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LCharvon 09-25-2010 06:41 PM

Older, First Time Riders?
I'm wondering how many riders are here that are like me: Riding for the first time, not renewing a youthful memory of riding as a kid or teenager?

I'm 50 (for another week!) and have my first horse, and have been taking lessons for about a month. I'm not fit, I'm not brave, I'm not one of those kids who always longed for a horse! But, my family is very into horses, and I have always been very into animals, and am now enjoying getting to know MY horse and learning more about the species in general.

I've learned a lot, owning horses with my family, for the last 6 yrs, but now it's MY turn!!

Anybody else? I'd love to hear about your experiences in opening up a Whole New World! :D

kitten_Val 09-25-2010 08:33 PM

Well, I'm not 50 I must say :wink:, but I didn't have a chance to ride much as a kid/teenager, and could afford horse only as an adult after very long wait. So as long as you like it and horse suits you well (calm, responsive, reliable) then why not? You'll really enjoy it! :-)

tinyliny 09-26-2010 12:10 AM

I am your elder, so you'd better show some respect!
Just kidding, of course. I am 52+, so I know where you're coming from , sister. I did ride some as a kid, Then many years not riding, and then at 41 I picked up riding for good. So, I now have about 12 years riding experience. However, I can identifiy with you. I am not fit, nor brave either. I swear, I get less brave annually. What can I do about it? NOTHING> I'll either be 53 with horses in my life or I'll be 53. I choose the former.
Welcome to horses. Being older means we have to be smarter about things. Can't just bulldoze our way through stuff. I hope to hear from you and your progress through the Forum.


PaintHorseMares 09-26-2010 06:25 AM

I'm 55+ and although I've been riding for some time, I didn't grow up with horses and had actually not even been on a horse until I was 24+. At some point my wife, who had done recreational riding, said she always to own a horse, so we bought one. At first I thought she was nuts, but I quickly learned a lot about horses and riding, and it became a wonderful relaxation activity for me after a day working in the corporate world. We progressed from our first mare to two, and then three, I learned to trim them, we give them their shots, etc., and it became sort of a passion. They are wonderfully docile and social animals and they keep me in shape and sane in this crazy world.
Good all my years I've found nothing as enjoyable as just going out, saddling up, and riding anywhere I wind up...through neighborhoods, woods, and fields.

xxBarry Godden 09-26-2010 09:49 AM

I once took my 70 year old sister in law for her first horse ride. She had wanted to ride a horse all her life. The horse was very carefully chosen and the group was a trio only - the senior trek leader of the riding centre, Eileen and myself. We went for an amble through the woods. She was out on the hack for an hour and came back with the biggest grin on her face I had ever seen. She confessed she ached a bit the following day.

But her learning to ride as a hobby was not really on for two reasons - she'd have to put too much in to develop the centre core muscles and I was worried about the consequences of a fall and a broken hip. Bones get brittle as we age - especially in her family.

My wife and I are both riders and we are both over 65. We have a sharp horse who is prone to shying and we have both come off over the last 12 months.
However we attend weekly Pilates exercise classes and we've been riding for 36 years. We started riding in our 30s. We know several regular riders who are over 65 both male and female.

There can be no hard and fast rules about this age issue. So much depends upon the mental fitness as well as the physical fitness of the individual. But even more depends upon the horse. One needs a calm, confident and tolerant horse - a riding centre horse who has not been abused often makes a good candidate. It is all in the temperament.

The middle aged rider has to make a committment to get fit and must show the
strength of character to persevere. For sure they are going to ache. The chances of coming off are significant so the first lessons should be in a confined arena with a softish flat surface. They should be well padded up. They must also understand and accept the risks.

Ex-Surfers and ex-skiers seem to do well. I was originally a scuba diver and as a youth a rower. Occasionally you'll find a natural rider.

But make sure the older novice rider gets some good instruction from a professional who has experience of dealing with mature adults.

My guess is they will enjoy the company of the horse as much as the riding.

outnabout 09-26-2010 11:48 AM

I'm not in my 30's anymore and got into horses through my daughter who wanted to take lessons but didn't want to do it by herself. Had no idea that I would fall in love with the animal and the challenges with riding. I've been athletic all my life and that helps so much. Having danced in my 20's I am very aware of body posture, mechanics, and balance. Since we ride almost every day, I don't have time for Pilates. My abd and back muscles are stronger for riding the past year. I've fallen a couple of times, but got right back on. I'd rather injure myself having fun than not have fun... I think that it is the physical challenge as well as the relationship with the animal that is the attraction for me.

LCharvon 09-26-2010 02:45 PM

I have a very sweet, funny, mischievous Haflinger mare, Jasmine. She came from some "interesting" situations in her life (she's 12), but after 90 days seriously patient, NH work with my family's trainer, she's a very nice little horse for me. We are going slowly, and doing what my daughter and husband do with the trainer, but at a walk so far.

I've had dogs all my life, and completely understand them and training them, so learning the characteristics of a new species is quite fascinating and fun. I was sort of waiting for her to show "affection", ala canine, and then when I figured out that a prey animal coming to me from her paddock without any chasing IS showing affection!

I'm lucky in that I haven't been sore (yet) except from a deep muscle in my thigh from doing the dismount, but otherwise my surgically corrected spine and old chunky body are doing well!

Jeff Rosen 09-28-2010 04:32 PM

I guess I qualify!!
I am 57 yrs old and for most of my life my only experiance with horses was on the other side of the rail betting them at the track. I was a cop for 21 years and never even considered applying for Mounted Unit. My father in law was a jockey many years ago and while we always discussed the sport of racing we never discussed riding.
About 6 years ago I took my family to a dude ranch, The Rocking Horse Ranch in upstate NY. Family Vacation at Rocking Horse Ranch Resort in New York, America's Favorite Family Resort Although I was a beginner I rode the whole weekend and fell in love with riding. About a year and a half ago I was on a trail ride locally and got thrown. Although I don't know if it was my fault or not I decided to take lessons. I've been taking lessons (English tack) at least once a week since then. I also go trail riding a lot, each time at a different place. I can say I am addicted and can't get enough riding. The funny thing is I've been an avid motorcycle rider for years but now I'd much rather be on a horse than a harley.
I've participated in three shows now, in the adult walk and trot class, and while I'm usually competing against much more experiance & younger riders I have a great time in the shows. I'm just glad they give ribbons for every place!!
I am considering buying or leasing sometime in the future.

LCharvon 09-28-2010 04:46 PM

Great story!! So you're a few years ahead of me, and probably in better shape than I ever was, being on the job and all.

I wish you the best of luck finding a horse for your very own. They make very good partners! :D

tinyliny 09-28-2010 05:31 PM

you're never to old to fall in love with riding
Thankyou for such a great story. Your courage to try something new is inspiring. There's just someting about riding that is so intrigueing. I think it's that every ride is different. It's a neverending progression of learning and changing. Since our "ride" is a living being, it adds a whole 'nother dimension that keeps it interested.

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