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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've perused this forum quite a bit, just lurking about, enjoying reading the discussions. I thought today would be a good day to join. Here goes...bit of a rant incoming. I just rode yesterday for the first time in probably...6-8 years? It's been so long I can't even remember how long it's been. I guess I just have a lot of anxiety about the whole thing and I was wondering if anyone here has gone ages without riding. It's hard to believe any of you awesome horsey people would go even a week without being around horses. :[ But my parents aren't horse people, never were, my mother's full experience with horses included one trail ride where the horse bolted off with her on it, and she was never a huge animal-lover to being with. >_>;; They both grew up in less-than-desireable urban environments and had to work their way out, so even if they did love horses, I doubt I would have ever been able to have my own horse.

So, yeah, when we moved to a more rural setting, I was able to take lessons at a local barn. Hooray! That was for about 3-4 years. I guess I just felt like I wasn't progressing nearly enough there, I was pretty shy as a kid/teenager and still am, so I just kind of did whatever the instructor wanted that day, I never felt like I had a choice of direction in what I'd like to do, but the other kids were more like "I want to do that" and vocal about stuff. And maybe that shyness made her think I was afraid or something, so she always took it painfully slowly with me. But I wasn't afraid, just socially awkward! :U Lolz. So yeah. Maybe I was just a dumb, headstrong kid. But I stopped riding there, thinking I'd be able to find another place shortly. Well, school picked up, a couple years went by, and before I knew it, university was staring me in the face, so there was no point going back for a short while just to be torn away from it. No horses at school. Hardly any animals will go near my awful school in that smoggy city. But FINALLY I am graduating at the end of this semester, so my boyfriend and I started taking lessons together at his house! I'll be moving here in a few months and will finally just be able to ride. Ugh, I've been DYING to get back to riding since I stopped, watching horse videos, reading forums such as these, having dreams about riding. I rode like...twice with my friend at her house a couple years ago, but there was no one really critiquing, so I had no idea how I was doing.

Seems I've forgotten nearly everything. :roll: I mean like, how pathetic. I was like, is the instructor even going to BELIEVE I've ridden before? Okay, perhaps it wasn't quite so bad as all that. But when I stopped riding years ago I was jumping, just beginner stuff, but that was my task at hand. Now my task at hand is trot in a circle and try not to do a million things wrong. Didn't even hold the reins properly at first, heels won't stay down enough, and so on. I guess I thought, going by things I've read online, that I would just magically remember how to do stuff, muscle memory, blah blah blah. To some extent, true. But I still managed to do the simplest of things wrong. Couldn't even undo the straps on the bridle and get the halter on the horse after without help. Yes, I apparently am that dumb. But I used to tack up, untack, groom, and so on. Now I know nothing! Woo! :-o You'd think after watching hundreds of Youtube videos something would have come back, but nope. Doesn't translate to real life. Oh, and I tossed the bridle on the ground after taking it off, because that's what I was taught at the old barn. "Just toss it to the side, put on the halter and pick up the bridle after." Figures, right? Hardly any of the good stuff comes back, but I manage to instinctively throw the freaking bridle on the ground. I didn't even have time to think about it, I just did it. I guess you're not supposed to do that because the lady was like "Or you could do that. *smile*" She's super nice, but I felt so embarrassed lolz. I'm naturally a "oh no oh no people are going to think I'm stupid" type of person, so I kind of trip myself up with nerves, I guess.

So yeah. That was a rant, sorry. D: But I don't know anyone who would even be able to come close to identifying with these worries. My boyfriend is starting riding for the first time ever, as rusty as I am right now I probably look good to him. (I ride English, but I pose this question to riders of all disciplines!) tl;dr, did anyone feel flat-out idiotic their first time back to riding and horses in general after years away? D;
 

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Welcome to the group

No Phelan, when people come back into riding, they ask themselves why they ever left. In the following morning they ache. Their butts, their thighs, the small of their backs - they ache. So they have a bath. Then laying soaking and hoping the aches are going to go away, they realize they have missed out. All those years without playing with a horse. So they book another ride.

And bit by bit their brains come to remember how to react in order to keep their bodies up in the saddle. They rediscover how to balance, how to hold the reins and how to sit upright.

Then they join Horseforum. They buy a decent 'How to ride' book and they become hooked - again.

Welcome to the group.


PS. My guess is that you have a second hobby - writing. All you need to do is do a spell check or two and revise the grammar but the prose comes out great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Phew, maybe I'm not some abnormal person that is doomed to be "bad at horses" after all. XD I really did miss it all that time! I was happy just to have the smell of horses about me again. Thank you for the welcome. You are correct, actually, I love writing! I've been writing stories since I was a kid, and I'm writing a book now as well. :D It's much more closely edited, though, none of this casual "so yeah" speech. :p
 

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Welcome to the forum and back to the horse world!

Couldn't have said it any better than Barry already did.
 

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Be careful, horses have a way of stealing your heart.:wink:
 

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I was exactly where you are close to 2 years ago, only I made the mistake of buying a "green reclaim" as my first horse back into horsedom.

If you search hard enough in the old threads, you can find some really HORRID videos of rides that are much worse than what you have described.

Just relax and have fun!
 

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welcome back to horses and to the forum!! I've never gone more than a year without riding and those years were forced by difficult pregnancies.
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Jeez, 8 years you've been away and you're shocked that you lost your muscle memory and such? How could you DO that? (A better question would be "how could you NOT do that").

Listen. You meet the horse where his is, and where you are, today. You can't afford to get hung up on this "well, I used to be able to do X". My boy taught me that maybe we could do X yesterday, but today? He's stiff in his hock, or I'm stiff in my knee, or the wind is blowing and he's distracted by leaves, or I'm thinking too much about work and not enough about him. And even though we had a seriously awesome lesson three days ago, today, it's like the first time either one of us have ever seen a saddle. Well, maybe not quite *that* bad...

But the horse isn't a machine, and neither are you. Important thing is not that you once-upon-a-time jumped. Important thing is that you can connect with the horse you are on *now* and you can stay in your body and meet him, and you can learn together.

I don't know how old you are, but I'm going to assume "not very" - maybe in your 20s? Reason I suspect this is that by the time you get to be 40, you realize that you've forgotten enough stuff to fill an encyclopedia. And you don't get too hard on yourself for letting skills go, and forgetting stuff, because if you did get hard on yourself for that, you wouldn't have time to do anything else at all.

So, check the ego at the door. Egos don't get you very far with your equine buddies. :) Don't worry about impressing the horse, the trainer, or your BF. Just go back out there and get you some Horse Luv, and let your BF do the same. 8 years is Too Long to be away from horses when you're born to be a Horse Person.
 

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Also, I find it easier to run the crown of the bridle up over my arm to the shoulder - keeps it out of the way while I'm putting the halter on, but doesn't let the bit get nastied up by the barn floor, and it keeps the reins from getting twisted up. That said, I got totally distracted once and nearly clipped the cross-ties on to the BRIDLE. Oops!!
 

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Dont beat yourself up too much. I had to re discover how to sink my heels after an entire summer of riding bareback and at the same time learn and remember all the bamn buttons to make dressage horsey actually do something, it was a disaster! Todays lesson was far more productive. It does get better :)
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Hey chica. I was the same as you.. had a 2 year break in my riding and I came back and it was like I didn't even know how to put the halter on a horse!

It won't come back like a bike, you have to relearn it. And you'll do a grand job at it, and then you'll never get horses out of your life again, muaha!

Good thing you have a boyfriend that is into horses, that helps a lot!

Have fun relearning and enjoy the forums!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for the encouraging words, everyone, I certainly appreciate it! :D And I'm sorry any of you also had to go through being away from horses. At school, I'm away from pretty much all animals, and that's torture. :[

Haha, indeed, Thursday. x) Even my boyfriend was like "Why didn't you just put it on your arm?" I was like, lol, I don't know, I guess it's a bad habit that I never knew was there. You're right, I'm in my 20's. :K I just get really nervous around people in the barn environment because it's like, a lot of them have their own horses and have been riding for >9,000 years and whatnot, so I don't want them to look down on me. XP It is just myself, my boyfriend, and the trainer in the lesson, though, so that's good. :p I've always been more comfortable around animals than people, the horses themselves I feel very relaxed around, it's the people that make me worry. :K
 

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Haha, indeed, Thursday. x) Even my boyfriend was like "Why didn't you just put it on your arm?" I was like, lol, I don't know, I guess it's a bad habit that I never knew was there. You're right, I'm in my 20's. :K I just get really nervous around people in the barn environment because it's like, a lot of them have their own horses and have been riding for >9,000 years and whatnot, so I don't want them to look down on me. XP It is just myself, my boyfriend, and the trainer in the lesson, though, so that's good. :p I've always been more comfortable around animals than people, the horses themselves I feel very relaxed around, it's the people that make me worry. :K
Oh, I get that...everyone in my barn has been riding since they could walk, practically. It was a 12 year old noticed I was about to clip the cross tie onto Huey's bridle, no less. I just thanked her for pointing that out. I was embarrassed as all get-out, but you know, everyone makes a mistake that they, themselves, consider to be totally stupid every so often.

Think of it this way: you may be at a barn where everyone else has been riding since before they were born. You know what that means? You are surrounded by EXPERTS. And they all have opinions, some of them have many opinions, and that means that if you're not certain about how something should go, or could go, all you have to do is ask.

I haven't met the Horse Person yet who isn't basically thrilled to have someone ask his or her opinion about horses. :D Most people will be so flattered that you want to know that they won't even get around to thinking that you might be a dummy. People LOVE to be asked for advice, and this is 100% more true with Horse People. Just look at these boards! The only dummies are the ones who put their heads in their own butts and act like they know everything already. People who ask, sincerely, always get tons of advice.

The challenge is not going to be making sure that the other people there don't think you're a bozo. It's going to be making sense of the VAST amounts of information that they are waiting, and champing at the bit, to give you. About your grooming, about your handling, about your riding, about your taste in horses, about your tack, about your style, about your feed choices, about your dentist/farrier/vet/acupuncturist. Your choice of salt lick. Your choice of colors for the saddle pads and the blankets. (This assumes, of course, that you will have your own horse at some point, because, why wouldn't you?)

Fear not. Anyone who judges you, is a jerk, and you can afford to totally write off their opinions. Anyone who gets shirty and stuffy with you when you ask a question - provided you've been sensible and you're not pumping them for information when they're trying to handle a horse that is freaking out or sick - is a jerk, and you can ignore them. That takes care of the four or five shmucks you'll find anywhere. The rest of them? They are RESOURCES.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If most people I encounter really are that nice, then I won't have anything to worry about. :3 I do love learning, especially when it's about animals. I'm always open to information, but I do feel a bit like "they must think I'm quite stupid for not knowing that already" when learning something new from an experienced person. Of course, when it comes to other things, things I'm experienced with, I'm always ready to help someone new in the friendliest way possible. Being surrounded by many rude, thick-headed people at school the last four or five years hasn't helped me to think of others as ready to encourage, but ready to ridicule. :/ I'm sure I'll get more comfortable and I'll be less suspicious as time goes on, once I get past the shock of being back in the saddle. XD And yesss, I would so love to have my own horse someday, and my boyfriend agrees! I mean, really, who wouldn't want their own horse? o_o
 

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There are so many small details to learn about riding and horse care. One cannot know them until taught. Sorry, it doesn't come by osmosis. Every one of us here still has gaps in our knowledge. Well, maybe not everyone . . . .
I love it when I learn something really simple that for the longest time I had no idea about.
For example, I learned from smrobs (a member here) that the fender of a western saddle can and should be adjusted and she showed us how to do this. I had NO idea, I mean like 2 years riding in a western saddle and I did not know this. NOw I know.
 

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Stick with it & how lucky are you to have your boyfriend taking lessons with you!!! Never mind feeling inadequate, you need to feel like a sponge. Soak it up & enjoy!! I have been riding for decades, showing, training, you name it, I did it. I still enjoy going to lessons & learning & refining my skills. PS - my hubby takes lessons with me, it's great!
 
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I had about a 6 year break from riding, and my first riding school I now know were rubbish, and so my first few lessons at my new riding school were pretty shameful. Told them I could trot/canter/jump 2' a few years ago, go there and my legs are all over the place, I'm bouncing around, just arhh!! :oops:
But now after a year or two I've improved so much and I'm so glad I got back into it, don't give up if you ever feel a little embarrassed!
 

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HAHAHA! No kidding! Got spare time and cash? Having a horse will take care of BOTH of those problems! :lol: I can safely say that I have not yet, since I bought Huey, found myself in a position of having money and wishing there was something I could spend it on. ...That reminds me, got to call the farrier...

I'm waiting for my vets bill to come through.. that'll be my bonus haha!
 
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