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JessicaGDA 07-05-2010 02:37 PM

Self-Taught Riding?
 
What are your thoughts on self-taught riding without taking riding lessons? Or already knowing the basics of riding, but learning the advanced stuff on your own?

I heard of this the other day and didn't know what to think about it... sounds like it could be dangerous, but maybe beneficial in some ways too?

kmacdougall 07-05-2010 02:46 PM

You cannot see the whole horse while riding it.
As I have said before - natural ability is one thing but there is no substitute for the help of a professional.

A knack for horses 07-05-2010 02:57 PM

I always have been encouraged to "srew around with horses". I don't mean do stupid stuff with them, but try things.

That is how I learned to ask a horse to pivot. It had been puzzling me for about two years, and about two weeks ago I figured it out. I was just riding quietly around the pasture and I thought, "what if I put my foot a little out of postion?" So I put my right foot a little farther back than proper riding postion, and gave a few little kicks. And then the horse moved her hind end to the left!

I was so excited that I got a horse to do it! Of course, My instructor was nearby, so I knew if something went terribly wrong, at least somebody would know what to do.

Part of learning is discovery. I would try a few things by myself, but I still want an instructor or somebody knowledgeable around to correct me when I'm wrong or help me perfect my technique.

Scoutrider 07-05-2010 03:05 PM

Having a set of knowledgeable eyes on the ground can be invaluable for learning and applying advanced riding techniques regardless of discipline. As far as beginners go, a couple of months worth of lessons (at least) can be an excellent investment as far as safety and laying a solid foundation. A lot of people I know were born into horsey families, and taught general horsemanship by parents or other relatives. Not lessons per se, but watchful eyes and helping hands nonetheless.

I personally took several years worth of formal lessons, but dropped them when my instructor opted to get back into showing, and couldn't give lessons and compete in the non-professional division. Most of the trainers in my area are colt-breakers or problem-horse trainers, not upper-level riding instructors, i.e. above and beyond kick = go, pull = stop, heels down.

Honestly, most of the people who do give lessons in my area are doing so on horses not a great deal better educated than Scout, and aren't much better versed in what I want to learn than I am. So, I'm "teaching myself". I'm doing all right, nothing broken or irreparably damaged, but there are definitely days when I would love to have someone set me straight and harp on my bad habits, or a schoolmaster to ride to get the feel for something. :lol:

equiniphile 07-05-2010 03:09 PM

I'm self taught. Western, anyway. I grew up with horses, and my parents gave me some instruction, but most came from reading books, watching online videos, taking videos of myself and watching them later to critique, and more books. I would say I'm a pretty strong rider, but maybe I could be a better rider if I had some formal instruction Western.

I'm switching to English to compete in eventing, and am taking English lessons right now with my horse's trainer. She used to be a steeplechase jockey in England, and now she reschools OTTB's for eventing and dressage. I've only had one lesson thus far, but it was amazing. She taught me so much about riding English in just 2 hours. I realize I need formal instruction for something I'm going to compete in, whereas with Western I just do fun shows because it's not really what I want to do on a long-term basis, and I don't think I would value a Western lesson like I value my English lessons.

As far as training my horses, I don't need or have formal instruction for that. I'm talking about teaching sidepassing, pivots, turning on the forehand/haunches, etc. I can figure that out on my own, and by doing that, I see areas to avoid as much brighter markers than if I was told exactly what to do. Why I shouldn't teach some things one way or another becomes clearer when you experiment yourself and find the loopholes.

Northern 07-05-2010 04:50 PM

Reminder: The horse teaches us; we're not self-taught. :)

JessicaGDA 07-05-2010 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by equiniphile (Post 681152)
I'm self taught. Western, anyway. I grew up with horses, and my parents gave me some instruction, but most came from reading books, watching online videos, taking videos of myself and watching them later to critique, and more books. I would say I'm a pretty strong rider, but maybe I could be a better rider if I had some formal instruction Western.

I'm switching to English to compete in eventing, and am taking English lessons right now with my horse's trainer. She used to be a steeplechase jockey in England, and now she reschools OTTB's for eventing and dressage. I've only had one lesson thus far, but it was amazing. She taught me so much about riding English in just 2 hours. I realize I need formal instruction for something I'm going to compete in, whereas with Western I just do fun shows because it's not really what I want to do on a long-term basis, and I don't think I would value a Western lesson like I value my English lessons.

As far as training my horses, I don't need or have formal instruction for that. I'm talking about teaching sidepassing, pivots, turning on the forehand/haunches, etc. I can figure that out on my own, and by doing that, I see areas to avoid as much brighter markers than if I was told exactly what to do. Why I shouldn't teach some things one way or another becomes clearer when you experiment yourself and find the loopholes.



And through the books and videos you were able to figure things out?

English is a fairly big change from Western, hope that it all works out for you! It is good to experiment. Especially with a new discipline. I ride Western, but have had to ride English a few times and it isn't easy at all.

I have been taking lessons for a year, but am now out of the stable I was riding at and am thinking about trying to learn things on my own. I know the basics and am an intermediate rider in Western, I am always looking up videos and watching shows on TV about riding improvement, tips, how-to's and all... I can figure it out. I just didn't know if it would actually work. It's worth a try, right?

Are you now figuring out Eventing on your own, or trying to get back into lessons?

I've thought about taking lessons again, but I really want to take a shot at figuring things out on my own and improving by the learning experience.

Skipsfirstspike 07-05-2010 05:18 PM

I would think it depends on what you want to do. If all you want is to trail ride for fun, you should be fine without lessons as long as you have a good seat and some common horse sense.
However, if you want to compete or show, lessons are necessary and invaluable.

Spyder 07-05-2010 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JessicaGDA (Post 681237)
And through the books and videos you were able to figure things out?


Some can if they are astute enough ...and having that as the only way available.

Would not recommend it but it can and has been done.

MacabreMikolaj 07-05-2010 05:23 PM

What did people do BEFORE coaches, instructors and trainers? :-|

We live in a day and age where we are SO afraid of doing things wrong, it's like a death sentence. With a little bit of common sense, it's REALLY hard to screw a horse up so badly you can't fix it or re-train it. The only thing I've ever seen done that's sometimes next impossible to fix is beat a horse or let it get away with murder - the first is usually WAY harder to treat then the latter, and also can be a good fix for CURING the latter. :lol:

My aunt was almost entirely self taught, for English anyway. She grew up riding her pony and my grandpa's Arabs, but Western. He showed her how to ride and gave her the basics and she spent her youth racing around bareback, doing gaming on her pony, and generally stupid things.

When she decided she liked English, she was almost entirely self taught. She had no financial access or physical access to a coach (this was a good 40 years ago don't forget), and had nothing but a little rescued QH gelding with a butchered tongue from a barbed wire bit. Somehow, she managed to not only TEACH herself and him eventing, she managed to win. She attended clinics, sopped up any knowledge she could, read books and watched tapes til her eyes were sore. In exchange for cheap board at a friend's house, she started teaching their daughter to event - and she started winning. Now my aunt was making a NAME for herself in our community!

All these years later, my aunt has been and seen it all. She has her official coaching levels for English and Western, and although she's never taken her own riding to huge levels (maybe intermediate for eventing), she's coached SO many children to a successful riding career as well as purchased, trained and sold countless horses. She's heavily involved in Pony Club, and is well known for being an advocate of the horse and uncaring of who people's "connections" are.

I'm not saying everybody should do it, I'm saying we had a LOT of time in this world to be teaching ourselves before all these professionals became so readily available to us. We learned it SOMEWHERE - there HAD to have been a person, however long ago, who first had the idea to make a horse pivot, or make a horse piaffe, or make a horse turn a barrel. SOMEBODY led the way - and with enough time and patience, each and every one of us IS capable of figuring it out on our own. It just tends to be a LOT faster with a professional!

Shay-la never sat in an English saddle before she met me, and within the last year of hacking around in the yard, jumping our cow ponies, watching vids, asking me questions, asking professionals questions, and a handful of Dressage lessons (literally, like 5 of them), it would not take much at ALL to put a little polish on her and throw her into a jumper or Dressage ring. Her natural ability, her never ending urge to keep LEARNING and LEARNING and doing it RIGHT has never faltered - if she wants to do something, she puts her mind to it, and figures out a way to do it, be ****ed finances!


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