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post #1 of 8 Old 02-07-2011, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Lessons: Learning timeline

What would be a reasonable learning timelime for the average rider -- from walk/trot through jumping 2' or so?

I started riding again (hunters/equitation) this past Dec. after a 12-year hiatus. Before I stopped riding, I was doing walk-trot-canter and doing smallish crossrails. I'm now 12 lessons in with my new trainer, and I just finished up my third lesson of cantering. I do not own or lease a horse, so the only time I'm in the saddle is during lessons.

I feel a little stupid asking this, because I already know the answer: Depends on the person. but since I'm quickly approaching the point where I left riding 12 years ago, I'm now going into unchartered territory. That being said, I'd love to hear from trainers and students alike in how long it took them -- or their students -- to progress from walk/trot through the height they're jumping now. (Be it crossrails or over 4'.)

My trainer feels like I'll be ready to do some jumping (I'm sure they'll be tiny) before my first show in May, so I know what we're aiming for. Even though things are moving quicker this time around, I can't help but feel like I'm taking too long. Like with cantering, I'm still not excited about it, but I'm coming around. My seat feels good, I'm not teetering on falling or anything, but she has to push me a little bit to get going -- which I like.

She makes corrections in the ring (closing my fingers, getting on to my horse when she's lazy and doesn't want to canter), but they seem to be mostly minor, and she's heavy on praise. Which has somehow given me a complex , like I'm a 'special' student. So, I'm left wondering if I am making decent progress and just don't need tons of corrections or if she's trying to be polite and gentle since I'm older? (She's 25, I'm 32.)

Just curious. I'm probably just spending WAY too much time thinking about it. I will try and talk to her about it during my next lesson. Sometimes these things don't pop into my head until after the fact. Thanks so much for wading though this!
Opus is offline  
post #2 of 8 Old 02-07-2011, 10:37 PM
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It would not only depend on the rider, but on the instructor, horse you are lesson-ing on, and how often you lesson.

I just started jumping lessons and theres a young girl (she is 13 I believe) who had never been on a horse until last July, and she just jumped her first course a week or so ago, she is a beautiful rider.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-08-2011, 07:50 PM
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You are right, it depends on many variables. How often are you taking lessons? The more often you ride the stronger you will become!

I'm not sure if you are interested in this type of advice but I used to get wrapped up in how high I was jumping and what level I was at compared to other riders and it really didn't help my riding at ALL. In fact, it made me feel worse because there will always be better riders. I doubt that your trainer is overly praising you as encouragement for a poor job =p (though I suppose I don't really know that). My guess is that she wants to make sure that you don't get frustrated by how long it takes to perfect your riding skills. Not a lot of people do what we do and the average person would be amazed by your "special" lesson so cut yourself some slack! It's great to have goals, and you should go for the 2 ft fence, but dont worry if it takes longer or less time than someone else.

Anyway, to answer your question and not totally waste your time, I did dressage for about a year or so, switched to another trainer who had to correct my position and I think i started jumping a few months after I started riding with her. Perhaps 3 or 4 months? And I believe my first jump was 18 inches.

Oh, and welcome back to the sport! =)
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-09-2011, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much y'all. :)

I think I'm just having one of *those* weeks where I'm a little moodier/sensitive than normal. I feel pretty good about what I've picked up and how I'm progressing, but then I feel WAY behind compared to others. It does feel awkward coming back to riding after all this time.

I should probably re-title the thread 'Random whinings.' :) But I DO appreciate the feedback about how long people it took people to progress. It's not so much something to aim for but rather as a way to calm myself when a lesson doesn't go as smooth as I'd like. It reminds me that it's OK to slow down here and there. If that makes sense.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-09-2011, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Opus View Post
She makes corrections in the ring (closing my fingers, getting on to my horse when she's lazy and doesn't want to canter), but they seem to be mostly minor, and she's heavy on praise. Which has somehow given me a complex , like I'm a 'special' student. So, I'm left wondering if I am making decent progress and just don't need tons of corrections or if she's trying to be polite and gentle since I'm older? (She's 25, I'm 32.)
Let her know how much critique and correction you want. I am starting to ride this weekend after a 6 year break (that was my last lesson - sat on a few horses here and there.) I basically want a drill segregant telling me what to do and how to fix things all the time. I will be sure to tell my coach that up front because that's how I learn!
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-22-2011, 11:47 AM
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I'm going to say a LOT of it depends on the trainer. For example, my very first trainer was not what I would call an experience one and did not give me a good timeline

ie, since I was a beginner I guess they thought they didn't need to give me an experienced coach at the lesson barn I was at, and a 17 year old girl who just helped around the barn gave me my first 4 "kickstart lessons". I was 9 at the time, and on my first lesson I walked and trotted, second I got to try out a canter. Third lesson I started jumping. On my fourth lesson I fell off. I was going to a jump and my horse stopped. then from a dead stop he decided to jump it and I fell off.
So I started doing things wayyy too early, then when my little sister started riding, she had a different instructor and started mini jumps after about 6 months, so I guess it really depends on the instructor
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-23-2011, 12:55 PM
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I started riding again after a 5 year hiatus, so I can relate a little with the whole "feeling awkward" thing because most of the other riders my age are already jumping around 1 meter. Although my situation differs a little because 5 years ago when I lived in the US, I rode western and all I really did was trails. Here in France, I'm riding english.
Ive been riding for a month an a half, 2 lessons a week, and have started jumping. At the moment, I'm just doing larger crossrails (at the trot) and small verticals (at the canter). I think because in France, people take riding very seriously, riders are pushed hard... which is both good and bad. Good because the instructors are strict, watch you closely, and will make you try things you would otherwise be too nervous to do. Bad because sometimes they'll ask a lot of you (ie, telling you to jump at a canter the first time you jump instead of working with the trot) and when you don't deliver (ie... fall off!) it definietly hurts your pride!
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-23-2011, 05:44 PM
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I started ridding when i was 12, but i never had lessons, I always rode western and i learned from books and the internet, when i was 20(winter 2006) i got pregnant and took a break from ridding until last year. In may i got Bella, a 13 year old OTTB, probably not the best choice of horse for getting back into it after 3/4 years lol. I got a dressage saddle, having never ridden english decided that i needed lessons. In mid january i finally started taking lessons, i take them once a week, i've done the posting trot, sitting trot, 2 point, and cantered once about 3 weeks ago, I'm pretty scared to canter, not sure why lol, We were going to canter yesterday but Molly Rose(the lesson horse) was being a spook and spooked like 6 times, the first time the instructor snapped a twig off a tree to keep the horses from scraping their face on it and Molly jumped backwards and ran over my foot, then while ridding she was spooking at every little noise, the whole time i've been taking lessons on her she has spooked twice and with good reason each time....anyway, i'm taking things really slow because i'm older and have a family and i just don't bounce like i used to lol
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