View Full Version : How many times do you ride a week?

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:15 PM
So I don't own or lease my own horse, I just take a horse riding lesson once a week. I feel like it is taking me FOREVER to improve my riding... & every time I do improve something happens and I end up taking 2 steps back. I feel like I have been stuck at the same level of riding for years now. I am only 15 years old but I have been riding for 6-7 years, which isn't a long time, but I feel like I should have more accomplished then I do now. I am wondering if that is because I don't get enough time to ride. :/

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:31 PM
makes a HUGE difference just to get out there more than once. Think of it this way, if you ride one more day per week, you're doubling your saddle time and you will improve that much faster.

I personally only ride 1x per week, if I'm lucky, but I'm an old fogie and really just do it for fun. My 9 yr old daughter rides two ponies, at least 5 times per week. And let me tell you it has made a HUGE difference. She rode for a whole year 1x lesson per week, and was barely cantering at the end of that year. Fast forward to the end of year 2, she is cantering courses of 2 ft and 2'3" on a variety of ponies and her room is filled with blue ribbons ;) People ask me how the significant change came about - it's ALL about saddle time.

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:39 PM
I try for three times a week, although it sometimes only ends up being two.

There's really no substitute for saddle time. The once-a-weekers I teach generally take longer to come along than those that ride at least twice a week.

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:40 PM
When my workload in class and at my internship allows, I ride my horse 5/6x a week. But this semester.. unfortunately it's been more like 1-2x a week! :(

We have the most improvement when we're riding and lessoning consistently - I'll be riding 5 days, but only taking a lesson every 2-3 weeks once we have perfected whatever we were working on in our last lesson. If you simply cannot get more ride time right now - don't sweat it! You have the ability to ensure that your future allows for as much riding as you want.

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:41 PM
6-7 days a week, 1-3 horses (mostly one ride a day recently, the other two horses are lame)

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:44 PM
I ride about 4-5 days a week. I am in the middle of selling my horse and finding another so it fluctuates and some weeks I may ride every day where others I'm only in the saddle 3 days but generally its 4 or 5. Experience makes all the difference. Some days I just hack and others I actually "work" my horse. We have a few girls that lease at our barn and just in the few months-year for some that they have been getting more saddle time is making a TON of difference for them in their riding.

Try to get more saddle time and I think you will find that you improve more quickly. Good luck!

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:47 PM
I ride my own horse at home about 2-3 days a week depending on how much homework I have and the weather. I also ride several horses on the weekend at various barns too.

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:50 PM
Ideally 6, I try most weeks to ride 6 times. Sometimes it's only 5 though.
I had 2 horses for a while so I was riding 10-12 times (ie. 2 horses, 2 rides per day) a week. Now that I sold my one horse (can't afford 2!) I have to beg my trainer for other's to ride!

Nov. 15, 2011, 11:58 PM
I ride my horse 5-6 times a week when we aren't at shows (two a month, usually). When we're at a show, he gets ridden 6-7 days a week. I also have the occasional catch ride at other barns.

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:03 AM
Multiple horses four times a week.

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:04 AM
Ideally, I would be able to ride 4-5 days per week. However, being in college and having a long commute to the barn, its more like 2 times per week.

For those of you who have a long commute to the barn (over an hour), how do you make it any easier?? Sometimes I feel like I live in my car, and I can easily put over 350 miles on my car in a week!

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:48 AM
I usually ride my show horse 4 days a week (trainer rides him the other 2) and I ride my semi-retired horse 1-2 days a week or more if weather allows. Three of those days on the show horse are lessons. I miss my horses too much after just one day off!

Nov. 16, 2011, 01:42 AM
3-7 days a week depending on my schedule and how many horses need to be ridden.

Nov. 16, 2011, 01:49 AM
I started out like you, was only riding in lessons (group lessons at that) once a week for about four years. At the end of that I was stringing together maybe three crossrails and really had no concept of what it was really like to ride, if you know what I mean. I had the basics down but that was about it.

Started doing a half lease which was three times a week of riding, two lessons and a hack day. HUGE improvement over the next year. Was comfortably doing full courses at 2'6", even did my first show. And then, bought my own horse ;)

Am now riding 4-5 days a week (darn full time job gets in the way) with three lessons a week, the rest hack time. Has made an even bigger difference in terms of my understanding how to ride. Even though fence height hasn't really increased (have done up to 3') I've still learned a ton but my progress isn't making dramatic leaps and bounds like it was that first year.

So yes...riding more will make a difference.

Nov. 16, 2011, 01:49 AM
Ideally, I would be able to ride 4-5 days per week. However, being in college and having a long commute to the barn, its more like 2 times per week.

For those of you who have a long commute to the barn (over an hour), how do you make it any easier?? Sometimes I feel like I live in my car, and I can easily put over 350 miles on my car in a week!

I ride 3 days a week if I'm lucky 4 and I put about 450-500miles on my car a week :no:

Nov. 16, 2011, 02:34 AM
Every day!

Nov. 16, 2011, 08:47 AM
usually 4-5 days... I have to make SOME time for family (and yard/housework!) it keeps DH happy. Otherwise, i would be there 6 days a week...

Nov. 16, 2011, 09:04 AM
I ride 2 horses 6-7 days a week although lately one of my boys is NQR so he's had time off :no:. Back in the day (if I'm allowed to say that) before college, I was riding 3 ponies in the morning, 2 horses around midday at a different location and another 2-4 in the afternoon at yet another location. I was by far in the best shape I ever was and noticed a HUGE difference in my ability, confidence and skill.

I would say to try and get more saddle time if you can. It really improves your riding! Not that you're ready for this yet, but also riding lots of different types of horses will DRAMATICALLY improve your skill once you have the basics.

Nov. 16, 2011, 09:05 AM
3-4 generally. I just don't have time for more during the year. Plus- its DARK! Never fun to leave your house when it's already dark and ride in the cold.

Nov. 16, 2011, 09:10 AM
6 days a week here. I'd ride 7, but my horse needs a break.

Nov. 16, 2011, 09:33 AM
i ride my 4 yr old 1-2 x a wk. still growing and learning. winter weather is not agreeing with any increase in ride time,especially when you don't have a covered area to ride in to do so.

Nov. 16, 2011, 09:55 AM
I work a regular 9-to-5-type job... weekdays I ride 2 nights a week, and weekends I usually try to get out both days if possible, so as long as I'm not out of town, it's a minimum of 3x/week, usually 4x.

I'd love to ride 5-6x/week, but I don't want my husband to feel like a barn widower; also, since we have a 100+-year old house and some property, there's always stuff that has to get done at home too.

Nov. 16, 2011, 09:56 AM
Well right now I don't get to ride at all (torn ACL), but normally I ride 7 days a week for about 20-30hours per week depending on my schedule. I have 6-7 horses that I have to rotate through. Of course, if there is a horse show my riding time increases significantly.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:25 AM
7 days a week, anywhere between 4 and 10 horses a day. I have the opposite problem, OP, I ride too much sometimes! It's all I do. And that can be a bit stressful.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:35 AM
foxhunt 2X a week
lesson 2x a week
fun hack or trail ride 1x a week.

If one of the hunts is cancelled I either add a trail ride or another lesson. Off season I do 3 lessons a week and add another trail ride

I have two horses and the rides are on one or the other, rarely both the same day. I don't work so I know I am blessed with lots of free time, although it doesn't feel like it.. I am always so busy.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:39 AM
Your OP suggests that you are frustrated with your lack of progress. It very well might be due to lack of riding time, but could be due to other factors as well.

I ride 6 days a week, sometimes multiple horses each day. As a young beginner, any time I rode frequently really helped me progress a great deal (ex. going from once a week lessons to being in a riding camp at my barn all summer with lessons every day). And now as an adult, I've found that when I started riding multiple horses each day, I got noticeably stronger and more confident. Saddle time does make a BIG difference.

But if you are frustrated with your lack of progression, I'd look at the whole picture. Assuming you ride a school horse, what are others able to do with him/her? Are there other physical or mental issues (fear?) that might be holding you back? Is the horse you are riding an appropriate level for you? I also found over time that I only was able to progress when I was able to ride a horse that was a really good fit and allowed me to work on myself at least part of the time. Sometimes riding green/difficult horses isn't the best recipe for making a rider feel like they are advancing in any noticeable way.

Good luck! :)

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:41 AM
Usually 5 days/week, sometimes I don't make it.

I think it's very hard to progress riding just once a week. I was in that situation when I was a kid/teen.

see u at x
Nov. 16, 2011, 10:49 AM
Usually about 5x a week. Usually Sun./Tues./Wed./Fri./Sat. That way he gets 2 or 3 days in a row and then a 1 day break.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:53 AM
My mare is still very young and growing so I top out at 3X weekly.
I May increase to 4X when she is older but I like to have a life outside of horses too. I like vegging! :lol:

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:59 AM
My mare is high energy and she thrives on lots of riding. Unfortunately I work 9 hours most days and have to commute 30 minutes each way to work and if I go to see my horse it is another 15 minutes as I live between horse and work. However, I usually ride 5-6 days per week. We do long trail rides on weekends and now that we are out of daylight just arena work during the week from 30 minutes to an hour (with a short hack down the road and back). In summer we do a lot more mid week trail rides. I miss my horse when I don't see her so it is hard for me to go more than one day without seeing her.

Nov. 16, 2011, 11:19 AM
My daughter rides 2 ponies a day 6 days a week, all that saddle time adds up to huge improvements on a regular basis.

Nov. 16, 2011, 11:55 AM
I ride 3 horses a day 6 days a week (well, morelike 2.5 since one is still very green) after work.

Saddle time makes the biggest difference, especially when learning!
Didn't some trainer write a book that said it takes 10000 hours to become a proficient rider? It's hard to get to that at one ride a week...

I'd look into half leaseing something, picking up extra rides when availible, or even finding a free lease (though that is more difficult when just starting out).

Good luck!

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:19 PM
I ride 6-7 days a week, multiple horses if I can fit it in, but this usually only happens on Saturday and Sunday, because I work full time, as well as work at the barn to supplement my riding. I drive about 400 miles a week, and have absolutely no time to do anything else..but I wouldn't want to do anything else!
I started riding less than two years ago. You want to talk about not being accomplished? Try being 21, trying to figure out how to post the trot, while the 9 year olds in the lesson are jumping and cantering circles around you. At first I rode once a week, and my progress was very slow...no one in the world has taken that long to figure out how to post, I swear to you. Then in the summer I rode twice a week, and began jumping. Then, in the fall, during a brief period of unemployment between jobs, I stayed out at the barn all day, everyday. Best decision I ever made. After I started my job I continued to come out to the barn each day and ride. This was last November.
Now, one year later I'm jumping my first 3ft verticals, successfully preforming 1st level dressage movements, riding a baby, and even have had opportunities to teach a few informal lessons.
While I am miles ahead of where I was a year ago, if I look at other people my age (I'm 23), who have their own farms, or make a living as a rider, or if I look at junior riders who win huge events, I feel like a total dud! You have to remember that it's all relative. You may not be able to take lessons more than once a week until college, or later. But you can't compare yourself to others. Trust me, I was terrified to be a beginner rider at 21, but I'm so happy I did it.
Okay, so all this to say:
Try to get more riding time. If you are unable to do this right now, be patient. You may have to wait until you can drive and have your own car.

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:40 PM
i have one horse and if i ride 4 days a week, that's a good week! usually sun/mon/wed/fri, weather and schedule permitting. now with it being dark by 5, i always have sun and mon, weather permitting, and then try to get out during the daytime at least one more day during the week...i need someone to chase my two year old (human) around and hubs is off on sun and mon.

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:43 PM
3-5 days a week.

I half lease three days and depending on the week and budget will lesson once or twice a week. My three days are usually two weeknights of dressage work and a w/t/c trail ride on the weekend.

My riding took a giant leap forward once I started riding that much. Once a week doesn't cut it, IME.

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:46 PM
I ride 6 days a week (two of those days I ride twice - IHSA team practice + my own horse). I have lessons 4 times a week (2x with my horse and 2x with the team).

More riding time and lesson time definitely helps you progress much faster than riding once or twice a week.

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:46 PM
Right now, I'm riding my green horse 3to 6 times a week, some long rides (up to an hour and a half, part ring work/part trails) and some short 20 min at the walk, if I don't have much time or want to work on one particular thing intensively, then stop.
I am not currently taking lessons, I get a "mini lesson" from a friend every so often and get someone to take pictures occasionally, but that's it.

Riding more often helps so much, even adding one extra ride per week will help you improve much faster. This past summer, I had one week where I was riding 4 very different horses, and riding 2 or 3 of them on any given day. Just in that short time, I felt like a completely different rider! And none of those rides were lessons, just getting on different horses that needed exercise.

Nov. 16, 2011, 01:27 PM
It's hard to ride as often as you'd like when there is not a program in place outside of weekly lessons. It's very difficult to make improvements. I ride 5-6 days a week but I also have my own horse. Prior to that I was taking 2 lessons a week and schooling whatever my trainer needed exercised which averaged out to 3-4 days of riding. Before that I was in only weekly lessons.

Nov. 16, 2011, 02:11 PM
OP, if there's a way for you to find another ride per week, try to make it happen. It's not always solely just taking more lessons or leasing (can be costly). Does your barn have a work exchange program? Are there boarders that need a butt in the saddle while they go on vacation? Some boarders or barn owners may want a more advanced rider of course but there's no harm in asking politely and being gracious/grateful for any opportunity!

If your barn isn't one in which individuals can find extra opportunities without owning or leasing, perhaps it'd be worth your time to look into new barns. From ages 8-13 I rode at one barn in group lessons once a week. Right about then it was beginning to frustrate me over the lack of progress I felt I was making. Lessons were too expensive to take additional ones per week, plus the groups were too large and most of the hour was not... Productive. So I started riding at a second barn much further away (but close to where my family spent weekends/had family members anyways so it wasn't a totally random trip). Until I was 16 I rode at both barns, one lesson at the original place and one lesson at the other, which was cheaper (with gas back then it was probably breaking even, but the amount of hands on learning and CHEAP schooling show opportunities were so great!)

Eventually, i quit the first barn and half leased an OTTB I was riding at the second barn. The quality of the lessons and showing opportunities were so much better. I was also able to go on trails, hunter paces, do some xc work, really learn about the retraining process with the OTTB.
It was much more than just saddle time, the quality and diversity of what I was being exposed to was what helped develop me as a horse person.

Other suggestions, since I know I'm rambling, would be to take one additional lesson per month, or if you aren't in private lessons now, take some of those from time to time instead. Look at the quality of training and whether your lessons are really as productive as they can be. Is there a lot of talking, dilly dallying, etc? Do the jumping exercises ever vary? Does your instructor explain things in a logical way or use effective visualizations?

Some things you can do: create a journal of notes after your rides. Review what you did, some key phrases or points from the instructor, what you had issues with and what went well.
Take pilates or yoga classes and work out if you don't. You don't have to go nuts but any bit of core work, balance and flexibility will help. I know how it feels to want to ride more than possible, but use that passion to keep yourself motivated.

Nov. 16, 2011, 02:27 PM
Yes, riding more times per week will make an enormous difference.

Other things that might help include
- exercises to strengthen your riding muscles (there are several books out)
- visualization. There have been studies that show, in basketball, spending half an hour a day IMAGINING "throwing hoops" leads to almost as much improvement as actually throwing hoops. So set aside time each day to visulaize your riding exercises. ANy sports psychology book shoul dbe able to explain the techniques.

So I don't own or lease my own horse, I just take a horse riding lesson once a week. I feel like it is taking me FOREVER to improve my riding... & every time I do improve something happens and I end up taking 2 steps back. I feel like I have been stuck at the same level of riding for years now. I am only 15 years old but I have been riding for 6-7 years, which isn't a long time, but I feel like I should have more accomplished then I do now. I am wondering if that is because I don't get enough time to ride. :/

Nov. 16, 2011, 02:57 PM
Certainly ask your trainer if she has another you can ride if possible. I used to be lucky enough to work for a BO and I was riding anywhere from 3-5 6 days a week. It was fantastic, I was in great shape and my confidence and skill level seemed to improve everyday. Unfortunately now I have a "grown up job" and sit in a chair 5 days a week, we have no indoor and it's dark when I leave the office. The fact that I can only ride on the weekends now has sucked. I don't ride as well, I'm not in the same shape and I hate it. Riding more will help you progress much, much faster.

Nov. 16, 2011, 04:58 PM
Thank you EVERYONE who has taken the time to read, answer & tell me about their "lesson experience" After I had an emotional breakdown last night(horse show coming up, difficult horses, broken helmet, ect) My mom & I sat down and talked about lessons. I wont be able to ride next week, since my instructor is gone for thanksgiving & she already has enough people helping at the barn. But, the next two weeks after that I will have lessons twice a week! It is pretty much just practice for the show because I have changed my mind on the horse I am going to ride & the last time I rode my other choice horse he bucked me off. :p But I have a GREAT feeling that those four lessons before the show(dec 10) will improve and help me out a lot!

Thanks everyone for your help! :)

Nov. 16, 2011, 05:39 PM
Glad to hear it, OP! whenever I feel like something has really thrown me for a loop, i try to have an extra lesson that week if my bank account will allow. Just having less time pass between lessons allows me to get into the groove more easily. Good luck with your show prep!

Nov. 16, 2011, 06:00 PM
Good luck at your show OP! I would recommend trying to work off extra rides and lessons at your barn. I used to do that all the time as a kid and once my trainer realized how dedicated I was she started recommending to the boarders that I ride their horses for them.

Flash forward 10 years and I am one of those boarders who needs a 15 year old to keep her horse in shape! I live in a barn apartment and my bedroom is literally directly on top of my horse's stall and I still only ride 3 times a week if I'm lucky. I usually ride both weekend days and I try to ride at least one evening during the week, but when I come home tired from work and it is dark and chilly, I have a hard time getting motivated to ride :(

My 15 year old self would kick my butt!

Nov. 16, 2011, 06:06 PM
4-5 days a week 4 horses/day under saddle weather depending, if not riding, 1-3 are free jumped or longed and depends on weather, no indoor.

Nov. 16, 2011, 06:09 PM
i ride everyday

Nov. 16, 2011, 07:37 PM
5-6 days/week on my own gelding. 2-3 of those are lesson days. I've made so much progress just by upping my lesson days from 1 to 2 times a week. It also helped that I got a new horse in June, one that is more suited to my level so I can work on ME and not all the crap she threw at me ;) That said, I'm very able to handle that kind of stuff should I ever encounter it again. So the 2 years with the mare was not wasted.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:06 PM
5-6 days a week and 2-4 horses a day. Time in the saddle makes all the difference as does learning to ride different types of horses. Why don't you try finding a half lease at the barn?

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:12 PM
Depends on my travel schedule. I try to ride 4-6x a week. When I travel sometimes I'm lucky if I get 2x in.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:25 PM
Six days/wk during the summer. During the school year I shoot for 4x/wk and sometimes make it, but usually it's 3 times. I refuse to ride less than 3x/wk unless I'm sick or traveling!

Nov. 16, 2011, 11:17 PM
OP, others have talked about working on fitness out of the saddle when you can't get to the barn. Martial arts, dance, yoga, and pilates all help with core strength, stamina, and body awareness. Regular running, swimming, or even biking to school (or to the barn) makes for great cardio.

Another thing you can do to help your horsemanship is to read and study. The classics can be pretty easy to pick up used on Amazon--and nibbling on de Kunffy or Podhajsky between rides can really help focus your efforts. Teaching yourself, rather than relying on your instructor, can help your independence and your ability to make and execute a plan. And watching good rounds or tests on YouTube, or learning to see distances by watching helmet cams, is easy and a good way to learn from the best riders.

Try to get an extra hack in weekly if you can't swing an extra lesson. And best of luck with that show. Let us know how it goes!

Tha Ridge
Nov. 16, 2011, 11:25 PM
Once a week. One of the perils of living in NYC.

But: don't let your once-a-week status deter you from showing or riding! I still show regularly and sometimes I end up only riding at the show, having not ridden for a week or more! :eek: It helps that I have a super-duper horse in my life right now who needs absolutely no prep and is still as fancy as the day is long, but believe me, it can be intimidating to go jump around a course having not ridden in a week!

(Of course, I do agree that a lot of saddle time can do wonders for your riding! In my past lives—read: pre-city, I've ridden 6 days per week, often 5+ horses per day, so there are admittedly benefits to both.)

Nov. 17, 2011, 08:52 PM
I, too, was once a once-a-week rider who was frustrated with my lack of improvement and saddle time. Fortunately I now own my own horse, but prior to this happening, there were a few things I did to improve my riding and general horse knowledge. Before I start, though, I'd like to point out the difference between "hanging" at the barn and "helping" at the barn. I'm sure you are a helper type- you seem dedicated and like you genuinely want to improve. Although I did spend a good deal of time at the barn before I was a boarder, I was rarely idle. There is always an aisle to be swept, a horse to be hand walked, a paddock or stall or saddle to be cleaned. It is ok to stop and take a break to watch lessons, just so long as you're taking a break from helping to watch and not from watching to help.

Obviously lessons are a great place to start. The basics and fundamentals are so important, and you are getting regular instruction, which is great. When I was in school-type riding lessons, I generally arrived about an hour before and stayed an hour after, weather and time permitting. This enabled me to have a chance to see some other riders ride, which is always a great learning experience. In addition to that, it gave me a chance to help out with the little kids, cleaning paddocks, raising jumps and adjusting tack- all great things that showed my instructor I was keen and wanted to do as much as I could.

Eventually, every few weeks, there would be a pony that was being bad for the w/t kids in the lesson before mine that needed a nice long canter with a 'big kid' (i.e., someone taller than 4'6 who knew how to steer). As I was often around for this and my darling instructor saw how keen I was, I became the person she asked to deal with the "crazies" (using this term lightly!). Sometimes, the riders in the lesson after me would have to hurry out and I would get to cool out their horses. Although it was just at the walk, it was still extra riding time.

My mother and I finally convinced my dad that my riding was not a passing hobby and I started riding twice a week- which doubled my saddle time and barn hours. Fortunately, my second ride was on a Saturday which left me at the barn for much of the day. Some of the older girls who had horses of their own began to see how keen I was to help and learn. I was then asked to ride a few of their horses once in awhile when they couldn't get out.

Now, as one of those older girls with a horse, I try to pay extra attention to the keen lesson kids who want extra horse time. One of them evolved to being one of the best part leasers I have ever heard of. I'd much rather give a ride to a well-deserving rider (even if they are not the most polished) than one of my friends with a horse of their own. Granted, my horse is a pretty good guy and relatively easy to w/t/c large- I don't know if I'd trust that many people to jump him safely but at least it is ride time.

Alternately to this, reading forums such as this one, magazine and books are all great ways to improve riding and horse skills without actually riding. On top of that, being as fit as you can is an important part of showing dedication, in my opinion. We expect our horses to be athletes and consequently, I try my best to be as fit as my horse is (granted it does slack sometimes). This will help you get the most out of your time in the saddle- when you are riding, you can focus on your equitation and the ride rather than how much your abs hurt or how out of breath you are (although, of course, this does happen to the fittest riders sometimes!).

To answer your original question; I am currently not riding as a result of my darling horse needing a few weeks off and school. However, I generally aim for 6 days a week in the summer (my horse goes twice a day twice a week for July/August as a result of a part-leaser, but she just hacks around and I generally just do some w/t in side reins on those days) and 4 days in the winter. I wish I lessoned more; I have a fabulous coach but this past school year our schedules did not always work out so generally went every 2nd week.

Wow. Sorry for the novel. Best of luck with your show and riding!