How did you decide on your riding discipline? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 33 Old 03-04-2016, 11:02 PM
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I grew up riding Western, but now that I'm an adult I'll try anything!

I take general riding lessons from an instructor who is trained in dressage, but I do it in a western saddle. I take the occasional polo lesson for fun, do a lot of trail riding in western or English saddles, have tried some jumps and obstacle courses... as long as I'm enjoying it and the horse is too, why not?

As far as general purpose riding lessons I think it's most important to find an instructor you 'click' with and worry less about their discipline. As long as they're teaching you correctly it shouldn't really matter. If you get stuck with one trying to push you into something you don't want to do, that's when I get concerned.
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post #22 of 33 Old 03-05-2016, 10:22 AM
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I thought I wanted to learn jumping. Bought an Arabian mare and tried to learn to ride. She did lots of jumping...sideways. We did lots of spins, but that had nothing to do with reining, and we did a fair bit of galloping which had nothing to do with racing.

Over time, I realized I had little interest in jumping. There isn't much to jump in the Sonoran Desert. If you can't see the other side, you can assume it is filled with cactus. However, an HF moderator recommended VS Littauer, and the forward seat he taught kept me ON my horse.

With time, though, I realized the forward seat is as oversold by its enthusiasts (including me!) as a dressage seat is by its, and western riding is by its enthusiasts. At this point in my life, I ride in a western saddle. Sometimes in a forward seat. Sometimes in a position a cowboy from 1885 would relate to. And sometimes with ear, shoulder, hip and heel in a vertical line. Sometimes one hand. Sometimes two. Sometimes snaffle Sometimes curb. And I may use all those, and points in between, while riding just a half mile.

Littauer said the only real test of one's position were these two things:
1 - Do you move in fluid balance with the motion of your horse?

2 - Does your position allow you to cue your horse the way you need to do to control him?
It seems to me that if I want to continually be in "fluid balance" with my horse, then my position needs to be fluid as we do different things.

Starting off, learn one approach. Any of them. Doesn't matter which. But be flexible, and be ready to change your position and your approach to match your horse and your goal on any given day. In all one's riding, think "balance" not "position", and realize that folks who ride differently may have reasons why. Fluid.
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post #23 of 33 Old 03-05-2016, 10:46 AM
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I rode for years, even trained some horses, before I ever took a lesson
I just rode out, at first down roads, and when we finally got a truck and trailer, hauled to the mountains. Thus, my early horsemanship was self taught, riding and packing horses, often green ones.
I took my first clinic when I was in my thirties, by accident, being invited by a friend's sister who showed.
The clinic, while not taught by a reiner per say, was taught by someone that taught horsemanship, plus the various elements needed in reining, like flying lead changes and having a horse stop hard along a fence, then either do a rollback or a 360 and a half and lope off.
I thus first became interested in reining and other working events.
Never had a horse at any barn, or took regular lessons-just more clinics in various events I became interested in
I think at this point, you should work on basic riding skills, and not on jumping basics, unless that is the direction you want to go in.
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post #24 of 33 Old 03-05-2016, 10:57 AM
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I wasn't going to jump in and share but decided, what the heck!

How did I decide on the discipline I ride? Practicality. I am married to a man that while supports my passion, will not financially approve of the expense of "showing". So that left mostly trail riding, whether competitive or just for my own pleasure.

Since we have miles of trails on and off our property, that was fine with me. I have taken lessons periodically as I want to be the most effective partner possible with my horse/horses and also joined a trail riding club for the social aspect when desired.

My wonderful husband has come to realize that it is a lifestyle for me and has come to trust that while I am passionate about it, I won't "break the bank" to support it.

I love the one on one relationship I have with each horse and I do set goals to achieve for us (okay, mostly me , the horses goal is to get back to the barn and out to the pasture).

I could care less if I ride in an english saddle, western or endurance (and I have all three styles and enjoy them all). For me it is about comfort for both me and the horse and the experience of the trail/adventure!

I believe effective riding is just that. It doesn't matter the type of tack. I love watching dressage riders climb aboard a reining mount and vise versa. Great riding is just that.

Sorry for the ramble and length of it!
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post #25 of 33 Old 03-05-2016, 11:16 AM
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Anything to do with horses I'm game for. I started riding Western (pleasure and reining) simply because that was what was in my area. Then I moved and went to a trainer that did western, english, and driving so I picked up basic English riding and driving. Then I did a stint at a H/J barn, then I went on and drove more than I rode, then I decided to try saddleseat. I was petrified to start saddleseat. There's like no saddle underneath you, the horses are HOT, the double bridle is confusing as heck, the horses snort and blow and GO, GO, GO. But after I survived the first lesson I couldn't stop. Then I went on and picked up dressage and cutting.

So I suppose the answer to your question is pick up everything and anything. Try a little bit of everything because it makes you a better rider. I get compliments because I can bring a 'hot' reining horse down to a nice pleasure speed or I can take a pleasure horse and ask them for more go.
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post #26 of 33 Old 03-05-2016, 11:20 AM
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I thinck it's very personnal. There's so many way of riding, and no one is better than another one, it's just some way suits better some people.
And sometimes, what's suits you will change a few years later. It's not like it's something unchangable.

I started to ride in a farm where we never do anything else than hacking out. That's probably why it's still my main activity with my horses.
Later I learnt riding in a proper center, and I started jumping (maybe a little to much... In France in many center you the main activity is jumping and you don't always have the oportunity to ask yourself if you may prefer something else).
Then I had my firts horse, and we mainly go hacking out.
Later I met someone with draft horse that was looking for a groom for driving. I discovered another universe... and got my second horse that way.
But with the years, my interest grew for dressage. I took a few lessons, but I need a lot more to really be able to say that I do something else than begining flat work.
I also enjoy to try things as often as possible. Side saddle, roller joering, garrocha... I also do medieval reenactment, and I'd love to have my horse join me in this activity.

However, I've never tried western riding, but one day, i rode a camargue horse the guardian way.
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post #27 of 33 Old 03-05-2016, 01:50 PM
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I grew up riding western and wanted to try English just for fun. I love it. It's a lot about what's available nearby...finding an instructor you click with is super important!
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post #28 of 33 Old 03-05-2016, 04:27 PM
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My horse made the decision for me. Tried western, but he was way too fast. Tried hunter jumpers, and only learned how fast he can stop.

He wanted to be a trail horse, so that's what I do with him. When you're trying to decide what barn to ride at, just go with your gut. Dressage is the foundation for everything, so if you started there, you could go on to other things later.
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post #29 of 33 Old 03-12-2016, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Walkamile! That is my husband exactly! Except he is in the just beginning to understand phase haha

I love everyone's input thank you all so much for spending the time to reply! I just had lesson three with the HJ and am really enjoying it! She is letting me work through my rides and find the feel which is great. She provides a lot of critique but at the same time is very relaxed about it. First lesson back I could barely make it around the arena once posting and last lessons I did a pattern with cavelettis posting the entire time (equals out to 6 laps around the arena) and that was at the end of the lesson after a short canter which I haven't done in ages. Granted it wasn't perfect by any means but I'm getting more fluid and getting more "see! there you go!"'s than " lets try again"s. My lesson horse is awesome, you have to work for every step at the trot but he is so solid and forgiving.
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post #30 of 33 Old 03-17-2016, 04:36 PM
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When I first started riding, I was very inclined to try everything and anything under the sun. I wanted to make sure I tasted a little bit of everything before making a commitment.

I ended up buying a well-started half Arab last year who had experience in the show ring as a hunt horse. She had passed hands a few times and each rider did something new with her, so she was partially trained to do hunt, western, and gymkhanas/racing. She was also fantastic on the trails, walked out nice and was fairly sane.

I had a horse who could do it all it seemed - but she truly was a jack of all trades and a master of none. I knew I wasn't very interested in Western and wanted to pursue some kind of English riding. I wasn't a very talented jumper (though she enjoyed it), so decided to stick with the basic hunt seat for my first show. We ended up doing quite well in the equitation classes.

When I first started riding a couple years ago, it was at a Saddleseat barn. Fast forward a few months and I was seriously thinking about Saddleseat again - not to mention, I had the breed for the job. Unfortunately the training didn't progress like we had hoped, so we made the switch back to hunt seat for the 2016 show season, though my trainer insists that we will try Saddleseat with her again in the future once she's got some more basic show training under her.

So... I'm really just letting my horse decide for me right now. We will see what the future brings - I've got equipment for both disciplines!
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