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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I have read on here for a while but never posted. I am an adult (nearing 40) returning to riding.

I had a pony for a few years as a child that I shared with my sister. A freebie that we got from some family friends who were too scared to ride him. My family were relatively poor so we never had riding lessons or anything. He was a stubborn little thing and loved to buck and bolt, but I was never afraid of riding him and had super fun riding and jumping with my best friend (who had a much more well trained horse and riding lessons). Then as a tween/early teen I became afraid of horses after a few bolts on a different horse my sister got and I gave up riding.

After that, I never even really thought about riding until my daughter became interested in riding and went to a few pony camps, and it reminded me of how much I missed it. So I started lessons again. Being a bit time and cash poor, I can only do one private lesson a week at the moment, but hopefully one day in the future I will be able to ride more regularly. I have been having lessons now for about 2.5 years and am a very slow learner. I think not helped by the fact that I am very visual spatial and don't learn things in a linear sequential manner. So all the steps of do this aid, this aid, and this aid to produce a certain effect are hard for me to understand and implement sometimes. But I am getting there...albeit very slowly as if I have a break, even a short one, I seem to forget things so quickly and I don't think I ride often enough to really get things in the muscle memory. In the past 6 months, I started learning to canter and go over small jumps again (first time since a child). My rising trot still needs a lot of work.

Anyway, I am having fun and find it a good brain break from my work, kids, and life's other worries and obligations—hence the name. I find it rather meditative even if the stressful parts because I literally cannot think of anything but riding, which is great as I have found as I have gotten older that being an anxious, perfectionist worrier and planner has meant that many activities I used to find solace in have been taken over by constant brain chatter.
 

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Welcome to HF!

Due to financial constraints and raising a family, I also had to stop riding for several years. Like you, I also find that riding is a complete break from everyday family/work stress because in the saddle I am so concentrated on every little movement that I couldn't possibly think of anything else!

At our age, what we lack in quickness to learn and the daringness of our younger years, we more than make up in patience and comprehension. We can now better comprehend the physics of riding and better pick up on the nuances of what is going on with our horse, what he is expressing, how to better apply the aids with different degrees, etc. Riding as an older adult is not any worse than riding when we were younger; it's just a bit different.

Enjoy!
 

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WELCOME to the Forum!!


I will say that horses are truly addictive...
That addiction may lay dormant for some time but once you awakened it, it is going to reappear at some time.


I took lessons only one a week for much of my riding life because that is what my parents and now I could afford.
You learn, maybe not quite as quick as someone who takes multiple lessons and has access to a horse to practice, but you indeed learn and build a solid foundation of knowledge.


Might I suggest you speak with your instructor and let her know you learn and understand concepts better if they are also visually done along with her telling you...
That works well for many people, me included in certain things.
Show me, got it...
Tell me...what did you say.
Totally understand!


Again, welcome and enjoy, truly enjoy the world of equines and the fun it becomes.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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There are lots of returning riders here! I rode once a week for maybe half a year when I was a kid, then spent the last thirty (?) years wishing I could get back into it. In February 2018 I did. By April 2018 I owned two horses (not the wisest decision, but it's worked out). I was given a third horse at the end of 2018. I've been riding a lot over the last year, but my progress has still been somewhat slow. I decided, when I started to seriously pursue riding, that my only goal was to keep getting better. I like that a lot better than setting specific targets that I would have to meet. At our age, I think things just do go a little slower, and it's better to accept that than to set goals that might not be achievable. I think you're doing well. I like horselovinguy's suggestion of talking to your instructor, though.
 

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The rancher that lives on the property north of mine is 79 years old and he rides nearly every day. My great grand father broke horses for a living until he was 92 years old, not kidding. He broke his last horse at 92 and died a year later at 93. I had a friend who lived over in Arlee, her name was Pearl she rode well into her mid-90s before she passed away two years ago. She even competed in team penning events in her early 90s. You should have many many years of riding enjoyment left before you. It's great to hear you started back up, no matter what the age.
 

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Most of the oldsters that ride deep into old age are folks that have been doing it all along. Folks that start riding late in life haven't built up those years and years in the saddle that sort of carry you forward, like your body is now just shaped to go around a horse
 

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Welcome to the forum :)

Though I am younger, I am starting to learn about riding only now as an adult (had been on a trail-ride camp horse maybe twice in my youth). I've also only been able to take lessons once a week for a little while now so you're not alone there! Slow progress is still progress and as long as it's fun for you and brings you joy, that's all that matters!
 

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I also got into riding as an adult. My folks couldn't even afford lessons when we were kids but we did have horsey friends to ride with now and then and dad took us on a few guided trail rides. Once my sister's and I finally could afford our own horses there was no looking back. Some thirty years later I still have not had any official lessons but lots of friends coaching me along the way. There was a time where I got scared after reading about some nasty horse wrecks other people had and I only rode a couple times a year after that. Finally I remembered I had a good horse and needed to use him before he got too old to ride at all! So my confidence improved until about 4 years ago when one of my sister's horses bucked me off at the start of a trail ride. I switched horses with her and finished the ride--dirty, bloody and with a terrible headache. Again I had to remind myself that my horse has never done anything like that so I'm ok riding him but find myself not wanting to ride any other horse. My guy is 26 this month and in good health but I know he won't live forever. So last summer I bought myself another horse who is currently at the trainer's for a tune up prior to riding season. I have ridden him on the trail as have many others now and he's been very good. But it will take a few more rides I think before I can feel the same confidence returning.

So anyway, you're certainly not alone. Riding is an ongoing process I think and we learn as we go.
 

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Welcome to the forum. :wave: I'm sure it feels great to be back in the saddle. I'm 27, but I started riding when I was about 13-14. It wasn't until we passed by a riding facility when we moved to our new house that I thought 'I wanna take up riding!'...fell in love with it ever since. Truly my passion.

There is always more to learn in this sport. :) No timeline to follow, do as you please & have FUN!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your warm welcomes. So encouraging to hear of all the other adult riders out there just riding for the joy of it, which is what I have liked lurking and reading posts on this forum for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
WELCOME to the Forum!!



Might I suggest you speak with your instructor and let her know you learn and understand concepts better if they are also visually done along with her telling you...
That works well for many people, me included in certain things.
Show me, got it...
Tell me...what did you say.
Totally understand!
Thank you for this good reminder. My instructor does know I am visual spatial and really tries to find lots of different ways to get things through to me. But I think that this is a good reminder for me to remember to stop and say "hey I am not getting this" rather than trying to keep on keeping on and confusing myself and my very patient lesson horse. Its all a bit compounded at the canter with everything going faster, but I should really halt to have a reset and try approach it in a different way as sometimes we end up having to do some reschooling of the horse before we get back to schooling of me because I have created or allowed a bad habit in him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've been riding a lot over the last year, but my progress has still been somewhat slow. I decided, when I started to seriously pursue riding, that my only goal was to keep getting better. I like that a lot better than setting specific targets that I would have to meet. At our age, I think things just do go a little slower, and it's better to accept that than to set goals that might not be achievable. I think you're doing well.
I like your outlook on goals, and thank you for the encouragement. I think have much the same outlook, as long as I am getting better and having fun, then it is all good. I went through a few other lesson places before I found my current amazing gem of an instructor, and stopped at the others because I was either not having fun (not beginner friendly horses) or not getting better (instructors that were not really into teaching, like on their phone constantly in the middle of arena while I rode or were not looking out for me safety wise). My current instructor is fabulous and always makes sure I am strong enough physically and have my skills sorted before I move on to a new thing, so that I can do it as safely as I can. By contrast, at a place I rode earlier on in my re-riding journey, I was asked to canter on my own on my 2nd ever lesson, which resulted in an unscheduled dismount.

Anyway back to goals, apart from having fun and improving, the only loose ones I have are: 1) to get good enough that if my current instructor becomes unavailable in the future, I can survive that and still keep riding somewhere; 2) become confident enough cantering that I could do it outside of the arena as I would quite like to pay to go on a multi-day backcountry horse trek/trail ride; and 3) one day become suitably proficient that someone would let me lease and ride their horse, the thought of which currently mortifies me as I am sure I would rapidly untrain someones horse with my blissful ignorance and poorly timed aids.

For now, I just try to work hard in between lessons on my fitness and strength, which seems to be so blooming hard to maintain as every year passes, and my instructor seems to be pleased with my progress for a once a week rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Most of the oldsters that ride deep into old age are folks that have been doing it all along. Folks that start riding late in life haven't built up those years and years in the saddle that sort of carry you forward, like your body is now just shaped to go around a horse
Haha, yes I am not shaped to go around a horse! In fact probably the opposite as I have spent many years at desks (science editor) and laboratory benches (did a chemistry PhD) getting all hunched over and constricted in all the places that make riding more difficult.

I do a lot of exercise on the side with weights, yoga, pilates, walking etc, but still seem to have a lot of constrictions in the hip area that make riding tough. After my first jumping lesson recently I felt amazing afterwards. All open and relaxed in the hips. So I think the being forced to reach and get into that position really stretched me out and released a lot of tension that I carry in my muscles in that area.

I recently read about somatics and specifically clinical somatics, and am probably going to add that to my exercise routine as I think muscle memory wise, my tight hips have always been an issue—even when I was in Thailand for a few months for my research and went to a yoga class every single morning. They are making riding more difficult than it perhaps could be, and as I get older, contributing to a lot of functional pain with a sore back and hips that wake me up in the early hours of the morning after I have not been moving for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The rancher that lives on the property north of mine is 79 years old and he rides nearly every day. My great grand father broke horses for a living until he was 92 years old, not kidding. He broke his last horse at 92 and died a year later at 93. I had a friend who lived over in Arlee, her name was Pearl she rode well into her mid-90s before she passed away two years ago. She even competed in team penning events in her early 90s. You should have many many years of riding enjoyment left before you. It's great to hear you started back up, no matter what the age.
Thank you, that is a kind and positive outlook. I hope I have many years ahead too. Slightly concerned about the limiting effects of family history when it comes to osteoarthritis in the late 60s age bracket, but am doing my best to avoid that and be proactive in maintaining strength and flexibility in the muscles around my joints.

Such lovely stories of the people you know who have ridden their whole lives. And I love the name Pearl as one of my children has Pearl in her name, so that story made me smile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I rode some as a child,had one year if regular riding at age 17, then didn't ride again til age 41. I'm now 61 and ride regularly. The capacity to learn slows down as we age, but doesn't disappear. Hang in there. I'm sure you're doing just fine.
Thank you for your kind words. Hopefully one day I will ride more regularly. At the moment, my life has both amazing flexibility (self-employed) and restrictions (homeschool one of my kids, and a lack of steady $$ because of said self-employment). For now, I try to make up for the lack of regular riding time by making sure I do fun trail rides when ever I can and ride a variety of horses. I have been on four in the past year at various places when we have been away on vacation. I added a photo of one little cutie I rode, an Icelandic horse (not in Iceland), to my avatar (its a bit blurry, but I will sort that out later). Others I have ridden on trails/treks have been a clydesdale cross and an appaloosa. My lessons are English and all in an arena. So it is fun to get outside of the arena and try out some different horses and other styles of riding. The treks I have been on have mostly been in Western or stock saddles; the stock saddle was a terrible fit for me and I got a sore on the inside of my leg from rubbing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Welcome to HF!

Due to financial constraints and raising a family, I also had to stop riding for several years. Like you, I also find that riding is a complete break from everyday family/work stress because in the saddle I am so concentrated on every little movement that I couldn't possibly think of anything else!

At our age, what we lack in quickness to learn and the daringness of our younger years, we more than make up in patience and comprehension. We can now better comprehend the physics of riding and better pick up on the nuances of what is going on with our horse, what he is expressing, how to better apply the aids with different degrees, etc. Riding as an older adult is not any worse than riding when we were younger; it's just a bit different.

Enjoy!
Thank you. Exactly, you have to be so focused on the riding that you can't fit anything else in your brain. I love it. Usually its like "when's my work due...how many hours will it take to finish...what do I need to plan for my daughter's homeschool work...what activities do my kids have afterschool today...what will I make for dinner...do I need to go to the grocery store...". So nice to have only one thing going on upstairs when I am riding.

Ha, I don't think I thought about aids ever when I rode as a child, apart from how do I go faster.

I find one thing I am better about as an adult rider, in retrospect, is that I won't tolerate poor instruction or horses that are not good for beginners. As a child, I probably would have accepted anything. Now I have the knowledge of what it is like to have shattered confidence in terms of horses/riding, I don't want to go back there. I have ridden at three other lesson places in addition to my current one, and given each a decent try with 5 to 15 lessons to allow for people/horses/the weather just having an off day, and I appreciate that I am confident enough to have said that "nope this is not for me". I am also forever grateful that I found my current place and instructor as I have not once in a lesson here felt an inkling of the fear coming back, even on days when my pretty placid lesson horse has a fresh or spooky day, but I am obviously learning and being "pushed" enough to progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Finally I remembered I had a good horse and needed to use him before he got too old to ride at all! So my confidence improved until about 4 years ago when one of my sister's horses bucked me off at the start of a trail ride. I switched horses with her and finished the ride--dirty, bloody and with a terrible headache. Again I had to remind myself that my horse has never done anything like that so I'm ok riding him but find myself not wanting to ride any other horse. My guy is 26 this month and in good health but I know he won't live forever. So last summer I bought myself another horse who is currently at the trainer's for a tune up prior to riding season. I have ridden him on the trail as have many others now and he's been very good. But it will take a few more rides I think before I can feel the same confidence returning.

So anyway, you're certainly not alone. Riding is an ongoing process I think and we learn as we go.
Thank you for the welcome. I am glad to hear you are back riding after your own confidence set backs. A chilled horse makes all the difference. In some ways I am glad I had my confidence set backs as it has made me assertive enough to bow out of situations/horses that I could not handle as a beginner/anxious rider. As a relatively non-assertive/confrontational person, I would usually defer to others if they said "you're riding this horse" but now if it does not fit right with me, I just say so. And when the current lesson horse I am riding has the odd fresh or spooky day I can work through it in a relaxed manner and it does not escalate because I have confidence in knowing that he is, at the heart of it, a good horse.

I hope you have a good upcoming summer riding your horses. (We are just going into winter, Southern Hemisphere, but I will continue riding in a covered arena.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Welcome to the forum. :wave: I'm sure it feels great to be back in the saddle. I'm 27, but I started riding when I was about 13-14. It wasn't until we passed by a riding facility when we moved to our new house that I thought 'I wanna take up riding!'...fell in love with it ever since. Truly my passion.
Thank you, it does feel great to be riding again. And for me, I think it is something that has stuck. I am a serial trier of all things and jack of all trades. When I did my university education in chemistry, I went through so many different areas of chemistry because I just wanted to try them all. Then when I finished my PhD, I was not going on to a postdoc because I was done with that area of chemistry, I wanted to do something else. I work as a science editor now, which suits because I get to read over a really wide range of research. With activities, I have a history of picking things up for up to a year and then dropping them: singing lessons, stand up paddle boarding, pottery, life/figure drawing, cast jewelry, and so on. Yet riding I think is here to stay after 2.5 years and a lot of effort to keep it up through trying out different lesson places, winters, and low times in terms of $ and time.

I am glad you have found your passion riding!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Though I am younger, I am starting to learn about riding only now as an adult (had been on a trail-ride camp horse maybe twice in my youth). I've also only been able to take lessons once a week for a little while now so you're not alone there! Slow progress is still progress and as long as it's fun for you and brings you joy, that's all that matters!
Thank you. I would theoretically love to ride more, but I think in my current situation, it would turn riding into something that was stressful as I would then have to juggle so much to try fit in another lesson time. I do throughly enjoy my one lesson a week, and I get some extra horsey time each week by volunteering for a few hours at therapy riding, which is also amazing for making me see that my skills (e.g., tacking up) are transferable to other horses. (My visual spatial-ness typically extends to "no I could not possible do (X prior learned skill) on this horse, it is a different horse to what I learned it on".)

I hope you enjoy your lessons too!
 
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