New to riding and horses - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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New to riding and horses

Hi all,

I am new to riding and fairly new to horses altogether ( I spent a summer working in barn at racetrack feeding, hot walking and started to learn to tack, icing legs, placing heating pads, picking hooves and grooming etc ). It’s been several years and I definitely don’t feel like a pro at these things!

My goal over the next few years is to learn to ride safely ( probably just trails, hacking, and arena) and also to be able to care for my own horses by the time our son leaves for college in 4 yrs.

Currently, I have a whopping 5 lessons under my belt of which I spend part of my time on the longe line. While I’m not completely sure, I think my instructor has been trying to help me build riding strength and a good seat. I’m 39 and could be in better shape but have been gaining both strength and stamina from each lesson. I’m ok with being pushed and my instructor definitely pushes me to my limit every lesson. So far I’ve practiced posting trot and two point trot, on and off the longe line. I have not cantered. I have one lesson a week for now but plan to throw a second lesson in when I can and when my abilities allow, I plan to lease one day a week to practice on my own.

So I have a few questions for those of who are experienced : Is my overall goal realistic? What are some short term goals that would make sense for me to set in order to achieve my overall goal? How will I know when I’m ready to lease? And how will I know when I’m ready to fulfill my dream of owning horses at home on our own land?

I’m looking for raw honesty so please don’t hold back 😊
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 07:18 PM
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Your goal is absolutely realistic! Very happy to hear that you're taking lessons. Five lessons isn't very many, so far, and it sounds like you're already doing quite a bit. Don't be in a hurry to canter; it's easy to try to progress too quickly in one's lessons. It's almost always better to be slow but thorough about the process.

When you can handle two rides a week without being extremely sore from them -- and more importantly, when your instructor says you're ready to ride unsupervised -- consider adding that third ride.

As far as learning about horse care: for me, it happened because my instructor occasionally needs someone to go out and blanket and feed and turn out/bring in when she goes away. Later, I wound up doing every morning shift at the co-op winter barn we have set up. Ask lots of questions about what they're being fed, how they're blanketed, etc., and why. You'll learn as you go but if your instructor knows you want to learn these things, I'm sure s/he'd be happy to chat about them. If there's one thing horse people LOVE to share, it's opinions!!

I'd also really recommend joining a Facebook group called Horse Vet Corner. You can't post or comment, but you can read recommendations and assessments from qualified vets on a HUGE variety of conditions. It's fascinating and you learn a TON!!!
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
Your goal is absolutely realistic! Very happy to hear that you're taking lessons. Five lessons isn't very many, so far, and it sounds like you're already doing quite a bit. Don't be in a hurry to canter; it's easy to try to progress too quickly in one's lessons. It's almost always better to be slow but thorough about the process.

When you can handle two rides a week without being extremely sore from them -- and more importantly, when your instructor says you're ready to ride unsupervised -- consider adding that third ride.

As far as learning about horse care: for me, it happened because my instructor occasionally needs someone to go out and blanket and feed and turn out/bring in when she goes away. Later, I wound up doing every morning shift at the co-op winter barn we have set up. Ask lots of questions about what they're being fed, how they're blanketed, etc., and why. You'll learn as you go but if your instructor knows you want to learn these things, I'm sure s/he'd be happy to chat about them. If there's one thing horse people LOVE to share, it's opinions!! <img style="max-width:100%;" src="https://www.horseforum.com/images/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Very Happy" class="inlineimg" />

I'd also really recommend joining a Facebook group called Horse Vet Corner. You can't post or comment, but you can read recommendations and assessments from qualified vets on a HUGE variety of conditions. It's fascinating and you learn a TON!!!

Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement! This is something I want so badly but at times I’m not sure if starting so late in life that it’s actually realistic. I will definitely start following the Horse Vet Corner. I ordered Joe Camps book The Soul of A Horse and another I can’t recall the title of. Do you feel Joe Camp is someone worth learning from?
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNgirl View Post
Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement! This is something I want so badly but at times Im not sure if starting so late in life that its actually realistic. I will definitely start following the Horse Vet Corner. I ordered Joe Camps book The Soul of A Horse and another I cant recall the title of. Do you feel Joe Camp is someone worth learning from?
I don't know Joel Camp. I do love Warwick Schiller's training approach, though. He has excellent free videos on YouTube, and I also subscribe to his website, where he has more detailed videos addressing certain problems/methods.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MNgirl View Post
Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement! This is something I want so badly but at times I’m not sure if starting so late in life that it’s actually realistic. I will definitely start following the Horse Vet Corner. I ordered Joe Camps book The Soul of A Horse and another I can’t recall the title of. Do you feel Joe Camp is someone worth learning from?

I don't know Joel Camp. I do love Warwick Schiller's training approach, though. He has excellent free videos on YouTube, and I also subscribe to his website, where he has more detailed videos addressing certain

problems/methods.

I think I’ve actually watched a few YouTube videos by Warwick Schiller &#x1f642; When you know so little it’s tough to know who’s worth following. Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it!!
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 08:23 PM
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First of all, huge congratulations for taking the first steps toward your goal! That's awesome! In additions to lessons I always recommend to people to be around horses as much as you can - and learn whoever you can learn from. Heck, watch other people's lessons, groom horses, muck stalls in exchange for more ride time, anything that can you get more involved in the horse world if your goal eventually is to lease/own your own. Volunteer at a rescue. Sky's the limit! You'll meet lots of people in the horse world who will give you advice.

And never be ashamed to work in exchange for knowledge. It can be humbling but so very rewarding.
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Always stay humble and kind
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 08:24 PM
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It is absolutely realistic! You can 100% do it, and the way you have it planned out is exactly right! There should be a whole club of us: middle-aged women who maybe rode a little when they were kids, who now want to ride and maybe own one day.

Just briefly about me, I started riding in Feb of 2018 and (rather unpractically) bought my two horses in April of that year. Then I spent the next nine or ten months frantically learning everything I could about horses, while getting to know the guys I had bought. In January of this year I took on a third horse, who was free and came with a sob story about how he was neglected and anxious, etc. etc. It was true -- he really was worried and anxious about everything, but I got to know him, worked with him, gained his trust, and now he's a great riding horse. I board my three (am looking to buy land hopefully and then move them out there in five-ish more years once I have more knowledge); they are usually kept in their own pasure and are a really amazing little mini-herd (I always get compliments on how nice they are and how well they get along). I did it the dumb way (buying horses before I knew anything about owning horses) but it has worked out OK. This forum is a GREAT place to get advice, also!

Anyway, the point being, you can absolutely do this! I think everything @SteadyOn said is exactly right. I would personally recommend picking up a book or two by Mark Rashid. He is less about specific instructions on training or riding horses and more about understanding them.

The only thing I might suggest is that if you do want horses on your own land, you should probably plan on having more than one horse, as most horses really prefer to be around other horses. Or at least some sort of companion animal. People will disagree with this, and yes it does depend on the particular horse's temperment, but I would not plan on having just one horse.

ETA: and I will add the one piece of advice that I got from multiple people, and I think it's the best piece of advice I got about understanding horses. Spend time just watching them. Hours at a time if you can. Watch them in the pasture, watch them in a corral, watch them in stalls, watch them wherever you can. In my case, I believe that all of the time I spent watching (it was a LOT of time!) sort of fast-forwarded me into a place where I am able to sort of understand horse body language and what horses are thinking, just from looking at them. This is a knowledge that I think people who have been around horses all or most of their lives take for granted, but for people like us who are starting late, it's just super important.
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 08:26 PM
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It took me half a year to go on my first guided walk-trot-canter trail ride (5 hours). It took probably another year until I took out horses regularly on my own. In the beginning, I took one lesson a week. I think you're on a solid track. Learning to care for horses on your own is probably the harder task of the two... Not that it's difficult when everything goes well, but it's the "what ifs" that'll probably nag on your nerves for quite some time.
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horseylover1_1 View Post
First of all, huge congratulations for taking the first steps toward your goal! That's awesome! In additions to lessons I always recommend to people to be around horses as much as you can - and learn whoever you can learn from. Heck, watch other people's lessons, groom horses, muck stalls in exchange for more ride time, anything that can you get more involved in the horse world if your goal eventually is to lease/own your own. Volunteer at a rescue. Sky's the limit! You'll meet lots of people in the horse world who will give you advice.

And never be ashamed to work in exchange for knowledge. It can be humbling but so very rewarding.
The thing I think I learned most from working at the race track was that I know nothing and there’s so much to learn. I was absolutely in waaaay over my head and only got that job due to a friend helping me. I have been volunteering one day a week where I’m taking lessons and have mostly been mucking stalls which has been fine since it’s the one thing I didn’t do much of at all. I’m a stay at home mom and blessed with a very supportive husband so I’m thankful to have the time to give and learn in the process. Watching someone else’s lesson sounds like a great idea! I’ll have to ask if they’d min &#x1f642; thank you!
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-30-2019, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNgirl View Post
The thing I think I learned most from working at the race track was that I know nothing and theres so much to learn. I was absolutely in waaaay over my head and only got that job due to a friend helping me. I have been volunteering one day a week where Im taking lessons and have mostly been mucking stalls which has been fine since its the one thing I didnt do much of at all. Im a stay at home mom and blessed with a very supportive husband so Im thankful to have the time to give and learn in the process. Watching someone elses lesson sounds like a great idea! Ill have to ask if theyd min &#x1f642; thank you!
You know, I never have minded mucking stalls. I get free exercise that way while all my other friends have to pay for a gym membership
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Always stay humble and kind
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