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So I had my very first riding lesson yesterday on an Arabian mare (I know!) and it was awesome. I walked away with the hugest smile on my face :D I have another lesson next weekend and was hoping you guys could answer a few questions of mine before then. My instructor is very sweet and knowledgeable but she didn't really guide me a whole lot.

-I had a hard time holding onto the stirrups. The horse was a little hyper and when she would pick up speed, all of a sudden, my feet would slip out. I was trying really hard to keep my heels down and put pressure on my soles but I just kept losing them. Do you think they were too long for me (I'm pretty short) or was I just doing something wrong?

-When she was speeding up, I would end up bouncing all over the place. I was afraid to fall so I would pull on the reins and say "whoa" everytime but I'd like to actually ride her that fast next time. How do I calm down enough when she's going fast to actually think about what I'm supposed to be doing and do it instead of just panicking and stopping her LOL?! My bum is so sore from all the random bouncing and I don't mean sore muscles, I mean there's a swollen lump on the inside of each thigh :?

-I could not for the life of me get the horse to turn right. Everytime I tried she would just shake/bow her head and start to get agitated. I tried pulling the rein straight back, out, using my leg aids etc. I wasn't frustrated or anything and would have kept trying but I was a little afraid to **** her off so we just went left a lot :oops:

-I want to try jogging her next time but I worry that she will end up running and I'll have to stop her real quick and end up falling off. She sort of just does her own thing and it seemed like she had a ton of pent up energy. She's a little too much horse for me right now. Riding her is such a thrill but I think maybe I should be learning on a different horse. What do you guys think?

Thanks so much and sorry if my questions are really lame.
 

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- If your trainer sized the stirrups for you then I think your problem is you weren't relaxing. Next time you ride just take a deep breathe, relax and try to absorb the movements.

- Again, you just needed to relax and absorb all of the movement. Don't think you have to be perfect your first lesson either!

- The horse probably tried to take advantage of your newness. Next time just be a little more forceful and clear on what you want the horse to do.

- Don't rush it! Get use to the walking and trotting before you try anything else. It will make you a better rider and horseman.

Congrats on liking your first lesson!
 

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If you take your feet out of the stirrup, the stirrup should hit about your ankle bone. It takes practice to sink your weight through your heel. It's not just about shoving your heel down but balancing over your leg. There should be a straight imaginary line from your heel, to your hip, to your shoulder, to your ear. This way you are the most balanced over your lower leg.
Your first lesson should be all walking and learning to steer. My students steer around cones, etc. You should be using your seat/leg and not just your hands to steer which I imagine your instructor will teach you. My beginner riders are on a lunge line while they develop their seat and balance (and confidence) so maybe you could talk to her about that. If you do some lunge lessons where you just focus on staying balanced over your horse, you will bump around a lot less!
Don't worry about jogging before you get your walk perfected. No horse is going to be perfect, but if the horse is too much for you, talk to your instructor and they can help you find a more suitable mount. A good lesson horse knows their job though and they will take care of you.

Welcome to the horse world!
 

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I would take Doves advice, she knows what she's talking about.

Well, this was your first lesson, so there is always room for improvement.
Did you post when you went to trot?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would take Doves advice, she knows what she's talking about.

Well, this was your first lesson, so there is always room for improvement.
Did you post when you went to trot?
Okay, I'll keep that in mind :wink:

I never "went to trot", at least not on purpose LOL. She would just take off from a stop without me asking. Like I said, I don't think she is a very good beginners' horse. I've pretty much decided to go with a different trainer/horse, at least until I have a little more experience. Thanks for all the advice guys! I really appreciate it.
 

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To me, it sounds like you need to work on your balance. Ride without stirrups. Pick up your stirrups while you are walking. Get comfortable up there. You will know if you have holes/things to work on if you get muddled when you go onto the next phase (IE trotting/jogging) sounds like you need a bit more balance.

Your trainer should be teaching you how to do all this so I hope the new one is an improvement. I would really recommend lunge lessons that way you don't get tense and worry about controlling the horse. Many times beginner riders think their horse is "running" when really their just trotting. You need a horse and instructor you can trust. There's no real solution (other than being in the proper position I mentioned) better than practice and muscle memory/work.
 

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I was just thinking that I'd like to ride the same horse again. Maybe I'll try a lesson with another horse but I'm definitely going to ride the same one this weekend. It would be really awesome to learn to ride on her. I would feel much more confident on new horses. I will probably have more questions soon!
 

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the bouncy in the saddle thing-you have to put all your weight in your seat so you can stay balanced and that also gives a signal to your horse to slow down. my trainer always tells me to put all my weight in my seat when I do a sitting trot cause if you're bouncing around, your horse is gonna wanna go faster. I like to picture all my weight dropping onto my seat wehn I'm riding, that helps me sit deeper and steadier.
 

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It was your first lesson, on what sounds like not a great beginner horse. So, Id say ask your trainer for a better suited horse.
Also a sign of loosing stirrups other than not having heels down and in proper position is the position of your shoulders. If you are leaning either forward, or off to either side (even just slightly) that will cause your legs and you to be off balance just enough loose the stirrup(s) at the trot.

Again, I think in this case talking w your coach and getting a better suited mount will help you to get your position down so this isnt an issue at the faster gaits, cant learn on a horse that is just "taking off" without being asked for a faster gait.
 

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When she was speeding up, I would end up bouncing all over the place. I was afraid to fall so I would pull on the reins and say "whoa" everytime but I'd like to actually ride her that fast next time. How do I calm down enough when she's going fast to actually think about what I'm supposed to be doing and do it instead of just panicking and stopping her LOL?! My bum is so sore from all the random bouncing and I don't mean sore muscles, I mean there's a swollen lump on the inside of each thigh :?
Take a deep breath and don't think too much! When you think too much, your lower body gets tense and stiff, and that will make you bouncy and sore every time. Don't be in a rush to go fast or get fancy. Spend the time to get the experience and confidence that you can control your horse. Once you trust yourself and your horse, your body will relax and will naturally follow the horse's movements.

I could not for the life of me get the horse to turn right. Everytime I tried she would just shake/bow her head and start to get agitated. I tried pulling the rein straight back, out, using my leg aids etc. I wasn't frustrated or anything and would have kept trying but I was a little afraid to **** her off so we just went left a lot :oops:
Have your instructor watch you. A good lesson horse knows it's job and head tossing often means you're unknowingly sending mixed signals with your hands/legs/seat.

I want to try jogging her next time but I worry that she will end up running and I'll have to stop her real quick and end up falling off. She sort of just does her own thing and it seemed like she had a ton of pent up energy. She's a little too much horse for me right now. Riding her is such a thrill but I think maybe I should be learning on a different horse.
Certainly try another or several different horses if you feel uncomfortable, but I wouldn't switch after only one lesson. Keep in mind that horses aren't machines...they do have 'off' days, get sore, can be very fresh, etc. Every ride is different.

Be patient, don't worry, have fun.
 

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I think the horse was very in tune with your tenseness and was taking whatever unknown cues you were giving her coming from you being tense and inexperienced. Just relax, think of ways to keep your muscles loose and supple and maybe do that by practicing breathing exercises in the saddle and stretching your muscles, like muscle rotations etc.

I agree though, it sounds like the Arabian you rode was a bit too much for you first several rides. You need a less responsive horse, at least till you have got the very basics down. You don't want any incidents that might sour you to riding by riding on a horse that is too much for you at this point.

~AL615
 

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This is going to sound a little harsh perhaps but the horse you were on was the absolute worse horse for a very first lesson. A first ride needs to be 100% confidence building, not the experience you had - not that you were scared but that you had too many things to be thinking about.

That being said, I question the judgment of the instructor. If I don't have the right horse for a 1st time rider, then I don't let them ride. I'll have them doing other things but getting on the wrong horse is not going to happen.

Knowing nothing else but what I read in the first post, you may want to consider a better instructor for the time being. He/she may be a wonderful rider and trainer but putting a 1st timer on a horse like that shows either questionable judgment or someone who just wants to earn a lesson fee.

My 2¢
 

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Congrats on your first lesson. Sounds like you hung in there pretty well even though your lesson horse tested you. I absolutely agree with the previous post - you will learn more and gain a lot more confidence once you master the basics. After all, you have to learn your numbers before you learn how to add and subtract. In order to concentrate on the basics, you need a good, seasoned lesson horse. Once you get the basics down and gain a good seat, balance, good hands and posture, there's no limit to what you can do. Be patient, soak in everything, and have fun !!!
 
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