New to riding - keep falling! - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 35 Old 08-21-2014, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aes77 View Post
Most good lesson horses for beginners are on the lazy side. Like it takes skill and balance to even get them to agree to canter. I agree this horse shouldn't be a lesson horse and I also agree that working on your balance and core strength will help a lot.
And that's exactly how I would normally describe this horse. If you give her any chance to slow down or stop, she will. Getting her energized enough to move at a forward trot can be difficult, let alone getting her into a canter.

The more I read everyone's comments though, the more I think the horse is too young to be used as a lesson horse. Like I said, 99% of the time she is really lazy, but you have to watch out for that 1% where she decides she wants to have fun and gets frisky. Not to mention even when being lazy she likes to try and take control of the situation. I suppose in some ways having a headstrong horse has helped me to quickly learn how to take control, but I think it is too risky for me as a beginner when in that 1% of the time that she is both headstrong and energized.

I also think as someone else said, I probably didn't read the signs properly. By the time I realized she had built the up the energy and was transitioning to a gallop it was too late. I reacted instinctively and pulled back on the reigns. Since she had no desire to listen she chose to buck me off instead of stopping.

As for balance and heels down, those are two things that I work on regularly. Don't worry! :) We have done bareback before, and I actually find I feel more comfortable in terms of keeping my heels down without stirrups. Perhaps because without the stirrups I can feel just how keeping my heels down keeps me anchored to the horse? Not sure.

Thanks everyone for your advice. Feel free to keep it coming if you have anymore. I am enjoying learning from you all!
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post #22 of 35 Old 08-21-2014, 04:52 PM
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SlideStop has the right idea - I completely back the lunge without stirrups method. It teaches you that you don't actually need them (or reigns for that matter) and gets your position right. The more you work on your seating, the less likely you are to fall off. Although I'm sure you're instructors horse is sweet, as a 6yo he/she is still inexperienced and as you're also a beginner this might not be the best combination.

Just remember that you haven't been riding for very long and we all get thrown off, it's part of being horsey, so don't be too disheartened. Also try to be confident, because horses can pick up on our fear. Maybe you were a bit nervous riding for the first time after your nasty fall and the horse picked up on it? Anyway good luck and I hope the riding goes well :)
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post #23 of 35 Old 08-21-2014, 04:56 PM
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"I actually find I feel more comfortable in terms of keeping my heels down without stirrups. Perhaps because without the stirrups I can feel just how keeping my heels down keeps me anchored to the horse?"

P.s I love what you said there! Sounds like you're getting the hang of this riding thing :)
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post #24 of 35 Old 08-21-2014, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherby84 View Post

As for balance and heels down, those are two things that I work on regularly. Don't worry! :) We have done bareback before, and I actually find I feel more comfortable in terms of keeping my heels down without stirrups. Perhaps because without the stirrups I can feel just how keeping my heels down keeps me anchored to the horse? Not sure.

Thanks everyone for your advice. Feel free to keep it coming if you have anymore. I am enjoying learning from you all!
The reason a rider should keep his heels down is so his feet don't slip through the stirrups. This is, of course, unnecessary if one is riding without stirrups.

If you relax and let gravity do its job, your heels will naturally be lower than your toes when riding with stirrups. The stirrups will stop the descent of the balls of your feet which should be resting on them. Your heels, however, should be free to drop lower if you are not squeezing the horse's sides with your legs.

When riding without stirrups, gravity will naturally pull your toes lower than your heels unless you tense the muscles in front of your lower legs causing your toes to remain higher.

Any time you tense your muscles other than for the purpose of giving cues, you inhibit the movement of your body. Also, your horse will feel this tension in your body and respond by tensing the muscles in its body. Such unnecessary tension presents obstacles to good riding.
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post #25 of 35 Old 08-22-2014, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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So after thinking about it all week since my fall, I've decided to look for a new instructor. Not that I think my instructor isn't a good person or decent instructor (her own children have gone on to be champion riders), I just don't necessarily think her instruction style works for me. I want to have fun learning to ride and be able to make this a lifetime sport. The way it's going, I am more frustrated and tired than happy. Having a sore back all week hasn't helped either!

New set of questions I guess, what do you recommend that I look for in a trainer? Especially what sorts of questions you would ask, and what you would look for when visiting new stables?

There are two others in town that are run by more well known trainers who have quite a few accolades under the belts, but I know that alone doesn't mean they'll be better trainers. I do know it means they'll be more expensive, so I want to make sure I'm making a more informed choice this time around since it will cost me more.

Btw, my goal isn't to necessarily compete. I want to get to a point where I am capable and comfortable taking a horse out to ride on my own. Should I even care if the instructor specializes in dressage or jumping? If so, which would you recommend for someone hoping to one day be able to own her own horse, and take it out for trail rides in the country?

Thanks!
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post #26 of 35 Old 08-22-2014, 10:03 AM
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When looking for an instructor, I would recommend observing the individual teach. Watching more than one lesson would also provide an indication of how the instructor adjusts his or her methods to an individual rider. Talking to some of the instructor's students may also prove helpful. Remember, however, than you don't need to worry about choosing the ideal instructor since you can learn something from any and you can always change.

You would look for a specialized instructor if you are wanting to specialize in a specific endeavor. However, just because an instructor specializes in one activity does not mean that is necessarily all they can teach. Talk with the instructor, share your desires, and evaluate the response.

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post #27 of 35 Old 08-23-2014, 08:20 AM
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I'd be wondering if instructor knew what she was doing I think.

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post #28 of 35 Old 08-23-2014, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherby84 View Post
So after thinking about it all week since my fall, I've decided to look for a new instructor. Not that I think my instructor isn't a good person or decent instructor (her own children have gone on to be champion riders), I just don't necessarily think her instruction style works for me. I want to have fun learning to ride and be able to make this a lifetime sport. The way it's going, I am more frustrated and tired than happy. Having a sore back all week hasn't helped either!

New set of questions I guess, what do you recommend that I look for in a trainer? Especially what sorts of questions you would ask, and what you would look for when visiting new stables?

There are two others in town that are run by more well known trainers who have quite a few accolades under the belts, but I know that alone doesn't mean they'll be better trainers. I do know it means they'll be more expensive, so I want to make sure I'm making a more informed choice this time around since it will cost me more.

Btw, my goal isn't to necessarily compete. I want to get to a point where I am capable and comfortable taking a horse out to ride on my own. Should I even care if the instructor specializes in dressage or jumping? If so, which would you recommend for someone hoping to one day be able to own her own horse, and take it out for trail rides in the country?

Thanks!
I just wanted to say, the good ones will teach a well rounded amount of things. My favorite riding instructor taught us everything! We did hunter/jumper, some dressage, we did trail rides, and lots of riding without stirrups. She taught us parts of the horse, parts of the tack, etc.
good luck in your search!
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post #29 of 35 Old 08-23-2014, 09:08 AM
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MANY years ago when I was young (notice it was a long time ago? LOL) I had an instructor like 4hoofbeat describes. Not so long ago after totally losing my confidence as the result of a disastrous crash (You really don't want to hear about it.) I found another instructor. She was perfect for me because she excelled at teaching children. She instilled confidence in her students, she was patient. She understood that I was a total mess.

Talk with instructors and trainers. Be honest about where you are, your fears and your goals. Instructors are people: they have areas where they excel and areas where they are weak. You may find the communication skills, empathy and patience you need in a dressage trainer...or someone who trains barrel racers. You won't know until you talk with them. Don't assume because of their discipline that they won't work out. Everyone starts someplace (whether they remember it or not) including instructors.
You want someone who remembers what starting out was like.
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post #30 of 35 Old 08-23-2014, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherby84 View Post
...Btw, my goal isn't to necessarily compete. I want to get to a point where I am capable and comfortable taking a horse out to ride on my own. Should I even care if the instructor specializes in dressage or jumping? If so, which would you recommend for someone hoping to one day be able to own her own horse, and take it out for trail rides in the country?

Thanks!
I would not consider either to be a qualification or disqualification. Lots of folks who teach jumping or dressage will also teach general purpose riding. However, some also prefer to focus on one or the other and may not want to teach toward a goal of trail riding. It depends on their business model.

The lady who taught my daughter came from a barrel racing background, although she does not specialize in teaching barrel racing. She's about 80% horse trainer and teaches riding on the side.

But she did something I really liked: when meeting to discuss taking lessons, she asked my daughter in detail about her goals. She asked questions like, "If you could describe heaven being on a horse, what would you and the horse be doing?" As they talked, she realized my daughter's goals were to be able to go riding safely on Trooper - the only horse my daughter has any interest in riding. She didn't want to compete in anything, she just wanted to be able to ride him safely in the local area and have a happy horse.

The lady took that info and taught her toward THAT goal. Lessons focused on things like keeping your balance when something strange happens, or how to read your horse so you know when he is happy and when he is uncomfortable. The lessons included how to calm a horse down, and how to behave so he would enjoy being ridden by you. She discussed how to get a horse 'softer' - to be more sensitive to his rider. From time to time, she'd check to see if my daughter's goals had changed. They didn't.

After about 6 months, she told her she was probably safe to ride Trooper in the local area. If she wanted to go beyond that, give her a call. Otherwise, enjoy her horse!

My daughter enjoys Trooper. He adores her. She will sometimes ride another horse, but she considers riding any other horse work instead of fun.

If you talk to an instructor, and the instructor doesn't seem interested in YOUR goals, then find someone else. They should be there to help you, not the other way around...
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