Encouragement for beginners - What a difference a year makes :)
This is sort of an update, and hopefully encouragement for the new riders (especially those of us starting at, ahem, a more mature age...).
I started riding casually about 6 years ago when invited by a new friend to ride her 'babysitter' horse. Had always wanted to ride but had never had the chance (or never made time for it). Quickly fell in love with it. Though she was aging, that was the first horse I'd ever ridden that didn't just follow along. She would do so, but she was well trained and responsive and began to teach me to ride. She finally 'aged out', and had to be retired. My friend and I hatched the plan that I needed my own horse and would board it at her place.
2 yrs ago we bought my first horse... the trials and tribulations are well documented on this forum. I felt like a failure, but finally sold her just over a year ago, which ended up being the right thing to do. Then, after considering giving up on the dream, I decided (with my friend's encouragement) to try one more time. I kept crossing paths with a particular mare, but kept doubting myself (that is also documented on here). Finally, a year ago last Friday, I took the plunge and brought her home. My confidence was deeply shaken by my first experience, but I was committed to doing everything as 'right' as possible this time around. I've had my share of "Oh My!" moments... then I post on this forum, and calm experienced voices explain what's going on. This horse is very willing and patient, and if I show similar patience - we figure it out.
Now a year later, I feel totally at peace with this horse, and like we are a team. I can't get complacent - have to always be alert around horses - but I no longer fight the nerves every time I ride. I was fearful of trotting for more than a few strides when I first got her. Yesterday, we went on a ride which included maneuvering through gates (one with mud/water that came to horse's knees), herding the neighbor's horse out of a small back pasture (she refused to cross through previously mentioned mud - and had been 'trapped' for several days)... dismounting several times at gates and to roll up and secure some downed fence wire; obstacles and slopes; and LOTS of ground-covering trotting. Next on my agenda is gaining confidence at the canter/lope (have only had the nerve to do that a few times for a few strides...). I'm having the time of my life!
I am grateful for all the experienced equestrians who take the time to visit the 'New to Horses' forum and calm us down... You are a true blessing.
I'm a mid-lifer finally making time for horses... Having a blast, but there's soooo much to learn -