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Discussion Starter #1
Is it reasonable to expect to learn to work a horse properly, tracking up from behind, onto the bit, whilst riding exclusively school horses?

For background, I ride the "whizzy fizzy monster"* category at my RS - horses who might spook, buck, tank, etc, and am expected to plan my own sessions when I have a 1-1 lesson (under guidance from my RI) I did once ask if I could ride a particular horse who is known for being steady and sensible and was told "not a chance" (my RI was nicer about it and gave me reasonable reasons, but that's what it alluded to - and I don't mind at all)

I use lots of bending, and leg yields and shoulder fore to get the horse to step under itself (and in once case to force the horse to think about what it's doing and slow down and relax) and I usually end the session with a very responsive horse, but still no nice, pretty outline.

So is simply that some people just can't ride like that, or that the horses just don't get that level of schooling??
Is there a point at which you just can't go any further at a RS?
*not an official category
 

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I think that you are missing out on a thorough riding/learning experience if you only ride the more volatile type horses that maybe are not as highly trained as some other schoolies. How else are you supposed to know how to get those horses going the best that they can go when you don't know how to do it on an already confirmed schoolmaster type horse? Yes, it's possible to learn along with the horse, but there's nothing better than getting the "feel" of something on a trained school horse and duplicating it on a another horse that previously you were unable to get to that point.

It is one of the reasons why I left my home, where there were limited opportunities and horses for me to ride, and came to where I am now, where I have a wide range of horses at all different levels of training to learn from and to train.
 

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Yes it is possible if you ride the right schoolies.
 

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I guess I don't understand why you're totally confined to the "hard" horses?

I spend the majority of my time these days riding the types of horses you're describing, though not in lessons. However, I had a lesson last week, and I was on one of the laziest horses known to man.. one that I suspect often is used by beginner riders because there's no chance of a beginner rider ever being able to push that horse into a canter.

And you know what? It was the hardest lesson I have had in a LONG time... and the best. I learned so much from that one session on an "easy" horse. So make that argument to your instructor--the hard horses are a challenge, but the easy horses can be a whole different kind of challenge for you also.

Yes, collection is possible on school horses, and I know from experience.. as long as it's the right school horse.
 

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Is there a point at which you just can't go any further at a RS?
Yes. I pretty much reached the limit at the school I used to go to. Some horses could collect up somewhat, but since they weren't asked to do it consistently they never got very far with it. Most people expect that by the time your riding is that advanced, you have your own horse. I can relate to your problem since I couldn't afford to buy my own horse either - all I could do was keep taking lessons.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the responses.
The reason is two-fold - 1. If there weren't strict limits on how much work the horses could do, the "easier" horses could already be booked up from 9am until 9pm (as it is, they're limited to three lessons per day, with two full days off per week.)

2. As I'm relatively athletic lightweight and confident (relatively on all three - against much bigger people than I, people with mobility problems, beginners and nervous riders) I don't need to be on the easier horses.
(3. I much prefer riding the nutters!)

I also heard from my RI that the horses I ride are quite young and not schooled to that level.
I wonder if it's time to move schools again. Shame as I really like this one!!
 

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In my experience totally depends on what you ride and the level. We have barns around offering dressage lessons on schoolmasters. If I wouldn't have my own horse I'd seriously look into one (all such lessons are private BTW).

However "group lessons" barns usually have mounts that are beginner-safe and quiet, but unfortunately don't have much of professional training (so for yielding you have to use LOTS of leg, and round/on bit is something they don't really do :) ). They are great to learn the basics, but not to advance (I do go to such a barn for beginner jumping lessons, and perfectly happy with the BTDT mount that teaches me how to jump, but all horses I tried there simply incomparable with my own mares in flat work).
 

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I think you should be able to learn how to collect, ride from behind etc while on a school horse. I'm getting back into riding after 6 years off and have finally found a RS that is teaching me this properly. I'm riding at the moment technically the beginner horse but she can be difficult to keep collected so I guess I'm getting a bit of a challenge while learning. My RI likes that I ride her as it keeps her from getting too lazy from the beginners. I've tried other RS closer to me but the horses probably haven't learnt to collect and the instructors only taught the very basics. Long ramble short maybe you should try a different RS, maybe not full time but an odd lesson on a schoolmaster to see what it is like and how to get it
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I wanted to post an update for future reference (search results, etc) so here it is: (and also, becuase I'm thrilled about it with no horsey friends to tell!)

Well I learned it, and I finally got a school horse working beautifully, pushing along from behind, nose tucked in, SOOO bendy, responsive and reaching down for the bit, and the poor boy was absolutely jiggered when we got finished! Such a good boy!!:D (I did keep giving him breaks, letting him stretch down because I suspect he doesn't get worked like that often, and he got lots of pats and a pocket full of treats at the end of the lesson!)

BUT
While my school instructors were a big help (one imparticular). The key for me seemed to be


  1. The FABULOUS trainer who I've had a grand total of ONE lesson with on my share horse - probably the first person in my life to spend time teaching me HOW to ride, rather than suggest school movements to me and expect me to already know how to ask for them. (as every instructor I've ever had has done...and I've had alot!)
  2. Time spent watching better riders than I - not watching pros compete, but just watching good riders who are a few steps further along, just working their horses, (and most importantly, paying attention)

I'm very glad of the time I spent at the RS, and that the instructors allowed me the time to get my confidence and balance back, and time to just play about in the arena when I needed to - I'm not saying that was unimportant, but that there comes a time when you have to move on from that.
Does that count as learning to get an outline on a schoolie? - I'm not sure, but you can get a schoolie to work rounded and properly.

Next goal - get my lease horse to work like that!
 

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Is it reasonable to expect to learn to work a horse properly, tracking up from behind, onto the bit, whilst riding exclusively school horses?
Yes


So is simply that some people just can't ride like that, or that the horses just don't get that level of schooling??
Maybe, maybe not.

Is there a point at which you just can't go any further at a RS?
Depends where you go and what they have and what level you're at.
 

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I get really annoyed at the riding school I am at.

The horses are really, really dead to the leg. Even though it's clear they have some training they usually just don't want to move so much that you can hardly focus on anything else but getting them moving. The instructor has told me I have done better than most people at getting them moving forward but it is just constant leg and seat just to get them to stay moving, much less push them into collection.

I feel like I can't learn anything because even if correct my aids have no effect. It depends on your school, but in some places I think you can only go so far on horses that constantly ruined by dodgy riders.
 

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I get really annoyed at the riding school I am at.

The horses are really, really dead to the leg. Even though it's clear they have some training they usually just don't want to move so much that you can hardly focus on anything else but getting them moving. The instructor has told me I have done better than most people at getting them moving forward but it is just constant leg and seat just to get them to stay moving, much less push them into collection.

I feel like I can't learn anything because even if correct my aids have no effect. It depends on your school, but in some places I think you can only go so far on horses that constantly ruined by dodgy riders.
Why do you go there then?
 
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