Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: A small town in NY
• Horses: 0
I've only been riding three years, but here's what I've learned:
Balance is key.
Don't exaggerate or overestimate your riding ability - just because you can jump 3ft on a schoolmaster doesn't mean you can on a green horse. Be honest about your abilities with yourself and your instructor, know your limits and don't push yourself until you are ready.
Yet, at the same time, don't underestimate yourself. Riding (or anything having to do with horses) is as much a mental thing as it is physical, if not more so. Lack of confidence in yourself or your horse's ability will keep you stuck in a rut if you let it.
Keep an open mind, but if you and your horse have something that work for you, continue doing that. People in the horse world love to give advice - some bad, some good. Sometimes even good advice won't be the best advice for you. My advice - ask several people more experienced than you who have had the same issue with themselves or their horse. You'll likely get several different ideas on how to fix the problem, and experiment with them. Don't religiously follow one person's advice, but don't try every Joe Shmoe's technique.
Expect anything from any horse. Don't get lazy about basic horse safety just because you believe your horse won't do anything.
Little things turn into big things - quickly. Nip bad behavior in the bud. Don't be afraid to get after a horse. Previously well-mannered horses can be spoiled very fast by people who let them get away with murder.
At the same time, be patient. Remember why you got into horses (to enjoy them!) Take a break and head out of the arena every once in a while. Don't beat yourself up during or after a ride. Work your hardest to be the best you can be.
Overall, what you need is balance. Not only the balance that keeps you from plunging to the ground off your horse's back, but in your actions. Always be prepared for the worst but hope for the best. Try to learn as much as you can but don't even act like you'll ever know it all. Don't be afraid to ask for help but don't be afraid to work things out yourself (!not big/dangerous things!). It's how you'll learn.
Balance is key.
A horse is a mirror to your soul. And sometimes you may not like what you see. - Buck Brannaman