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netty83 12-03-2010 09:40 AM

3 months of western riding lessons what stage are you at? (Long)
I have been taking western lessons now for approximately 3 months, being one lesson a week. When I first started I had been out of the saddle for years and I had a major confidence crises and just getting on board my lesson horse took alot of deep breaths and about ten minutes of "I'm getting on, no hang on i'm not ready. right I am, no i'm not". Once on it took me about another ten minutes to actually move being lead. The method my instructor uses is ponying from another horse as i prefer to hack rather than be in an arena. I can now hack out independently (no ponying) either in front or behind and have just started trotting sitting and rising. My lesson horse was lame on Monday with an abcess on his back foot so my instructor asked me if I wanted to ride the horse she usually rides. I have always thought that my confidence was growing but thought that it was down to my relationship with the lesson horse. I did ride my instructors horse and i thoroughly enjoyed it. It just made me realise how much my confidence has grown in 12 lessons as I thought I wasn't progressing very far as only just trying out trot. Any one who has had around three months or has similar experience with confidence stopping progress please let me know your story and any advice /comments welcome. Thank you!

Cowgirl101 12-23-2010 11:31 PM

I'm glad for you!

Two takes lesson bareback! I rode my own horse and I lope 5 paces. So you learn everyday. :)

tinyliny 12-23-2010 11:38 PM


That is just terrrific! I think it's wonderful that you are hacking out, and riding a new horse and all. You are a brave soul. It is the person who rides IN SPITE of their fear who is the brave one.
I don't know about bareback, but do try some lungeling lessons at some time when you feel up to it. I think you have a good instructor, and please tell her/him that I said so!

netty83 12-27-2010 02:58 PM

tinyliny thank you. I will let my instructor know thank you. We are friends also and she is my inspiration! I went riding just before xmas and my instructor rode out one of her 2 yr old cobs which have only had around 10 rides altogether. The aim of this was for me to realise that i don't need a safety net (lead rope)all the time my instructor being there is enough for me rather than when i have a confidence wobble asking her to take the lead rope. I was really suprised that i took the lead through the woods negotiating fallen trees. I thought if i took the lead the youngster would take the lead from my horse and i really enjoyed it.

netty83 01-03-2011 10:38 AM

to add to this post. I had a little mishap on Wednesday and my lesson horse slipped on wet grass as we were about to set off trotting solo. I was thrown into the horn and have a pretty impressive bruise from knee to top of thigh. Immediately after it happened I was shaky but managed to stay calm and carefully walked off the grass onto solid ground. Once we had walked around for a little while we ventured back onto the grass and i got all tense and anxious about it happening again and therefore my horse got tense and anxious and started quickening. I had another lesson today and was absolutely fine on the grass. I was a little nervous even in walk but managed it with deep breaths, but when we went to the grass where the slip happened i could feel myself getting anxious and nervous and the horse started quickening again. I don't want this to become an issue for me or horse any advice? I seem to let the fear get so big it takes over me and i struggle to stay calm.

horserider321 01-03-2011 11:45 AM

I'm at Canter/gallop now. Just one question, when Cantering, how do you know when the horse is going into a gallop?? Because I was Cantering and then the horse went faster, but not into a full gallop. What does that mean?

Opus 01-03-2011 06:08 PM


Originally Posted by netty83 (Post 838619)
Any one who has had around three months or has similar experience with confidence stopping progress please let me know your story and any advice /comments welcome. Thank you!

Hi netty! I, too, have been out of the saddle for quite some time (10+ years) and have just recently started taking lessons again. I was due for lesson No. 9 on Sunday, but was rained out. So, I'm about -- give or take -- where you're at now. (Disclaimer: I'm riding English, but given our levels, well ... :-) )

My trainer is just 25 (I'm 32), but she's great and makes sure to explain everything to me -- if this horse is a pain to catch, if there's anything special I need to do for this particular horse while mounted, how their gaits are, etc. and that *really* helps me know what to expect and prepare myself mentally. And I completely trust her and the horses she puts me on. Until I'm able to trust myself more, I think that's a major help to me.

Right now, I'm still doing walk-trot around the ring, building up my balance and trying to remember how to put everything back together. My trainer told me that during the next lesson, she wants me to give cantering a go. She asked me if I was ready to canter last lesson, but my legs felt weak (and she caught me off guard), so I declined, but told her I'd work up my mind to give it a go the next time. (I've gone from being a little apprehensive to looking forward to it. Hope it goes well -- I'll know Wednesday.)

For me, I like not having a lot of unnecessary surprises and my trainer's really good at letting me know what she has planned for me for that lesson as well as the next lesson.

And this is probably really silly, but ... whenever I find myself getting anxious about a task or about an upcoming lesson, I just try to compare it to something I do at work or a real life situation. Nine times out of 10, the real life situation is far scarier/difficult than what I'm doing with a horse. The funny thing with me riding though, is that I'm not so much scared of getting hurt as I am just looking like a total goober. :oops: But I'm probably just a little 'off' there. :)

Is getting hurt your biggest fear?

As for your little mishap: I've found that when my horse trips, or misbehaves and leaves me wary, if I give it a little time, the fear/uneasiness just passes after a couple of good lessons. Also, instead of thinking of it as a mishap, why not think of it as an experience? As in, 'this is what happened when my horse slipped on wet grass. I didn't fall off, I'm proud that I acted appropriately and didn't freak out. I now know what to expect should this happen again.'

Sorry for the length ... I've been itching to tell other horsey people how my lessons are going. It'd be cool if you kept us up to date on how things are going though. :-) It always feel like I'm the only adult having to relearn everything.

netty83 01-04-2011 03:24 AM

Hi opus love your thread thank you so much! I think my biggest fear is that i will get hurt falling off as i have a small child (i think as you grow up you analyse things alot more than when you were younger) and alot of people say to me that the only way to make sure you don't get hurt around horses is to not be around them at all. That isn't an option for me as they are in my families blood and I have just kind of lost my way and confidence. I totally trust the lesson horse he is fantastic and i know the fear and anxiousness totally lays at my door. I also think my lack of experience and lack of balance has something to do with it also. What amazed my instructor was that once we had been on the grass again (her leading me) on Monday and I was all back calm again I was able to take control again (took the lead rein back)and off we went at a walk with no problems, so this told her that i was confident with the horse and was just the issue of the grass i'm hoping with a couple more lessons it will get better. I feel like I have taken a step backwards but maybe that is necessary to go forwards. My instructor doesn't lunge her horses as she doesn't feel it is necessary for the kind of lessons she does (mostly hacking and dealing with confidence) so I am considering taking a couple of lunge lessons this week from a friend of mine who is an instructor if she can fit me in just to try and rebuild some of that confidence I was starting to have at trot. I will keep posting my progress may be nice to have a look back over please keep me updated as to how you are going also. good luck.

netty83 01-04-2011 12:35 PM

so sometimes i feel like i am not progressing as having only one lesson a week which costs 30. I can't afford any more than that. I have a mare of my own but she is due to foal in March. I know this might be controversial but could she be lightly ridden at the moment (I haven't ridden her properly for nearly 4 months) just in walk? I am really considering loaning a pony for 6 months so that i can put my lessons to good use and practice at home. Please let me know what you think to lightly riding my mare around the field (just in walk).

Opus 01-05-2011 08:54 PM

-- I have no idea about riding your pregnant mare. Sorry. :-\ I've only owned one horse, and that was an Arab gelding. For about 6 months.

I know you said you prefer hacking, but do you think some occasional riding in a ring might help with your confidence? It's boring compared to trails I'm sure, but you'd have an even footing surface and you could concentrate on the basics in a controlled area. Maybe not all the time, but once every so often might help.

The lunge lessons sound like they'd help too. :-) At least with deepening your seat/improving balance.

Do you have any other friends you can go riding with as a casual thing? Even just walking around? If you get the pony, would there be someone around to check on you when you rode? I don't think my confidence is enough at this point (even on a great schoolmaster) to ride around by myself.

Have you asked your trainer's opinion? I think she'd be a great person to ask.

As for the fear, I don't have children, so I don't have that additional aspect to think about. I do many other things besides riding that could relate in serious injury -- from driving about 70 miles a day, to using power tools, crossing the street, etc. And I'm pretty sure I'm more likely to get in a car accident (god forbid) than seriously injure myself riding a horse.

I do think the fear will subside once your balance improves and you get more seat time. It's like the first time I drove, I swore I was going to crash or hit something. But after years of doing it, I feel prepared for just about anything these days and definitely don't fear it.


And yes, I will post back as soon as I get my next lesson in. (More rain today) Please keep me updated on your progress as well. :-) It doesn't have to be every week, but when you get a chance it would be nice. (I promise to eventually not write so much!)

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