What to expect to do in western riding lessons.... - Page 2 - The Horse Forum

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post #11 of 15 Old 09-16-2012, 11:56 AM
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Tacking can take forever, so get there early if you want a lesson in between. I'd give myself at least an hour in the beginning because becoming familiar with the process AND the horse takes time. Be quiet in your horses presence and by that I don't mean silence if you're a talker (I'm a talker). What I'm saying is be calm, and in control of yourself. That was the best advice anyone gave me (and I got it here, btw). Give your horse time to get to know you and your scent. And give yourself time to adjust to being in a horse's presence. They're big animals, of heart and of spirit. But they're also prey, so they're alert to you.

Assuming you've been on a horse before, if you have a few minutes after grooming and tacking (smiling here), you'll learn how to mount, to sit properly and hold your body, how to keep slack in your reins, position your arms, your legs/feet. THEN you'll learn how to get your horse moving. Or how to tell your horse to hold still. Some people don't have a clue how to tell a horse "okay, lets go".

When moving you'll learn to stretch yourself while allowing your horse to warm up. A good warm up is important for your horse and for you, so the two of you will slowly walk around and around and around and around the arena and while you do, you can stretch your arms, your legs and become familiar with the movement of your horse and how you balance yourself.

Take it slow. No hurry. Everything comes in time.

-Cynthia

Last edited by wild old thing; 09-16-2012 at 12:03 PM.
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post #12 of 15 Old 09-16-2012, 12:12 PM
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PS. Get yourself a pair of riding boots. Ask your instructor what you should get and then start searching. Ebay is great.

For me my boots were worth every nickle and next time I'm getting a better boot if I can find one. I got a really good pair nearly new and they're going to last a long time.

Boots offer a certain precision in communicating with your horse - from indicating you want to move to steering to halting. You want a smooth sole so if you need to get your foot deeper into the stirrup quickly like when you're in a lope, you can and if you need to slide your foot out fast, you can. Boots are important aids.

-Cynthia
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-17-2012, 02:58 PM
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I have been teaching lessons for 4 years, and I tell new riders on the phone (before their first lesson) "Make sure you wear a shirt that covers the shoulders, long pants, jeans are best, and Boots with at least a 1 inch heel. That last one is a safety concern. A 1" heel keeps your foot from slipping through the stirrup and prevents your from being dragged by the foot should you come off. Hard boots also offer more protection in the event you are stepped on by the horse. I do not teach tacking up on the first lesson, because there is so much to cover the first lesson. You should expect to learn how to properly mount with consideration for the horse, Your instructor should teach you how to stop before they teach you to walk. Typically, I will get through walk, stop, position, circles and reverses and sometimes the first jog on the first lesson. Depends on the student but most adults can progress to first jog in one hour. Ideally you will be in a round pen for your first lesson, and eventually move to an arena. About once a month I take my lessons out on trail for a nice break and it gives me an opportunity to teach about other areas of horsemanship, such as equine psychology or breeds and colors, etc. Also, make sure your instructor puts you in an ASTM-SEI approved equestrian helmet! Good luck with your lessons!
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-22-2012, 03:01 PM
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I have thought about this topic a lot over the past several years, as I have taught my own children to ride. In my opinion, the best instruction includes not only riding, but brings a more holistic approach to horsemanship. It would include the basics of horse ground handling, ground training, hoof care, health care, trailering, stall care, pasturing, feeding, etc. It's hard to find this kind of instruction at most riding schools, due to time, money, class size, and other restraints.
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post #15 of 15 Old 09-22-2012, 08:56 PM
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I agree thenrie, my mission is to create safe, responsible future horse owners. My checklist for my level 1 riders handling lessons includes:
Grooming (with names for the tools and how to properly use them)
Saddling
Equine Anatomy
Catch and Halter
Parts of Tack
Tying (with a quick-release safety knot, correct height, etc.)
Bridling

I don't teach on trailering, lunging, nutrition, etc. until later. I feel that all riding programs should include all aspects of horsemanship, not just riding.
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