I learned my lesson
I had a riding lesson on Wednesday and it was probably the best lesson I've ever had. I'm a beginner rider and the last few lessons I've been working on picking the correct diagonal while posting trot. I was proud of myself because I kept picking the correct one and only picked the wrong one a couple of times.
We were in an outdoor arena that had four small round pen type things in it. My instructor showed me a cloverleaf pattern and I trotted that for a little bit on the correct diagonal. Then I got to canter the pattern.
One of the things that I've always had to work on was my focus. I seem to look everywhere other than where I'm going. That's why we were doing this exercise. So I was cantering and coming down the center of the arena. I was supposed to turn left and go around one of the round pens but I wasn't focused and was just looking straight ahead. I was heading towards the entrance/exit; a big log. I tried to turn, but it was too late and the horse jumped the log.
I didn't come off and I managed to somehow dodge the horn. I cut my finger because I must've grabbed the horn or something. I also must've squeezed tight with my legs, because I have huge bruises along the insides of them.
So I got back in the arena and rode the pattern again. My riding instructor was on a horse blocking the exit, just incase the horse tried again. I tried turning left, but the horse decided to run into my riding instructors trying to get over the log again. So I tried again and made the left turn. Kept going over the pattern, and I have never felt so in control. The horse went exactly where I wanted him to go, because I was focused and gave him clear directions. Before I used to come into little arguments with the horse, because he wasn't going the way I wanted him to go.
I don't think I will ever be unfocused again. It scared the living daylights outta me. I learned from my mistake. Even though I had a roughy start, I feel that this lesson has taught me the most. I feel proud of myself.
What mistakes have you learned from? Have you ever had a lesson and at the end of it felt very proud of youself?
I'm still learning from my rough hands and riding with two hands.
I let my hands get the better of my judgment sometimes. It gets pretty scary. My horse is the kind of horse that if you wanna get rough with him, he gets pretty nasty. He won't resist you, he'll out right pick a fight.
I also have a problem riding with two ands. My cues are HIGHLY confusing to my horse when I two hand it. To make light of my problem, I always tell myself that I was meant to ride western. Haha.
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I would call it a lesson I learned last night although my horse was the instructor. The lesson was why we pay attention when leading a huge animal around. Lucky very rarely spooks. Leading him out of the pasture last night I stopped to talk to another boarder and basically got focused on the conversation. Suddenly 1100 lbs of horse spooked and bowled right into me! I'm just fortunate he is well trained enough that as soon as he touched me he realized it and hopped back out of my space. I shudder to think the damage a different horse could have done. I will certainly be more focused on the horse in the future!
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I've learned many different "new" things over the years including things I had previously learned but subsequently had forgotten.
The biggest learning thing that remains constant for me, is whenever I am around my horse or riding him, all my attention belongs with him. The only times I have ever gotten into trouble happened when I was taking mental breaks in the saddle. Apparently horses have a sense of humor about spooking or doing other silly things during the 5 seconds you decide to adjust your ponytail.
I cringe when I see people talking in their cell phones while mounted or otherwise just shooting the crap with their friends while in the saddle. Horses know the second you are no longer paying attention up there.
My trainer says, "If you leave the horse, he'll leave you". Meaning, if your attention leaves. This is SO true.
Don't leave your horse, that's my lesson.
I've learned that safety is much more important than money in the horse world. A few times I have bought young horses because they are cheaper and easier to come by, but in the long run its not worth getting a cheap horse just because its cheap. I think its worth spending thousands if you have to so you can buy a quiet, safer horse.
Second thing I have learned is that people don't let other people ride their good horses. Some people may have different experiences but in my experience if someone offers to let you ride their horse just for the sake of it, or because you want to ride, there is something not great about the horse. If it was a good horse then someone would already be riding it, or it would be sold. I have ridden a handful of horses when i didn't have my own, or I couldn't ride my own, that were described as fine, good etc and every single one of them had something wrong with it. They may have been their owners prize horse, or whatever, but you don't really get things for free in the horse world.
Third thing I learned - always wear gloves while lunging.
As far as attention goes you should, while actively riding, always pay attention. But I think that ideally all horses should be quiet and safe enough that you can sit on their backs, while talking to someone, adjusting something, etc. safely and without worrying that your horse will do something. I think that comes down to training, and there are many times in riding where you can't give a horse the full attention. Like opening a gate from horseback, or mounted games, or even just adjusting stirrups.
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