line than work circles. Hope that helps, have fun!

kim_angel 11-14-2007 02:36 PM


when I was 15 yrs old I got a job leading trails at a local trail stable. At first I was usually the one who backed up the trail because I was not experienced enough to lead. However, over time, I was given a lead roll after I improved my riding ability. Not only did it allow me to ride horses all day long on the weekend but I also got paid 7.00 a trail that I led. Not bad for a kid. :)

At the stable where I led trails, we didnt have to use our own horses. Have you asked them if thats how it goes?
We did get to pick what horse we wanted to use as our trail guide horse though, so I would try to keep the same two horses, alternating them to give them a break.

Good luck. :)

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