View Full Version : Riding Alone vs. With Others

Nov. 9, 2011, 06:00 PM
I was talking with a new boarder the other day and she mentioned that she prefers riding alone. I'm the exact opposite! I love riding with other people. I think it's more fun to talk to someone while warming up, cooling out, etc. and I still get what I want done riding-wise with my horse. I don't like riding with a ton of other people in the arena because it gets too crowded, but I'm fine with a few other people. I think it's also nice to have someone else around if something goes wrong.

Do you prefer to ride alone or with someone else?

Nov. 9, 2011, 06:07 PM
In an arena, I don't care either way. On trails, I always ride with someone. Several members of our horse club have been seriously injured or killed this year, so it's pretty much put the kaput on any of us riding alone....just in case.

Nov. 9, 2011, 06:16 PM
It depends on what I'm doing. If I'm seriously schooling, then I prefer to be by myself (especially if I'm jumping). It's just easier to not have to worry about other horses while working on things over fences.

When I'm hacking, I like having someone to chat with/cool out with.

Nov. 9, 2011, 06:47 PM
I LOVE LOVEEE riding with others...I'm actually a very social/talkative person (would not know that seeing me at school :lol:) when I'm in my "element." :) However...I am the only kid under 16 at my barn and it's getting increasingly harder to converse with adults :lol: And pony is horse agressive making it harder. So I can/do ride alone but I love having company!

Nov. 9, 2011, 06:53 PM
depends...if its a particularly difficult horse then id prefer to be alone because i always allow myself to be swayed by others gazes/opinions...i just dont ride as effectively if there are others in the ring. if its an easier horse that I dont have to worry about being judged on, then I love having other people in the ring. I'm just one of those people that always get nervous about others opinions about me...

Nov. 9, 2011, 06:54 PM
I generally ride alone (trails or ring) and I absolutely LOVE riding alone. That said, if I manage to meet up with someone for a trail ride I'm all for it, and I do occasionally like to do ring work with another rider or a few, to rmake sure horsey and I haven't forgotten how to ride with traffic :lol:

But I really prefer being alone.

Nov. 9, 2011, 07:06 PM
I enjoy riding with others, but it is very hard to do so and put in as good a schooling on my horse as I would alone. Now the only riding with others I do (besides at shows) is when I trailer to my friends ring. And then it's putting three-four bffs in a ring with their horses....we can't shut up! We watch each other go, etc. It's a lot of fun, but I certainly don't feel I do as much as when I'm alone.

However, I do think times like the one I described above are much needed. just not every time I ride ;)

Nov. 9, 2011, 07:22 PM
I 90% of the time I ride by myself at home, unless this other girl rides when I happen to be out there. If I am riding, my mom or aunt stays out there in case I get hurt or need something. I like riding by myself because you don't have to worry about the other horses and you can just worry about yourself, and there is some kind of peace to it. On the weekends though I do go out to a huge training facility and ride some horses for them and take lessons, and ride with friends, which I love too. So I guess I get a little bit of both :)

Nov. 9, 2011, 08:34 PM
I definitely prefer to ride alone 9 times out of 10. I find that when I ride alone, I can focus more on myself and my horse. I ride for as long as I need to, and don't need to worry about anyone else in the ring.

If I want to go on a trail ride or have a "fun day" with my horse, then I do prefer to ride with someone else. I find that we usually spend a lot of time walking around the ring talking, hence the reason that not much gets accomplished ;)

Nov. 9, 2011, 08:38 PM
i do prefer to ride alone as i can focus on what im doing,but like to have the company in the ring once in a while.

Nov. 9, 2011, 09:42 PM
I usually prefer to ride alone if I'm seriously schooling. I tend to worry about other people's opinions so I don't ride as well. I have gotten better about it lately though ;) And if I'm hacking or cooling out I enjoy company.

Nov. 9, 2011, 10:27 PM
I like the social aspect but mostly only before and after my ride. I love to hack out with a few people before or after but when I am trying to school it is very hard for me to get anything done when I get distracted. I much prefer to ride in the indoor with only 1 or 2 people. It gets crowded really fast. I normally pick times when I will be relatively alone in the ring.

I guess the real answer would be that it depends on the ride haha.

Nov. 9, 2011, 10:28 PM
i wish i could always have the arena to myself! nothing is more annoying than having someone trying to talk to me while i'm schooling my horse. as long as the other rider is my level or above, i'll gladly deal with it (aka, they don't talk and know how to navigate with another horse in the arena).

Nov. 9, 2011, 10:35 PM
I prefer to ride alone almost always. I have this compulsion to chat or comment on my fumbles (socially inept at times), and I don't focus well if I'm thinking about other people. I don't have close friends at my barn, so I don't mind it being my quiet time. Plus, if I'm trotting around and decide to do serpentine loops or three million changes of direction, i don't have to worry about other riders.

I do enjoy it when my trainer hops on a horse for a training ride at the same time. She doesn't talk much, but it's nice to have that motivation of riding longer or not taking breaks and being lazy.

All of my lessons are private, and sometimes I do wish I had semi private lessons from time to time. I can practice getting the feeling of what she just told me, while she's addressing another rider. Plus, sometimes having ppl watching makes me better... Sometimes!

stolen virtue
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:36 PM
I never ride "alone" I ride with my best friend, my horse. My horse taught me that.

Nov. 9, 2011, 10:39 PM
I have a paranoia about riding alone. In the past, I ask a non-horsey friend to come watch or do a text before and after the ride. Where I board, it can be HOURS before someone might notice a saddled horse in the arena with its person.

When I was much younger, a friend of my Mom's had a serious accident. She was leading in a broodie from a large field far from the barn, and the mare suddenly wigged out, went flying forward, and double-barreled the woman. IIRC, she had a punctured/collapsed lung, compound fractures of the arm, broken shoulder, some face damage, internal injuries, etc etc. She wasn't found for hours, was flown out from the FIELD not a hospital, and had a very rough go of it. Was never the same, had to get rid of her show dogs and most of the horses. FWIW, the mare collapsed suddenly a day or two later and died, necropsy showed a massive brain tumor. So that has stuck with me forever...

Nov. 9, 2011, 11:10 PM
I said with someone because part of what I really like about my barn is the social aspect. But when I'm seriously schooling, or need to work on things I've learned in my lessons, riding alone is better.

Nov. 10, 2011, 08:11 AM
I very much prefer riding alone. I don't like distractions, and it gets hard with multiple people in the ring. Our barn has an unspoken rule that everyone goes the same direction (we have a wide variety of riding levels represented), so it's a huge PITA.

I love having people around the barn when tacking/untacking, though. I just wish they would all disappear when I'm in the ring. ;)

Nov. 10, 2011, 08:17 AM
It depends on what I have planned for the day. If I'm jumping, or working on something with changes of direction, I like to ride alone.
A normal ride, I like to ride with other people.:D

Nov. 10, 2011, 08:54 AM
I'm a depends girl too. (Wait, that didn't come out right! LOL!)

I love being at my barn at night when no one else is riding, as I love the quiet opportunity to really work on whatever we need to work on. I also just love that quiet bonding time with my mare. I like to wander the fields next to my barn with her (alone, but in sight of the barn and with my phone on me) and just enjoy the time with her.

That being said, I love riding in lessons with my pals, or trail riding with buddies as well.

Depends on the day, the goal, and the mood, I guess.

Nov. 10, 2011, 09:00 AM
We have a couple rings so when there is a couple riding together in one ring I go to the ring with no one. However, I do love to have cooling out and tacking up company of the others in the barn. Riding wise I like to do what I want direction wise, jumping wise etc. without following a structure to what the others are doing.

Nov. 10, 2011, 09:20 AM
I ride alone most of the time with my horses at home, so I like to take advantage of every opportunity I get to ride with others. Sometimes it is nice to chat and goof off and whatnot.

I don't mind others being in the ring, but when I am down to business I am not chatty or even paying attention to them beyond awareness of where they are in the ring to avoid accidents. Good for others to be in the ring, I wish I had the opportunity to have others around more often as my younger horse needs more experience minding his own beeswax when there are other horses doing their thing. He's not 100% on other horses cantering by him, etc since he is ridden with other horses so rarely.

I understand the desire to be alone but sometimes if you only ride alone you can make the horse a bit of a hothouse flower that doesn't tolerate the warmup ring or distractions well, and that's not a good thing. I seek out exposures for my guy because he's so isolated due to the nature of my situation, but still he's way more sheltered than I'd like.

Warming up and cooling off? Fun to chat and whatnot if there are people around.

Nov. 10, 2011, 09:25 AM
It depends on what I'm doing. If I'm seriously schooling, then I prefer to be by myself (especially if I'm jumping). It's just easier to not have to worry about other horses while working on things over fences.

When I'm hacking, I like having someone to chat with/cool out with.


I school dressage and much prefer to be alone in the arena when I do it. That way my focus is 100% on me and my horse. Sometimes I have to share with one other rider and it's not too bad, but two or more becomes an issue because I have to at least be peripherally aware of where everyone is and where everyone is going.

When I school I am there to work and even if other riders are present I keep to myself and work. Obviously everyone gets a hi, how are you greeting, but after that it's all business.

On hacks around the property it's the total opposite, both from the social and safety points of view.

In the barn, yes, I like to socialize with everyone without interfering with their tasks.

Nov. 10, 2011, 09:28 AM
I like both. I have days where I don't want to be chatty when I ride. I like to be able to completely focus completely on my horse and block everything else out. Now of course I'm never completely by myself, there's always someone else at the barn, but I mean being the only one in the ring.

But there are days when I like to talk, trail ride and hang out at the barn. Either way I have fun, just depends on the day and what I am trying to get done.

see u at x
Nov. 10, 2011, 09:37 AM
I like both, too. But most of the time, I prefer to ride alone as I am much more focused and seem to get more accomplished when I do so. My horse and I tend to focus much better without added distractions. That being said, I'm not one of those people who thinks that I should always get to have the arena to myself so that we can concentrate better! I do appreciate the distractions, because it teaches us to focus in a busier, show-like situation. If I'm riding alone, however, I prefer it when there are other people in the barn, just in case something goes wrong.

Nov. 10, 2011, 10:36 AM
For safety reasons, I rarely ride if no one is on the property. And if I do, I'll stay in the arena and text hubby before and after. The person doesn't have to be watching me or anything, I just feel better knowing that they know I'm out there and if they don't see me for awhile to come check on me. :winkgrin:

With riding in one of the rings, unfortunately sometimes I'm with the "little ones" who are taking their lessons and where steering is optional so that can get a little ugly. But I'm pretty good at navigating around them. I don't get as much done on those days... but that's okay.

In general, I do like riding w/ others. I don't mind a few riders with me (no more than 3). As more than that can get a little distracting. There are a few adults whom I board with and we all get along very well and from time to time we happen to be out at the same time. So we can chat while we warm up and cool down but once the work really starts, we really don't say much.

But when we switch from flat work to jumping, it's great to do that as a group. We can help and critique each other. And then we all go out on a hack together. :yes: That's really enjoyable.

There are days that I do enjoy the peace (and space) of the ring all to myself though.

For me, riding is more of a social thing in a way. I don't have high aspirations of doing really anything. It's a nice escape for me. My therapy. :lol:

Nov. 10, 2011, 11:45 AM
_I_ prefer riding alone.

But HORSE needs to learn to be ridden in company, whether on a trail, jumping, or doing a dressage test.

Nov. 10, 2011, 12:16 PM
It depends on what I'm doing. If I'm seriously schooling, then I prefer to be by myself (especially if I'm jumping). It's just easier to not have to worry about other horses while working on things over fences.

When I'm hacking, I like having someone to chat with/cool out with.

This. And for me it depends on WHO is riding with me. Typically on days that I hack when trainer is not there I have homework that I need to work on, so I'm focused. Depending on who is in the ring with me, sometimes it is hard to get anything done!:lol:

If I'm just out there to stretch my ponies legs, I like having someone to chat with

ETA: I have a horse who sometimes thinks the under saddles are a big party, which is really a booger since he is a stellar mover. Soooo....there are times when I appreciate a lot of horses in the ring so he can get used to the chaos that sometimes ensues :)

Nov. 10, 2011, 12:20 PM
Like fordtraktor, I ride at home by myself most of the time. I far prefer riding in the arena by myself. I am acutely aware of where other horses are in the ring and I always try to stay out of the way as well as always following the general rules (i.e. left shoulder to left shoulder). It bugs me that I seem to be the only person on the planet who rides this way :lol: I also like to be able to put my earphones in and focus completely and entirely on the horse and what we're working on without having to think about where the other horses are and to answer questions (since when I'm riding with others it's other people on my horses).

I do like my horses to go nicely with other horses in the ring, but that's rarely an issue since shows are such the opposite extreme and all of my horses go to shows/clinics regularly.

With all of that being said, I LOVE the social aspect of the barn and of having other horse folks around. So I guess I would say that I love to have people around (and yes, the safety aspect is another major benefit), but I prefer to work on my horses alone. I feel like I have the best of both worlds having my own place. I can plan it so I ride alone or I can plan to ride with the gals who come out and ride some of my horses on occasion.

I will say that I get a LOT more done in a LOT less time now that I'm not at a big show barn. Boy chatting can suck away the hours like nothing else! (and my husband would definitely confirm that I can chatter away with the best of them, lol) :)

Nov. 10, 2011, 12:29 PM
I got lonely when I kept the ponies at home and rode by myself all the time...


Now I'm three weeks into boarding for the winter, and what I would give just to be able to school without some bit of crazyness going on in the arena. I have two 4 year olds-one with 30 days (and new to me) and one who's working on tr/first level- both can be rather 'hot' as it's cold outside and the weather has been changing. What isn't helpful is when other boarders lunge with the lunge whip a-crackin' or do their NH stuff with horses not quite under control... Sigh. And winter just started.. can't wait for spring.

This is why I have my blog. I can vent/retell all of the barn crazyness without letting it all build up inside.

Nov. 10, 2011, 12:30 PM
It depends on what I am doing/riding. If I am jumping or riding something unpredicatable then I like someone around incase I go SPLAT. I do prefer students and young horses to learn to ride in traffic so the more the merrier,imo. I know people who leave the ring if there are 3 horses,(really). Doing a sale horse, I like to be alone.. but that rarely happens,lol

So, I guess my answer varies depending on occasion.

Nov. 10, 2011, 12:54 PM
Right now I am the only boarder at the small ranch where I keep Louie.

My BFF was kicked out of the ranch a few months ago (her mare kicks and was damaging the barn) and she moved 5 ranches down the street so now I have no choice but to ride by myself every afternoon after work. Even if she was still there with her mare, our working hours are so different that I would not be riding with her except on the weekends.

I also love riding with my niece (who posts here) but to do that I have to hook up the trailer and haul to where she keeps her horse and then go for a trail ride.

Nov. 10, 2011, 01:35 PM
I like to ride with 1-2 other people most of the time. Anymore than 3 others and it becomes too crowded for me in the ring, on trails, or wherever.

I do like to ride by myself occasionally. It is nice to just go have a quiet hack, just you and your horse. When I am trying to work on something in particular, though, I do find that I prefer to be alone.

The beauty of being at a barn where there are several places to ride is that you can leave the group and then rejoin it when you want to... :yes:

Nov. 10, 2011, 03:17 PM
My default is that I prefer to ride alone.

That said, there are some people I am glad to ride with and some people I *really* hate to ride with. I don't mind some *minimal* talking while I am hacking around, but I absolutely cannot stand nonstop chatter when I am trying to get serious work done. I have no desire to have a full conversation with someone while I try to ride. Yuck.

Likewise, I can't stand to ride with people who are not good at navigating traffic or are generally disrespectful of others in the ring.

When it comes right down to it, I like to ride with competent, serious horse people who are devoting most if not all of their attention to getting actual work done. I dislike riding with all others.

Nov. 10, 2011, 05:24 PM
It depends on who is in the ring with me, how many people are riding, and which ring I'm in. In the dressage court, I only ride alone. It's a short court, so two horses makes it VERY crowded.

In the big arena, I'm fine with up to five horses. When it starts to get to eight or nine, I leave. It's just too chaotic for my mare right now (she's relatively green).

That said, this only works if everyone can steer, stop/go/back up, and is considerate. I really wish the people who are having trouble steering their horses would avoid riding during these times, because things can get pretty hairy. Also, I wish that everyone would play fair. I am in the ring because I want to ride, not because I want to have to halt my horse whenever you decide to do some crazy dressage figure (no, not dissing dressage, I love it, but could those half-pass zigzags and random volts wait for a less-crowded day?) or cut me off. Also, when I put my horse on a 20m circle that literaly only takes up a sixth of the arena it is not ok for you to decide to cut across this circle seven million times. Really? You can't avoid one corner? You MUST keep crossing my circle? You have the entire rest of a huge arena to ride in!

And on the galloping track, I usually only work my horse alone or if there's one other horse there, and I'll walk with up to two other horses out.

Nov. 10, 2011, 06:07 PM
I used to think I preferred to ride alone, and for the most part I do..but due to my work/home schedule I tend to be at the barn when nobody else is there (early afternoon) and end up riding by myself all the time (there are people on the property, just in case). While I like the peace and quiet and time alone with my horse, I do miss riding with someone else in the ring. Sometimes it's nice to have company in the ring, even if there is no talking. I find myself getting excited sometimes when someone arrives to ride while I am there, only to find them taking their time getting ready and not getting out there until I am done.

Nov. 11, 2011, 10:28 AM
Also, I wish that everyone would play fair. I am in the ring because I want to ride, not because I want to have to halt my horse whenever you decide to do some crazy dressage figure (no, not dissing dressage, I love it, but could those half-pass zigzags and random volts wait for a less-crowded day?) or cut me off.