Adult returning to riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Adult returning to riding

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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post #2 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 04:23 AM
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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.
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post #3 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 05:25 AM
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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.

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post #4 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 06:22 AM
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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.
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post #5 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 07:03 AM
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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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post #6 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 09:39 AM
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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.

Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.
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post #7 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 12:44 PM
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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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post #8 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 01:33 PM
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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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post #9 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 02:23 PM
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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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post #10 of 24 Old 05-13-2019, 02:59 PM
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Welcome to the forum. 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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Ride more, worry less.
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