I'd say having a social group with horses can be very difficult. There are so many sub-cultures in the horse world. Most barns I've boarded at did not have people who identified with me or my riding.
This makes a lot of sense to me. The gamer/geek community which I count myself part of is often the same way - lots of people grouped under one umbrella and sharing a lot of superficial similarities to outsiders, but honestly very interested in their own worlds once you get into the details. There isnít even necessarily anything wrong with that per-say, but itís good to know what Iím getting into and to know I should add this as another factor I consider when looking at things like where to board, etc.
I appreciate you putting into words something Iíve been noticing but wasnít sure if I was quite seeing right.
Sadly, many people are also ashamed of their riding level and don't want to go out unless they're with others with similar skills. For me, it's enjoyable to go out and have a gentle ride, and it's good for horses to have those rides mixed in with more challenging ones. No one should be embarrassed about bouncing around or losing a stirrup because we all began that way.
But I can understand the sentiment. If I were to go rock climbing with an experienced climber, I would feel I was holding them back and annoying them just because they were so good at it.
I have a pretty high tolerance for embarrassing myself so long as Iím genuinely not annoying the people around me and am being safe. That said, I can be a little sensitive on the Ďnot annoying peopleí point, especially if I feel that people are going out of their way for me or I carry them in high esteem. I very much grew up the bullied geeky outsider. I have gained a tremendous amount of confidence since then, but Iíve also developed a disinterest in being anywhere Iím not welcome and a deep appreciation for those places where I genuinely am. I can embarrass myself all day (see: overweight in a leotard in a room full of athletic 20 year olds surrounded by wall-to-wall mirrors) but the last thing I want is to hold up the class.
A note on climbing specifically: One of the cool things about starting climbing, at least with gym top rope (which is where most beginners start), is that once you get to the ďsafe to belayĒ point just a few hours in, skill level no longer really matters much for partnering in the vast majority of cases (until you get to lead, but thatís another style of climbing entirely). In practice each person takes turns climbing and thereís no need to be climbing the same routes. While it can be fun to both be working on the same things so you can discuss them this is a very small benefit. This is why people drag their random friends into climbing: a newbie partner really is ~90% as good as an old-hat one for most purposes. So long as you pay rigorous attention to safety and treat it with the seriousness itís due you would contribute just as much as someone whoís been around 10 years.
If you ever develop curiosity and have the inclination to try climbing I would be thrilled to show you what I mean.
It would be nice if you could find someone who wanted help getting their 2nd, trained horse exercised and wouldn't mind teaching you. I've had several riders be my exercise rider and have given lessons to some in exchange for coming out with me once a week. Endurance riders are famous for having a back up horse and not having time to condition both. Yet they want someone to help keep the extra horse fit in case their #1 horse has an issue. It only took about a month's worth of lessons for me to get a high school girl out of the arena and conditioning horses on the trails with me.
That would be amazingly perfect, and might lead me to try to see if there are groups of endurance riders around here. That would honestly be excellent if I could run across such a thing. Iíd be thrilled to follow someoneís lesson plans/exercise schedule for a horse - we could both use the work.
My experience was that I enjoyed lessons immensely when I couldn't have a horse. But as soon as it was possible for me to own one, lessons were extremely frustrating. I didn't want to go home afterward. An hour was too short, and over too soon. I wanted freedom. My cousin let me go out and ride her second horse whenever I wanted, and that was better....except spending time with him made me want my own horse even more. It was less than six months of this before I bought my own horse. With my own horse, I enjoyed lessons much more.
I can definitely understand that. All told itís amazing how fast and hard the get-a-horse bug bites. How long were you riding before you started to consider it out of curiosity?
I am in the precarious position that I theoretically could
pull that trigger, but really, really shouldnít
for a multitude of very obvious reasonsÖ but I canít deny Iíve done a little pre-research (ok, how much would horse board and care really
cost given my situationÖ). Thankfully, itís so hilariously obvious to me that Iím not ready thereís no real temptation just yet.
Ö but I may have bought a couple books on horse care/health and made a point to begin learning some of those theoretical foundations - you knowÖ just in case those reasons cease to be as relevant in a few years...
Originally Posted by phantomhorse13 View Post
I would LOVE if you randomly showed up some time I was trimming trail!! Finding people willing to do the work of trail maintenance and not just take advantage of the using the trails someone else cleared is hard (though maybe hunts are required to do such things as part of membership?).
However, I know there can be a lot of etiquette around hunting, so can't say for sure what kind of reception you would get. But someone willing to work for free sure seems like a no-brainer and it might allow you to make some good connections, especially if you are outgoing enough to explain to the people you meet that you are a new rider looking for more learning opportunities.
Hmm, I may consider reaching out to them. I heard about this via their newsletter (which they posted on their site). They were asking their members to come and dedicate some time. I could spend a few weekend days on it. I actually somewhat enjoy that sort of thing - though I donít do much of it.
This is an amazing idea
Originally Posted by phantomhorse13 View Post
Do you have any horse rescues or therapeutic riding centers in your area? Those places are always looking for volunteers and its often a way to get some great hands-on learning in exchange for some work.
. Yes, there is
a horse rescue not far from here! And they have open drop-in volunteering hours to boot. One of them is conveniently right after my Saturday lessons actually (with just enough time to grab brunch between). This would be an amazing way to learn more about the realities of horse care.
Alright, I am going to try this out. Iím not sure if I will manage it this weekend or not due to a potential schedule conflict but if not this weekend then probably next weekend. Thank you
. I am really excited about this actually.
Iím not sure why the idea of what will probably be mucking out stalls is so exciting to me right now - but it honestly really is.
When you feel you are able to ride comfortably in the open at all gaits, perhaps consider joining one the groups that interests you. Also, many of us with trailers are willing to give rides to others who don't have a trailer. Even when my 3 friends and I get together for our monthly ride (we've known each other for ages), we only take one trailer to save on gas, taking turns about whose trailer we use.
Yes, this is basically my plan. Right now Iím thinking of shooting for the next polo beginner seminar they offer (Iím guessing Spring). Then, as soon as I feel comfortable and have access to a horse Iíll look at the hunt trail rides. Really Iím just trying to put as much effort as I can towards that bar of Ďride comfortably in the open at all gaitsí and general horse-knowledge. My sort of perfect world scenario right now is to use the winter to try to get in a lot of my arena-knowledge while itís too cold to really ride out and maybe be ready for the spring. Though, as Iíve been saying I have no idea how reasonable or unreasonable that is.
The fact that people sometimes share trailers is good to know. Iíd be thrilled for an arrangement like I pay gas but we use their trailer or some such. Really though this sounds like one of those needing to know people situations.