being a decent equestrian... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 11-09-2019, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Red face being a decent equestrian...

... How long will it realistically take when you ride 2-3 hours a week? If you really put in a lot of effort (read theory, rewatch videotapes of your riding, ask a lot of advice from trainer/other riders)??



And I don't mean: how long does it take to become a horseman... I really mean how long does it take to become a decent equestrian that can do all the basics of riding?



I have been riding (western, neck reining) for 3 months now and I can steer (huray for that, haha): trot (sit the trot and two point), galopping (whilst sitting), circles while sitting the trot and while two point riding, telling the horse to go faster or slower with seat, telling the horse to not stick his nose up the butt of the horse in front of him whils trotting, going backwards, making the horse turn around without going backwards or forwards in the process. I have a good seat. I still need to work on keeping my hands more still during galopping. I know when the horse is thinking of trotting himself and I know when he is thinking of something else then me (I see it and feel it in his body.) <= this is about everything I can do.



feedback from other riders and trainers: good seat, progresses quickly, will be able to ride properly in half a year if you keep on riding like that... But is this realistic? I think I can always learn more, develop more... I want to be challenged. ;)



What more should you be able to do as a beginning rider? I find a lot of info in books about jumping and all, but not that much about the basics? I would want to try the side stepping on a horse too... and then??? Should I ask my trainer to do this: two point in galopping, jockey seat in galopping, jumping some poles and eventually jumping??



How long did it take you guys to say about yourselves: okay now I am a decent equestrian??
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post #2 of 40 Old 11-09-2019, 04:16 PM
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I found riders improve the most, and become decent riders when they are open to instruction and suggestion. I know people who have ridden all their lives, and I still wouldn't consider them decent riders. But they're happy with the riding, so carry on. Sometimes people get really good at doing the wrong things.

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post #3 of 40 Old 11-09-2019, 04:22 PM
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Do you understand the basic cues? Can you apply them correctly? Does the horse respond as they should/you asked? This would be getting them to move forward, turn, back, change gaits and halt on cue. Are your hands light? Do you apply your seat and leg effectively? And does this transfer from horse to horse?


It will take each person exactly how long it will take. Younger, more flexible, strong (core) with the nerves to take on things at a quick pace if they're able to ride more and are open to instruction/constructive criticism can advance fairly quickly. Change any one of those things and then time gets added.
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post #4 of 40 Old 11-09-2019, 05:06 PM
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11+ years. Own three horses. I'm a well-intentioned equestrian. I think my horses would grant me that.

Decent? Well, I don't jump. My horse picks his own lead. Better, cuz I couldn't ask him for a left lead. Or right. He doesn't try to spin and run away much any more. Guess that's a plus point.

He looked like this when I got him:


Looks like this now:


I stay on OK but I'd probably flunk a lot of instructors' equitation exams.

Decent? My horses are healthier now than when I got them and seem happy enough hauling me around. But I changed my stirrup setting on my last ride and plan to try it again because maybe it was helping some.

I guess I don't stress much anymore about my equitation but neither will I pretend I'm God's Gift to Horses. Healthy & Happy works for us, but I'll never stop tweaking things. Never stopping is part of decent.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #5 of 40 Old 11-09-2019, 05:21 PM
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It depends. "It takes the time it takes, but if you take the time, it takes less time." In other words, there is no set schedule to become a decent equestrian (or beginner/intermediate/advanced/[insert level]). Every one will progress on their own time - when they are ready. If someone tries to advance them before they are ready, they can learn bad habits which will be harder to break later on. It's more important to be honest about your skill level than trying to label your skill level.
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post #6 of 40 Old 11-09-2019, 05:43 PM
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You never stop learning, simple as that!

Some people have a natural feel for the movement and learn the basics fairly quickly, others find it a lot harder.
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post #7 of 40 Old 11-09-2019, 09:17 PM
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I've ridden since I was 4, and I'm 38 now. I did take a few years off, and now I find that I need to find my core again. However, I learn something new everyday and I always challenge myself to see what new things I can learn. I echo others when they say that being decent means always being open to learning.
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post #8 of 40 Old 11-10-2019, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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[QUOTE=QtrBel;1970789459]Do you understand the basic cues? Can you apply them correctly? Does the horse respond as they should/you asked? This would be getting them to move forward, turn, back, change gaits and halt on cue. Are your hands light? Do you apply your seat and leg effectively? And does this transfer from horse to horse?


All of the above are okay (I can do that), but I ride western so I don't have contact on the reins (Neck reining). My hands move too much while galopping (I know this and actively remind myself to stay smooth, but at least I ride no contact so I don't annoy the horse in his mouth) If I ride on an English ridden horse I noticed they do not understand the cue for galopping. Western schooled horses do. (put one of your legs a bit behind the girth, place it on the part of the horse you want to bend so he takes the right galop and make a kissing sound). :) => I do think I can learn much more about my seat and legs! I sit a bit heavier to ask a horse to slow down during trotting (so keep on trotting but more steady and in a slower rhythm). my friends horse does this, the school horses don't really respond that much to it... Could it be every horse is schooled a tiny bit differently? Because I normally make one click for step, two clicks for trotting and a kiss for galop. I noticed some horses go trotting on one click... and step on only leg pressure... So I guess I can make the horse move as soon as I get how he is schooled.



I can also ask a horse to bend the body by applying leg pressure and directing the head towards the obstacle with rein pressure so I don't get slapped on the knees by branches and trees. That's about all I can do for now. Still a bit clumsy and trying hard to build muscle memory. (!) I do think I have a natural tendency to move with the horse (?) because every time I galop on an unknown horse (except for a certain tiny pony, ahem) I never come out of the saddle. <= I think this is good?

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #9 of 40 Old 11-10-2019, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therhondamarie View Post
I've ridden since I was 4, and I'm 38 now. I did take a few years off, and now I find that I need to find my core again. However, I learn something new everyday and I always challenge myself to see what new things I can learn. I echo others when they say that being decent means always being open to learning.

Absolutely true! I want to learn, I get bored when I can't learn new stuff. Tell me how do you galop?? I sit a bit back and then I move my hips and lower part (also my butt) actively forward and backward (like a rocking motion), the same time I use my muscles in my belly and back so my upper body remains a bit stiff. I also lean back a little (learned to do it like that). I learned to apply pressure in the stirrups with the ball of my foot, but today I galloped alot in the forest and my stirrups were too low so I just let my legs relax and used only my upper body. It worked. How do more experienced riders galop? :)

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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post #10 of 40 Old 11-10-2019, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
You never stop learning, simple as that!

Some people have a natural feel for the movement and learn the basics fairly quickly, others find it a lot harder.

I found that the more I think about it the more I screw up. Now I don't try to think and just do. It works much better like that. :) Just move with the horse. :)

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out and meet it. (-Thucydides)
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