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blink 07-14-2010 05:51 PM

Harder Than It Looks!
First, my apologies for using a photo of me instead of my horse. He's much better looking, but I don't have any photos of him that I really like.

Second, just want to give some props to you experienced riders who have drilled yourselves and your horses on the proper cues and form.

Me and my horse, we've got some work to do. He's trying, he really is. But I'm new to this and I confuse him...a lot...

Likewise, I perplex my instructor and test her patience. At one point, after cantering Dusty directly into a dead stop in the corner of the arena (the only thing missing was our dunce caps), I turned around to find my instructor looking at me with some mix of pity, surprise, and a hint of contempt.

She remained speechless as I tried to explain that keeping Dusty at a canter (he is a touch on the lazy side), while simultaneously cuing him to turn, without myself bouncing wildly, or falling off altogether, is a bit much for someone of my limited coordination. Speechless. She actually stared at me for about 15 seconds before just saying: "Turn around. Get back on the rail."

She got a lot more talkative soon after, though. Best I can recall, it sounded like this:

"...heels down, hands forward, back straight, eyes forward, cue with your outside leg and kiss, okay now give him a little inside leg to keep him on the rail, back straight, stop leaning into the turns-he's not a bike, heels down, shorten your reigns, start the turn a little earlier, don't let him slow down like that, give him a kick, stop leaning forward-he thinks you want him to stop, quit staring at his head-he ain't gonna change colors, heels down..."

And so on.

Despite all this, she deemed the lesson (my third) to be a wild success. Dusty and I were exhausted. He got a treat and quick shower with the hose. I got to write a check and promise to buy better boots before the next lesson.

This will get easier, right? Surely you're not all movie-equestrians - you know, those amazing silver screen icons who can jump on a horse and gallop through Central Park like you were born to it.

You all looked goofy and felt even goofier in the beginning.




smrobs 07-14-2010 06:01 PM

Haha, don't worry. It gets better with practice. Shoot, I have been riding for 20+ years and I still have those moments where I do something and immediately look around to see if anyone saw my goofy self do something stupid. You will build the necessary muscles and it will become easier and easier to do more complex things. It just takes time and if you are only on your 3rd lesson, you still have quite a while to go before you feel not quite so silly on a horse. Just keep that chin up, it gets much easier. :D Also, welcome to the forum.

horsegirlmaddy 07-14-2010 07:39 PM

Sorry, but learning new things doesn't get easier :P Everything you're learning now, though, will definitely get easier, don't worry! You'll always have those dumb blonde moments, though. Just enjoy yourself and don't forget to smile! It relaxes your whole body, which does wonders. And when you get frustrated, stop!

But yeah, everyone has to work hard. Good luck, and keep trying! Don't forget to have fun :)

SorrelHorse 07-14-2010 09:43 PM

You'll get better. And at the end you'll be that instructor, and have to deal with a poor frustrated girl and her horse too.

Oh yes, it happens :D
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Chella 07-14-2010 10:13 PM

You are hysterical. You have a good sense of humor which should serve you and your horse well. My new instructor only tries to coach me on one or two things at a time. I am learning Parelli (please don't bash me) and I can't do everything she
wants me to so she has pared it down to 2 or 3 requests per lesson. I just sorta laugh to myself and I think my mount is laughing too(maybe at me) but at least we both are having fun. :) A thought about horses laughing. I once fell from on top of the stack of hay bales and I know my mini was laughing at me.

riccil0ve 07-14-2010 11:05 PM

Hun, I've been riding for about ten years, and it was only a few months ago when I got ready to mount my horse, swung my leg over, and almost fell off the other side. O_o

You'll get there. Even the best of horsemen look like buffoons sometimes. And hey, you've got the gas pedal and the brakes down. That's half the battle. =]

mom2pride 07-15-2010 12:58 AM

I remember some of my 'more embarrassing' moments on horseback...some of them when I had only been riding for a short time, and others when I'd been a 'seasoned' rider for a long time!!! You will get better at riding, if you keep at it, but trust me...we all have had, and still have our moments!!! :D

haleylvsshammy 07-15-2010 03:42 PM

"quit staring at his head-he ain't gonna change colors"
that is too good! haha
We all start out looking like crazies. You are in the stage of "God, I hope nobody is looking at me right now..." I've been riding for several years, and I still have those moments. And you know the best part about them? There are ALWAYS people watching you when you look bad or like an idiot... lol you just learn to deal with it.
It might get "easier" but it will always be challenging. But hey, it's worth it!

equiniphile 07-15-2010 04:15 PM

It gets easier, or a lot of the people on this forum wouldn't be here! You'll learn your horsae, come to anticipate her quirks and fix them before she starts, and it always gets easier. Right not you're probably thinking "shoot, okay, let's see...heels down, eyes up, oh no i better get centered in the saddle, oh crap i missed the turn! let's turn quick! uh oh she saw me get my act together a bit too late and my leg was in a terrible position....leg, leg, leg, crop, crop, crop!" Lol we all had those times at the beginning. But as you progress and riding gets more familiar to you, you won't be thinking of those things anymore, just doing them naturally, and you'll have time to think of other things while riding like schooling horses and working on flying changes, half-passes, and jumping.

blink 07-15-2010 04:44 PM

Haley, you're right, that line about "not changing color" is kind of funny. I think it's even funnier when she's saying it to someone else! I know this because the woman who has watched every one of my lessons while ostensibly grooming her horse actually snorted when she heard it said to me. Snorted. SNOR-TED.

She got another chuckle out of my audience by telling me not to "cut the horse in half right off the bat" when first adjusting the cinch strap. Not sure if that means it's okay to cut him in half after I walk him off a bit...

SorrelHorse - did my post sound like it was written by a poor frustrated girl? That does nothing for my already battered and bruised ego. I'm nothing if not a poor frustrated full-grown man!

I do appreciate the words of encouragement from everyone, though. I think the most valuable lesson I'm going to learn out of all this is one I've already learned: No ride - whether pleasure or performance - will ever be perfect. Expecting that is a certain recipe for disappointment and frustration.

The really cool thing in all this is that I really believe my horse is trying. He's constantly listening to me and he slows down immediately when I get off my center instead capitalizing on the opportunity to dump me on my a--.

Of the three lessons we've had together, each one has been slightly less catastrophic.

And I am having a blast.


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