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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! Just a bit of background before I jump into the forums :)

I rode seasonally once a week at a dressage/Friesian breeding barn as a kid in exchange for year round work grooming and mucking stalls since we were low income and couldn't afford lessons by any means. I worked my way up to assistant horse trainer at that farm, and when I graduated from high school, I came across a small windfall of money and decided to purchase a horse. All was fine and dandy until that horse injured himself in the field one day and I wasn't financially equipped to keep up with the rehabilitation. I gave him to a rescue (where he found a home before he was even listed) but I felt immensely guilty, and it was enough to keep me out of the saddle for 7 years.

Fastforward to this last October; I'm 26 and after being waitlisted for 3 months, I was accepted as a student to a well known hunter/jumper barn about a half hour away from town and I began once weekly lessons. I realize very, very quickly that I'm starting from the basics again.

I began with one instructor, who was wonderful at instructing albeit a bit difficult to connect with. She quit for a full time gig, and I was introduced to my new instructor who I absolutely ADORE but we only had one lesson before she left to a big out of state show and then vacation. In her absence, I had another instructor who I did not enjoy at all (I'll have to make a whole other post about that) - essentially I don't respond well to being put on a quirky, hot horse I've never ridden before, without any warning or tips, being singled out and yelled at in front of people (group lesson), and nitpicked on everything I'm doing wrong without a single monotonous "that was good". To say the least, it was an awful lesson that didn't teach me anything about riding except a little refresh on how to do an emergency stop and a big lesson on how I do/don't effectively learn. I spent the end of the lesson in tears, feeling completely defeated and questioning if I was at the right place. The next lesson I had was with the barn owner and that was amazing, and then my usual (the one that left to show/vacation) instructor came back and it's been mostly uphill from there.

I will be half leasing next month (so 3 rides a week, one of them a lesson) and also starting once a week lessons at my old barn with the dressage instructor. It's been remarkably tough trying to relearn after 7 years. I was never a remarkable rider, but I was relatively talented and it's frustrating when there's things I know in my head that my body doesn't remember how to do. I've gotten bigger and slightly out of shape, I'm older and more aware of how I'm perceived by others, more aware of the dangers of this sport and um, medical bills. I work a full time 9-5 job and certainly know the value of a dollar and the capacity of time in a day.

Ultimately, I'm not the same person I was at 18/19 that I am at 26/27, nor the same student. I know what will help me is finding more time in the saddle, which is why the hefty expense of a lease + additional lessons is something I know will be worth it, even if it does put me on a strict budget through the best time of the year (summer!).

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to bonding with other horse lovers through this forum, maybe some with similar backgrounds, and learning as much as I can through the experiences you choose to share here. Hopefully eventually, I can contribute grains of wisdom here and there too!
 

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Hello there! Of course my interest becomes piqued anytime I see the word "Friesian"!

Your story brought back a memory of mine from 4H. There was a seminar at a local equestrian college and I was there with my club to watch the college students give a riding demo. I happened to take riding lessons at the college at the time and was familiar with the horses and riders there. Well, come to find out the college needed one more horse and rider for their demo and asked me to jump in. I at first declined because I had no riding gear and was there to watch, not participate.

Well, they convinced me to "help them out". So there I was with borrowed breeches, gloves, boots and helmet and they give me a green OTTB mare that hadn't been schooled in some months. All the college kids had seasoned schoolmasters. Gave me five minutes to warm her up (ha!) and into the arena we went. Mare kept her composure quite well until we had to canter--then it was zoomy time.

This would have been fine and no big deal if the instructor that was giving the demo hadn't absolutely shredded how I rode the mare and stated with dramatic prose how she was "bracing" and not "connected" at all. Ugh, I was so irritated. I was doing them a favor and getting humiliated in front of the entire county's 4H clubs! Thanks, glad I helped out ya'll!
Anyway, welcome to the forum--a great place to connect and/or commiserate with other fellow equestrians!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello there! Of course my interest becomes piqued anytime I see the word "Friesian"!

Your story brought back a memory of mine from 4H. There was a seminar at a local equestrian college and I was there with my club to watch the college students give a riding demo. I happened to take riding lessons at the college at the time and was familiar with the horses and riders there. Well, come to find out the college needed one more horse and rider for their demo and asked me to jump in. I at first declined because I had no riding gear and was there to watch, not participate.

Well, they convinced me to "help them out". So there I was with borrowed breeches, gloves, boots and helmet and they give me a green OTTB mare that hadn't been schooled in some months. All the college kids had seasoned schoolmasters. Gave me five minutes to warm her up (ha!) and into the arena we went. Mare kept her composure quite well until we had to canter--then it was zoomy time.

This would have been fine and no big deal if the instructor that was giving the demo hadn't absolutely shredded how I rode the mare and stated with dramatic prose how she was "bracing" and not "connected" at all. Ugh, I was so irritated. I was doing them a favor and getting humiliated in front of the entire county's 4H clubs! Thanks, glad I helped out ya'll!
Anyway, welcome to the forum--a great place to connect and/or commiserate with other fellow equestrians!
Friesians are so great. I was incredibly lucky to get in touch with that particular barn; I'll never take for granted my time there - and I'm very excited to head back this summer! The owner and I have always remained on good terms, but I haven't been back in my whole 7 year hiatus from riding! Can't wait to see my real "horse family".

Ugh, that experience sounds like a personal nightmare 😅 I think maybe instructors like this do well with people that have been active in other sports besides horseback riding - reminds me of a football coach somehow - but I think a lot of riders get into horseback riding because they are sensitive and generally don't respond well to yelling/humiliation type teaching. I mean, neither do horses if you think about it. Even if they finally "get it," there's a high risk of it stealing the joy. I've always been adamant that people (and horses) are at their best when they're operating in a more relaxed state. 🤷‍♀️

Thank you guys for the welcomes!! 😊
 
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