New to riding - keep falling! - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 35 Old 08-25-2014, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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So I've been looking around at the options available for a new instructor. I contacted one who is well known in the region, and he called me back immediately. Went out to see his place and observed a lesson on Friday. His whole method is pretty much the antithesis of what I have been learning. He is focused on the communication between rider and horse, and how our breath, posture, balance, etc. affect the horse's movement and our communication. One of the first things he told me was that I could tell a horse to start and stop with my breath and weight alone.

He had me get up on one of his horses for about 10 minutes. He showed me how to breathe in and move my pelvis forward to instruct the horse to move, and how to breathe out and shift my weight on my pelvis slightly backward to stop the horse. We also practiced turning through the movement and slight turning of my body, instead of using an open reign. Needless to say, I was in awe. To top it all off, I felt like the horse was listening to me to see what I would ask for next, instead of wishing she was off sleeping or eating instead.

I then watched as he took two green riders (one had never ridden before) and within minutes they were able to start, stop, and wind their horses through a set of cones (at a gentle walk, of course) without problem. I also watched as he took the reigns of the more experienced rider's horse (she told me she'd ridden twice as a child) and asked her to start, stop and turn the horse with only her body, no use of the reigns. He held the reigns only for safety. She then proceeded to take her horse through the cones using only her body and shifting of weight to ask it to start, stop, turn, etc.

Has anyone else ever seen this type of riding before? The instructor swears his horses are not specially trained to respond to it, but that his methods can be used on any horse.

I felt really safe and at ease with him, his horses, and his method, so I'm contemplating trying a few lessons even though they're almost twice what I was paying before.
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post #32 of 35 Old 08-25-2014, 03:45 PM
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Somewhat different methods than I use, but I'm impressed with the approach you describe. I think it would definitely be worth taking some lessons with this man.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
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post #33 of 35 Old 08-25-2014, 04:50 PM
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Shelby, I'm not an experienced rider by *any* means (new adult rider, maybe 6 months in!) but I can say this with confidence -- because I went through the wringer and back finding good instruction:

The foundations are the same, regardless of discipline. At a beginner level, the goal is simply a good seat, basic horse knowledge, healthy experience, and the resulting educated confidence that comes from it, so that you CAN begin to learn more advanced methods.

If after lessons you feel more afraid than confident, more angry/depressed/frustrated than "I'm having fun!", or if you're getting hurt in ways that really shouldn't be happening at lower levels (repeatedly falling off as a rank beginner, outside of freak accidents beyond human control, really should NOT happen) -- then the lessons aren't working. It doesn't matter why, or whose "fault" it is -- horse, rider, instructor -- the point is that instructor/horse/rider combo doesn't work, and you need to change up at least one of the components.

By the same token, if you feel happy about your lessons, if they feel like progress, if you find yourself daydreaming at work about your next one, and you feel SAFE and FUN and that awesome sense of accomplishment that comes from learning -- then they're right for you, regardless of the style!

It sounds like you might have found that with this latest place so follow your instincts -- don't fret over the method and just listen to your feelings. Safe, happy, fun + learning + horses/stable all look healthy, happy, and clean == New Lesson Barn. :)
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emcdevitt is offline  
post #34 of 35 Old 08-25-2014, 11:58 PM
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My last instructor used a very modified version of this. I think it's pretty basic to riding....letting your body move with the horse and using your body to communicate with the horse. He sounds like an excellent instructor. I'll bet those beginning riders finished their lesson with a great feeling of confidence and achievement! The lessons may cost twice as much but you'll probably learn twice as much without any extra medical bills. Keep us up to date with how you're doing? I bet you are going to love this!

I'm not a complete idiot--there are parts missing!

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.
HagonNag is offline  
post #35 of 35 Old 08-27-2014, 08:58 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: NYS
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I believe it is a culmination of being a new rider, inappropriate horse for your level, and instructor. You may have to go through several instructors till you find one that best suits you. Like everyone said though, the foundations are the same. Number one thing I learned was to hold on with my thighs so that I don't fall off if a horse makes a quick, unexpected movement. I have thighs of steel now and jump full courses bareback. The thigh contact helps me get my upper body back into position a heck of a lot quicker if I am pulled forward. In summary: upper leg to stay on and keep you balanced/recover balance, and lower leg for speed. Pulley rein is also a life saver.
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