Ways to improve riding and horsemanship without a trainer or lessons? :/ - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-23-2014, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Ways to improve riding and horsemanship without a trainer or lessons? :/

So, at the moment I'm not able to get lessons (there aren't many stables where I live) or get a trainer (there literally are no reputable ones that I know of yet), and I'm wondering the different ways/exercises I can do to help improve my riding and horsemanship, while I'm still searching for hands-on opportunities.

I know the basics of horsemanship and riding, (that is, I care for and work with my mare everyday, and I trail ride consistently) but I'm beyond far from being an experienced rider, or even an intermediate rider.

I guess another thing I'm asking, is what do y'all do to improve your skills when your not taking lessons or with a trainer? Is just observing and spending time with your horse considered learning?

Thanks! :)
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-23-2014, 09:11 PM
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There is an awesome website called virtual eventing coach. (it's not just for eventing despite the name) unfortunately you do have to pay for it. There is also an amazing book/DVD called 40 fundamentals of English riding. I've been trainer less before and I came pretty far just using these resources and having a video camera set up in the corner of the ring everytime I ride.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-23-2014, 11:27 PM
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Hi Equestrian,

Your questions are a little too broad for me. Perhaps you could tell what particular areas of riding & horsemanship you want help with? If it's really as general as 'I need to learn how to ride/train/manage' then I suggest you start at the library & read all you can on general horsemanship, horse behaviour, etc. For the basics of communicating effectively with horses, I reckon Parelli's original book is a great one for beginners, and for riding, I reckon Sally Swift's 'Centred Riding' is really helpful she'd great at explaining the whys & wherefores that many of us experienced riders are more likely to say 'I dunno exactly, it's just a feel'
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-24-2014, 12:12 AM
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i get a lot from watching videos of different trainers working their horses. one will lead to another, to another, and so on.

yoga is good for balance and strength.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-24-2014, 12:20 AM
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Trainer videos and their books with step by step photos and instruction really help me. My brain soaks up everything and I'm able to apply it successfully. Especially pairing the two together make for extra comprehension.

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post #6 of 11 Old 10-24-2014, 12:23 AM
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I would read and watch whatever you can about whatever discipline or type of riding you are interested in, then practicing. Videoing yourself will also help you catch problem areas that you may not notice otherwise.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-24-2014, 12:31 AM
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I say watch videos and tutorials on YouTube, watch everything about the rider and horse. Watch the way her feet look in the stirrups, the hands on the reins, how her body is positioned, her cues, how the horse is responding to her cues, then practice them with your horse. Also, it's all about riding time imo so since you're riding everyday it's better for your riding than a 45 minute weekly lesson with an instructor, just my opinion, even though I like both I think it's about riding time and you're getting a lot of riding in.
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Originally Posted by EquestrianDream View Post
So, at the moment I'm not able to get lessons (there aren't many stables where I live) or get a trainer (there literally are no reputable ones that I know of yet), and I'm wondering the different ways/exercises I can do to help improve my riding and horsemanship, while I'm still searching for hands-on opportunities.

I know the basics of horsemanship and riding, (that is, I care for and work with my mare everyday, and I trail ride consistently) but I'm beyond far from being an experienced rider, or even an intermediate rider.

I guess another thing I'm asking, is what do y'all do to improve your skills when your not taking lessons or with a trainer? Is just observing and spending time with your horse considered learning?

Thanks! :)
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-24-2014, 12:37 AM
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I'm going to second the recommendation for Centered Riding by Sally Swift. The way things are explained translates really well to actually riding. I used a lot of the advice from that book to practice between lessons and my instructor was impressed with the improvement. The only problem you might face with that is not having an instructor to point out if you're going in the wrong direction with something you read. This forum can be helpful for that if you're really stuck, though.

Ride stirrupless. Do it over and over and over. Learn how to sit the gaits stirrupless, and even post the trot. It's absolutely incredible for balance. My trainer always used to ask after a stirrupless lesson, "Does it hurt?" and when I said yes and fell into the nearest chair, she would reply, "Good. That means you're learning."

There's a lot of great videos on youtube too. Oh, and sitting and watching a herd of horses for a couple hours if you have the time and patience can be enlightening. Watch how horses discipline other horses, and how they communicate, all the way down to eye contact and the tiniest bits of body language. Not only is it fascinating, it's useful information to apply to how you act around horses.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-24-2014, 01:19 PM
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Read lots of books and make good use of youtube. You can learn just about anything you'd like to know off of youtube.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-24-2014, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much, y'all! :) I love reading/researching up things on horses, so I'll try to do more of that.

My main issue at the moment is progressing my riding (developing more of an independent seat, and transitioning from a walk, trot, canter, etc) plus I'd like having more of a relationship/connection with my mare. I'm able to ride her every day, if not every other day, and that helps me tons.

I suppose that what I really lack is just experience in general, so I probably should just keep doing what I'm doing, and continue research more, until I can find a good trainer to help me out. But y'all's suggestions are really helpful. I think I have the 40 fundamentals of English riding, I need to go find it and read it, it'll probably help me out a lot.
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