Natural at english riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 11-24-2009, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Natural at english riding?

This may appear to be a silly question but one that I have often thought about. Are some people just naturally good at riding (dressage, flat, jumping) and others have to work harder at it to get where they want to be? I see some people that seem to "get it" from the very start and then there are others (like myself) that seem to have to really work at it to get anywhere. Perhaps it's like other "sports" that some people just are more gifted and therefore just enjoy it from day one while others struggle.
Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 28 Old 11-24-2009, 01:09 PM
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I am one of those people that is able to contort my body in strange ways to get that perfect dressage equitation (although my screwed up hips restrict that now...), I've always just "gotten" what coaches tell me and to develop a feel for the horse didn't take me nearly as long as it does some people.
This in some ways is detrimental to me because where I just "get it" a lot of people need a bio-mechanical explanation which I get, but can't explain. When I am coaching someone, it is really tough for me to explain what I am doing.
But on the other hand, as a rider I am ahead of other people who started riding when I did and I am able to learn things a lot more quickly. When someone suggests something, I know how to do it without being taken step by step through it.

It is like any other sport or education in general in that some people just know how to do it while others really have to work to grasp the concepts.
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post #3 of 28 Old 11-24-2009, 01:35 PM
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Absolutely, one can be a natural at riding!

I'm really not that natural of a rider, at least equitation-wise. I often have to remind myself to sit taller, watch my heels, keep my elbows at my sides, etc. Much of that is really dependent on the conformation of the rider. I have shorter arms, so I find myself reaching forward a lot. I personally find it easier to do groundwork and training (although so much of training is made easier by working in the correct position), to convince a horse to be calm, respectful, and confident.

I agree wholly with Anebel that riding is like any other endeavor, in terms of being naturally good and having to work at it to become proficient. Some things I get easily (I can remember stupidly random facts, like the year a movie was made, or find a quote in a book I read, at the drop of a hat) and other things I can work like mad on and never really have "click" (for me personally... math in any incarnation is always a struggle).

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #4 of 28 Old 11-24-2009, 03:47 PM
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i definitely believe you can be a natural rider :) i have heard from many people higher up in riding who have told me i am a very natural rider and it just comes somewhat easily for me. then there is my friend who has to work to be a good solid rider. hope that helped :)

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post #5 of 28 Old 11-24-2009, 04:42 PM
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Yes, you can. I had a terrible riding instructor years ago who was my first ever RI, she would put me at the back of the ride and ignore me - I heard her telling someone I was an idiot and hadn't learnt a thing.

In the years since then I've had 8 or 9 instructors and most of them have complimented me on my quiet, sensitive riding - something I was not taught by that woman!

My niece is an excellent rider, and she's only had a half dozen lessons ...

"Did I not just use the word 'puzzling'?"

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post #6 of 28 Old 11-24-2009, 11:38 PM
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Yup, people can definitely be naturals at riding. I am not one of those people. =P I've met many people who don't have a clue what they're doing, but they're riding correctly without even knowing it while others like me have to work extra hard to get their bodies to do what we want them to do.
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post #7 of 28 Old 11-25-2009, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you - that makes sense and makes me feel better that perhaps this is just one of those endeavors in life that I will need to "work" at. It can be frustrating, but I suppose if you work hard whether a natural or not, it is all worth the determination in the end. It just takes some of us longer to get to the goals. Thanks for your input.
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post #8 of 28 Old 11-25-2009, 09:18 AM
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Chevy - There is absolutely nothing wrong with having to work hard to get where you want to be! :) I have to work very hard to be a good rider, but I have had a couple instructors tell me I was "so fun to teach" because they give me the instruction, they can see me actually trying, and my horse responding. It actually makes me feel very accomplished! Sometimes I wish I could just 'get it,' but I knew someone once who was a very fluid rider and everytime this person took instruction it would be followed up with "I know," and "I know, I was just trying to do something else," or "I know, my horse was (insert excuse here)." I like that my instructor sees constant improvement in me, makes me feel I'm getting my monies worth!!
**Note: Not all natural riders are like the person I described above, I was just using it as an example to give a badge to those who need the extra homework! :) :)**

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
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post #9 of 28 Old 11-25-2009, 10:29 AM
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Yes! my trainer is constantly calling me a natural. When I first sat in an English saddle and started posting, she didn't believe that I had never ridden English before. She's positive I will be doing dressage shows by summer and I just started riding dressage 2 months ago or so. I'm not a natural at jumping. Everytime I go into 2-point, I feel like I'm going to fall of so that fears restricts my body from moving naturally.

To see the wind's power, the rain's cleansing, and the sun's radiant life, one need only to look at the horse.
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post #10 of 28 Old 11-25-2009, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Wish it came naturally to me as it does with others, but I am certainly not against working at it as I find the learning process enjoyable, yet frustrating. Not so sure how my horse feels about my ssllloooww learning. He is quite tolerant. I'm not artisitic or musically inclined either, which probably is a natural trait that gets expanded on. Wonder what my natural "gift" is?
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