I thought I was a rider - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 11-01-2018, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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I thought I was a rider

Until I actually tried to ride. So, here I am... all my life going to riding stables, using vacation horses, and friend's half-dead animals. I failed to realize that a 3 minute trot or canter didn't mean I could actually ride. To make a long story short in 2011 I was put in my place for the first time... through no fault of the horse. My husband and I went on our honeymoon and I really wanted to do this 3 hour ride through the English countryside. I had never ridden an English saddle, much less a treeless one. Off we went and were gone maybe 45 minutes. We walked and trotted, and then when the lead horse picked up the canter I started slipping... slipping...when I realized falling was inevitable I vaulted off and landed on my back. I broke it.
Thankfully I can still walk with no issues. I wrote it off to "bad luck" instead of my horrible seat.
After that maybe 3 years later I went back to trail horses and friends. I thought I was good to go again!! HAHAHAHA
We moved to an area that is very horse friendly. I really wanted to "ride" again so started working with rescues. I leased a horse from the rescue that was old and described as dead broke. He was pushing on me, trying to rub me off on fences etc. and one day someone opened a gate and he took off right out from under me. There I was eating dirt again although this time not really hurt. I thought maybe I could try a different horse, once again, dumped off.
At this point I realized something. The common denominator in all situations was ME.
Fast forward to recently, I am working consistently with a trainer which has made me realize just HOW BADLY I sucked and how little I knew. (no, he doesn't constantly tell me I suck, this is my personal evaluation of my skill)
I have actually come off one additional time while working with him. This time I know why. I started on the off beat with my posting trot and bounced around, scared the horse and he ran away with me. At this point I was wearing an airbag vest and helmet. Pulled my groin pretty hard but my spine, neck and skull are fine.
Today was my first day back riding as I am close to healed. 5 ibuprofen and an ice pack can create that illusion
It felt good to be up there again even if it was just walking circles and figure 8s in the arena. I am not a rider though. At the ripe old age of 42 I have started my real equestrian journey. Hopefully we have many beautiful rides to come and some day I will be able to actually earn the title of rider!
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post #2 of 34 Old 11-01-2018, 06:14 PM
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FWIW, one of my instructors has a quote that no one can call themselves a true horse person until they've fallen off at least 10 times. So you're on your way!
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post #3 of 34 Old 11-01-2018, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
FWIW, one of my instructors has a quote that no one can call themselves a true horse person until they've fallen off at least 10 times. So you're on your way!
Do my spills as a teenager count? It seems like as a stupid kid falling off felt like nothing.

My point in making this post was I was CLUELESS as to how much I didn't know. I honestly thought I could just get on any old horse and give them a tap and they would go. Learning the hard way has been scary and humbling. It's also a steep learning curve if you weren't started formally as a child.
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post #4 of 34 Old 11-01-2018, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
FWIW, one of my instructors has a quote that no one can call themselves a true horse person until they've fallen off at least 10 times. So you're on your way!
Oh darn! Guess I'm not a true horse person! Started riding at 50 and I doubt I could have survived becoming a true horse person. Lord willing, I'll never become one.

A good book for an older beginning riders: How Your Horse Wants You to Ride - currently available for $5 including shipping.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #5 of 34 Old 11-01-2018, 09:41 PM
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Lol, some of us have ridden on and off for many years, thinking we were riders, until we find that we have been passengers, or poor riders, albeit in my case with a fairly sticky seat.

It is great to start the journey to becoming a real rider, have fun and enjoy it.

“Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity”
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post #6 of 34 Old 11-01-2018, 10:18 PM
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They say the hardest part about riding a horse is the ground. Falls don't necessarily mean you can't ride, everyone falls. There's always going to be that one horse that teaches you how to survey the landscape at eye level.

No matter how much you think you know about horses, there will always be one that'll come along and teach you something new.
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post #7 of 34 Old 11-01-2018, 11:52 PM
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I started riding at 41, after a background much like you described, although I had one year at 17 where I rode regularly, and had enough actual experience on a flighty animal to develop something of a seat.


But, fast forward 20 some years, and I start again. I just thought I'd lease a horse, get on and ride. uh huh. yeah, right.


Turns out, after one hard fall that cracked my helmet, that I did not know HOW to ride, and I decided to seek out lessons. Best thing I could have done.
Through the course of the lessons I came off an additional 5 times or so, and another dozen or so after that, over the years.



But, the point of it is, some of us need instruction. I think you do. And, you need to build your physical fitness, and, after awhile, you need to learn to commit to NOT falling.


a lot of the time, we start to fall, or come off balance, and we think we are going to fall, and we do, only because we have given up the committment to NOT fall. Sometimes, if you stay in there, hang on good and strong, you can pull yourself back up and NOT fall. But it entails making a mental committment, and not just accepting that being knocked off balance necessarily means you must fall off.
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post #8 of 34 Old 11-02-2018, 12:36 AM
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Me too. I rode when younger and at 27 decided to get back into it. Easily got into the "advanced" classes and to be EXTRA SURE I was "advanced" I rode at different places. I was confident but I had only been exposed really to safe schoolies for the most part. Then this January I bought my first mare - 8yo, greenie. She thought the arena fence was to JUMP over. She didn't know what a straight line was. She didn't pace herself. Leg on meant GO FASTER, nothing else... just days before I was watching her be ridden beautifully. It looked so easy. With my new instructor in a new environment I was babied through my first ride. I got told by said instructor, that after nearly two years of WEEKLY RIDING LESSONS IN THE ADVANCED CLASS... that I was pretty awful. Hah. That was the closest to crying I ever got... So much for shiny new horse! ;) At that point in time I'd spent more on lessons than my actual horse, which is saying a lot.



I learned more about how to ride a horse in one month - and how to care for one - that I did in my many attempts volunteering at places and paying for rides. And my last ride on her I put too much leg on (unusual for me actually, but I was overly anticipating a difficult transition) and I OFFENDED HER. And really - I was out of order. Totally my fault. How dare I apply so much leg? She is a mare not a mule, not an inanimate object. And she decided to bronc a very small amount (first time EVER). Both feet out my stirrups, I literally hovered in the air and felt her disappear from under me. I literally forced my legs to relax and I sat it - and continued the canter without stirrups. I apologised to her and next time asked nicely. She rewarded ME by doing it lovely. That was my first real "ask a mare" scenario haha. It's real humbling to be told by your own horse you ride like crap haha!
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post #9 of 34 Old 11-02-2018, 01:36 AM
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You are so a rider!! I have ridden and trained and shown horses all my life, five decades now. I declare you a rider. Anyone who has the desire and the drive to keep at it, and wanting to improve, shakes off injuries and gets back on, is a rider in my books, period.

I am not here to promote anythingNo, that's not true, I am here to promote everything equestrian and everyone enjoying horses!
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post #10 of 34 Old 11-02-2018, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Oh darn! Guess I'm not a true horse person! Started riding at 50 and I doubt I could have survived becoming a true horse person. Lord willing, I'll never become one.

A good book for an older beginning riders: How Your Horse Wants You to Ride - currently available for $5 including shipping.
LOL. Actually I haven't fallen off yet either, and part of me is worried about that, but at least I typically only ride ponies and quarter horses, so I don't have too far to go before I hit the ground. I thought about this quote this morning, and I feel like maybe part of what it's getting at is that falling can teach you a lot, if you are open to learning from it. And it looks like it did teach you (OP) a lot, and you will be a better rider because of it. I'm really sorry about your back, but I commend your courage in getting back on again.

I also highly, highly recommend this book.

Last edited by ACinATX; 11-02-2018 at 07:10 AM.
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