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Mukluk
Mar. 31, 2012, 09:00 PM
I wish I had the experience of great coaching/competitions as a kid. But that didn't happen. Anyone make a concerted effort to "make up for lost time" as an adult? I can't exactly be a working student but I would love to learn all that I can learn about horses both riding and care. Would love to know what others have done.

KateKat
Mar. 31, 2012, 11:40 PM
I'm with you. No experience as a kid so the learning curve has been huge both with riding and general knowledge.

What has been nice is a super helpful and knowledgeable trainer (she has taught me a ton not just about riding, but horse care). Dot be afraid to ask questions, and like you might do at a job, maybe seek out a very knowledgeable person at your barn who could serve as your "mentor". Someone who could always be your sounding board or could show you things your trainer might not have time for.

I read. A lot. Online and book resources.

I ride as much as I can, which is about 4-5 times a week on my own horse. My trainer has also been very gracious about letting me take the occasional lesson on a different horse.

I've also been to a few trainers in the area (as just a lesson student) and have learned different and valuable things from all. So I guess I'm saying another set of eyes is always helpful!

But yah...how awesome would it be if we could be a working student and not have to pay bills? If only I had won the mega millions... ;)

SarahandSam
Apr. 1, 2012, 08:42 AM
Me! I had about a year of sporadic Western lessons back when I was 11, but didn't learn or retain a whole lot from them... started up lessons again when I was 23. I had always been horse-crazy as a kid and read a ton, so at least I had theoretical knowledge, but it's definitely been a steep learning curve... buying a green horse when I was 25 probably taught me the most, because I have to get better at each thing that he's learning so that I'm not screwing him up, and that's my motivation...

Mukluk
Apr. 1, 2012, 11:11 AM
I guess I am sort of between a re rider and not. I did have a horse as a teenager but funds were low and I really had no formal training. I read a lot and did OK in the little schooling shows that I paid for with baby sitting money. I believe I have some good skills (balance, soft hands, confident attitude) and I can ride green/difficult horses. I have done all the riding on my OTTB and she does OK. I keep her at a western/trail riding place because she's happy there and it's cheap. I've been able to take lessons here and there but don't have the funds to keep her at a place where there is an in house trainer/regular lessons/people who ride better than I do to observe and learn from. I am considering going to such a place and offering to volunteer my time in exchange for learning as much as I can. (I work full time so it would probably have to be a weekend thing).

Justa Bob
Apr. 1, 2012, 11:27 AM
I would love to read what others are doing too!

My take: As an adult I may lack some flexibility and youthful athleticism, but I am much more patient, much smarter about how and what I learn, and more astute on who to believe and who to avoid.

Finding great, relaxed trainers who welcome questions and know when to push me has been a boon. I spend as much time as possible at the barn when the trainer or other experienced horsepeople are around. Volunteering for all sorts of barn tasks gives me a reason to hang out and be productive.

And I thank all the school horses and greenies that I have the luck of working with. They teach me the most! There are always a few of the older or odder horses that can use a bit more attention -- grooming, grazing, exercising.

I am having the time of my life. And it means more know than it ever would when I was younger. The feeling "so lucky" and joy is a constant present.

Its not all rainbows and sunshine...how do others keep motivated to keep in shape to ride and to make time for this passion? ( W/O having the family, DH, turn on you with pitchforks!? )

Thanks OP for starting this topic. Very curious too!

AirForceWife
Apr. 1, 2012, 07:14 PM
I'm not alone! I worked for a lady when I was in high school doing basic barn care while she was out at shows with her show horse. I stayed back and took care of the guys who were retired. I have almost zero ride time but I can do the care part at least. I'm now looking at moving into the show scene since I get to move back to the US and I hope I get off to the right foot!

Come Shine
Apr. 1, 2012, 07:52 PM
If you are an adult brand new to riding and would like to learn about both horse care and riding, I have found using our provincial Learn-To-Ride Program to be a great outline of skills to teach. My students can download the manual at no cost and print it off to follow along with the skills as we learn them.

http://www.horse.on.ca/files/CO_2009_english_candidate_material-e.pdf

There are also manuals they can buy to go along with program. Kind of a condensed pony club type program.

Good luck and have fun learning!

Mukluk
Apr. 1, 2012, 10:31 PM
Wow! Thanks for the link! I also brought out my copy of centered riding as I love all the analogies that she offers.

stolen virtue
Apr. 1, 2012, 11:57 PM
Well, I am a rerider because I started riding at the tender age of 30. I also cared for a barn of 40 horses at that time and that taught me the most.

I hope that bringing home the baby OTTB will help me get back into my 30 something year old self....we can dream on this board right ????

Justa Bob
Apr. 2, 2012, 12:50 AM
Come Shine - very fun link with clear text and great graphics. Pony club for adults!

stolen virtue - getting to work in that barn is priceless. For two years I got to do a bit of the same. But cold hosing rehab horses' in the dead of winter made me glad when I snagged a cushier desk job. Desperately miss the herd of friends and horses -- but not the wash rack and cold hose!

Dewey
Apr. 2, 2012, 04:53 AM
I wish I had the experience of great coaching/competitions as a kid. But that didn't happen. Anyone make a concerted effort to "make up for lost time" as an adult? I can't exactly be a working student but I would love to learn all that I can learn about horses both riding and care. Would love to know what others have done.

I recommend the Pony Club manual of horsemanship. Back in the day, there was just one, but now there are several, corresponding with the levels.

http://www.amazon.com/United-States-Pony-Manual-Horsemanship/dp/0876059523

Come Shine
Apr. 2, 2012, 11:34 AM
Wow! Thanks for the link! I also brought out my copy of centered riding as I love all the analogies that she offers.

You're welcome! I like using Centered Riding with my adult riders, too.

Have fun!!

dreaminOTTB
Apr. 2, 2012, 01:55 PM
I COMPLETELY get what you're talking about! I sort of find myself in between a '"re-rider" and not. I did ride some as a kid, but I wasn't one of those riders who got a lot of training, lots of experience on a range of horses and was at horse shows every weekend. I hopped on whatever horse I could find, did a camp here or there, and trail rode at every vacation. That was about it. So, mostly self-taught.

Then I got the chance to come back to it at the age of 26. Still fairly young, but much older than those 7-8 year old beginners hopping around the barn. One thing I notice - I don't bounce as easily as they do! I took lessons for awhile, leased for short period, and now have my own horse, a wonderful OTTB gelding. Balancing work, home, and barn is hard, but I wouldn't give it up for anything.

laskiblue
Apr. 2, 2012, 02:17 PM
I started to ride at age 44 with no experience other than the occasional fairground pony ride as a child. I took about six or seven lessons at one place in 2006 before they discontinued their entire lesson program. Almost a year later, I started taking weekly lessons at another facility. A year after that, I bought my mare. Between some health problems and economic reasons, I had to stop taking lessons near the end of 2010 and haven't ridden much since, though I still have my mare and spend time with her where she's boarded as much as my work schedule allows. I wish I could take lessons again as it makes me a confident rider in my own time on my mare, but all in good time.

Come Shine, that is a great link and I'm looking forward to reading through it. I have an Amazon gift card and I think I will cruise on over there to see if I can find a used copy of Centered Riding.

ETA: I found a used copy in good condition for a grand total of $8.38 including shipping. It's on its way. :-)

Ozone
Apr. 2, 2012, 03:25 PM
Now this is a thread where I fit in but never posted it myself! I've been riding since 7 now later 30's and I have been riding all my life however, I grew up in a barn of mostly western hack horses. Most of the time I never got the chance to ride but I alway had the chance to clean stalls, handle a variety of horses and all other barn chores. When I did get to ride it was that of just riding! No trainer to tell me what I was doing or why the horse was doing what. I basically self taught myself how to ride.

When I was a bit older I got my first green as grass horse. I trained him myself and felt I did a great job. I rode various young and older horses along the way and was able to hop on a green horse and within a matter of a month or two take the horse to a local circuit of horse shows over a course of 8 fences.

Now you may think I don't fall into the category of adult re-rider or adult rider because I did things and went some where even if it was a small place but honestly I am! Because I had no direction of trainer I never learned the little but huge things that make a horse. My riding and training my own horses have left myself and those horse of the past with "swiss cheese training"! They had holes and I still have holes that I work very hard now to fill in.

That was a long time ago and I have since found myself in with good trainers and nicer horses but I wish I had the guidance as a kid because as a kid you absorb more, your focus is all horse unlike today being an adult with a family and other commitments. Now riding the green horse has a whole different outlook as it did when I was a kid.

What I DID get out of having no trainer was I can run a boarding barn with my eyes closed ;) Most of the barns I was at rarely let me ride but I was always good enough to run their whole barn :) So in the end I did get something that has no cheese holes LOL.

Trevelyan96
Apr. 2, 2012, 05:32 PM
My riding lessons as a kid consisted of being taught how to groom, muck, and tack up with a western saddle. For 2 years I had unlimited access to my neighbors trail broke horses, but really had no formal instruction, and it showed.

I was lucky enough to find a great h/j trainer in my late 30's when I finally had the time/resources to learn to really ride. Learnng from this person led to a free lease with a very knowledgable and involved owner who mentored me in the finer points of horse care.

I also read every book on care and training I could get my hands on and feel fortunate to have been associated with good horsemen from the very beginning who helped me hone my 'horse sense' enough to know the good from the stupd, crazy, and dangerous.

Roxx
Apr. 2, 2012, 07:31 PM
Great thread! I didn't start riding till I was 27! Started once a week lessons and that turned into part boarding and then at 29 while pregnant with my first child I bought my mare with a friend. Whoa this sounds kind of crazy LOL! Anyway the first 3 years of owning my horse was a huge learning curve but I continued lessons religiously. Now that my mare is dead broke (most of the time) I love to show her when I can afford it :)
It's my passion and my getaway and having a great trainer helps!

Mukluk
Apr. 2, 2012, 09:06 PM
Wow. I have really enjoyed all the responses. I am glad to know that there are others who have similar situations. I guess I was largely self taught (I did read and re-read the edition of George Morris's Hunt Seat Equitation that was available at the time). Also because finances were an issue I rode bareback for a year before I had a saddle (this was a good thing). On the other hand, the horse I had was not terrifically athletic so really have no experience jumping much higher than 2'9 at the highest. So here I am 48 wanting to learn more about riding and more about horse care (I have decent basics in each but I also know that there is a lot that I don't know). I hope to be showing 2'9 followed by 3'3 and that's probably as high as I will aspire to- though you never know. Yes I wish I could have had a stronger riding/horse care background as a kid but I also feel fortunate that I am able to have a horse in my life and ride as an adult.

stolen virtue
Apr. 2, 2012, 11:49 PM
Well I hope to be back showing jumpers or hunters soon. AND I have watched so much George Morris that Mr. Stolen can perform a pretty good inpression of him !

I'm taking my baby OTTB back either this weekend or next month and I think I'm up to the challenge. Love having horses in my life.... beats the high blood pressure any day....

Kato
Apr. 3, 2012, 01:20 AM
I sat on my first horse when I was 30 -- and at the time couldn't have told you the difference between english and western riding -- I just had no idea! At first I took lessons mainly just on long holiday weekends. Then I increased to once a week. After another year I was up to twice a week. Another year later it was 3x...and another year later I took the really big plunge and bought my first horse.

I would say read everything you can get your hands on - George Morris, Centered Riding, William Steinkraus, pony club manual, ... Lots to be learned from all disciplines! Also, I would say the key for me has been to get the best instruction you can afford. I don't have lots of time, due to the rest of my life getting in the way (LOL!), and even these days count myself lucky to ride my horse 3 or 4 times a week. I try to show maybe 6 times a year, because for whatever reason, going to the shows gives me a great way to focus on trying to be a better rider. Some years have been worse (no showing at all), and some have been better. It's definitely been a journey. As another poster remarked, being an adult you really appreciate it all (both the journey and the results), and I feel very blessed to have my wonderful horse in my life.

The learning curve has been steep and difficult, and it seems the more I know, the more I realize I don't know. And the more I learn, the more I see how much more there is to learn. Who knew?! I ask a lot of questions, from other riders, trainers, my farrier, the vet. No matter how much I know, there is more out there to learn than I will probably know in my lifetime.

If you have time to volunteer at a local barn, I think you would halve the time of my learning curve. I wish I had more time to spend, but I'm already maxed out between work and family obligations. Just make sure you're enjoying the experience, and I don't think you can go wrong.

Hinderella
Apr. 3, 2012, 11:42 AM
Just curious OP, why and later posters, do you say "not" a re-rider? Is it because you've had no gap in your riding time?

CoriC
Apr. 3, 2012, 01:39 PM
A great resource is EquestrianCoach.com, they have so many videos that cover topics that range from beginner to advanced, like how to learn your diagonals to schooling the triple combination. I think the best part about the site is that it really fills in the gaps, those questions you feel silly about asking your trainer or a concept you just don't get are all covered. And they are covered by greats like George Morris, Rodrigo Pessoa, Laura Kraut, Cynthis Hawkins (renowned judge and trainer) Missy Clark (top equitation trainer) etc.
One friend of mine (an adult who just got into horses a few years ago) is converting from western to english and he finds the series of videos on the site about the 'Forward Riding System' very helpful since he has been having a hard time going from the western seat to the h/j seat which is so more forward .
I also saw this comment on the Equestriancoach Facebook page a few months ago which I felt really spoke to me and the minute I read your post it jumped back into my mind.
"I just wanted to let you know how much EquestrianCoach has meant to me. I'm a 48 year old mom who started riding 5 years ago. So often I have had silly questions that I don't want to ask, because I've obviously missed some fact along the way. Your videos are the perfect solution. I've watched almost all of them at least once. I often watch things one frame at a time, especially if a horse if jumping through a series of jumps, in order to see exactly what you are pointing out. For me it has been the perfect supplement to my regular lessons and has brought a much sharper focus to my flat work practice. I'm sure the videos take a lot of time, and the contributions of many, to produce, but the result is outstanding. Thank you so much- Sally Reichert"

Another cool thing about Equestriancoach.com is they have some old videos and photos showing how riding as we know it came to be. (Like how it went from leaning back over the jumps to 'leaning forward'). I found these videos and the explanation really interesting (partially because I love history). Anyhow good luck in your riding journey!!
P.S. I also agree with the above posts I love Centered Riding by Sally Swift!

KateKat
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:02 PM
Just curious OP, why and later posters, do you say "not" a re-rider? Is it because you've had no gap in your riding time?

Its because there was no riding in our youth to later pick it up again as an adult (at least for me). So I do not consider myself a re-rider. I didn't actually start *really* riding (as a kid I did a couple of rental string trail rides and one week long horse camp) until I was 24.

dreaminOTTB
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:08 PM
Just curious OP, why and later posters, do you say "not" a re-rider? Is it because you've had no gap in your riding time?

The way I understood "re-rider" was that it meant someone who rode as a child, took a break for whatever reason (high-school, college, marriage, kids, whatever) and then came back to riding.

The people who are saying they are NOT re-riders I think are emphasizing the fact that they came to riding much later, without the opportunity or benefit of training/lessons as a child. I had very limited lessons as a child so while I technically could be called a "re-rider," I'm more likely someone who started into riding as an adult. Most of my riding as a child was self-taught.

I think I've got it right?

Opus1
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:22 PM
I guess I am sort of between a re rider and not.

That's kind of where I am, too. I didn't take a proper lesson until I was in college, since they had their own barn/horses, on-staff trainer and even offered college riding classes. I did that for about 2 years (showed in a handful of walk-trot IHSA classes), then went out into the world with no money for horses. Fast forward 13 years, and here I am again.

I read a LOT. And what I can't make heads or tails of on CoTH, I pester my trainers about. In fact, about 10-15 minutes of every lesson is me asking questions. And if something can't be answered in my lesson, I save it for an unmounted lesson for when it's too hot to ride, it's rainy, etc.

So far, I've learned about vaccinations/wormings/Coggins while the vet was out, did polo wraps and played around/asked questions about the various horse boots, horse conformation, lunging/free lunging, etc. One of my trainers even gives me homework sometimes to test me on what I learned.

I think the biggest 'woe is me' part of all of this is how I kind of missed the whole barn rat aspect. For instance, right now, I have the whole week off and nothing really planned outside my normal lessons. I'd love to just ask 'Hey, can I come hang out at the barn today, maybe groom/wash some horses, clean tack, play with the barn cats, etc?' But I'm 33. And I'd feel kind of (really?) weird doing that, especially since I don't have a horse of my own right now.

Oh, and you know there's already been several 'adult re-riders' who are posting here ... You're more than welcome to come hang out in our thread. :)

Justa Bob
Apr. 3, 2012, 02:29 PM
I'd love to just ask 'Hey, can I come hang out at the barn today, maybe groom/wash some horses, clean tack, play with the barn cats, etc?' But I'm 33. And I'd feel kind of (really?) weird doing that, especially since I don't have a horse of my own right now.

Yeah, it can be weird depending on the age group at your barn. Luckily, the barns I ride at have a wide range of ages and SUPER dedicated trainers to educating newbie adults.

Hanging out and volunteering at my barns makes all the difference. You learn so fast, there is always work to do, and its fun to be at the right place at the right time.

Talking directly to the trainer about my goals opened the door...

KateKat
Apr. 3, 2012, 03:20 PM
I think the biggest 'woe is me' part of all of this is how I kind of missed the whole barn rat aspect. For instance, right now, I have the whole week off and nothing really planned outside my normal lessons. I'd love to just ask 'Hey, can I come hang out at the barn today, maybe groom/wash some horses, clean tack, play with the barn cats, etc?' But I'm 33. And I'd feel kind of (really?) weird doing that, especially since I don't have a horse of my own right now.




Not weird at all! I get every other Friday off and on those Fridays I normally spend a good portion of the morning hanging out at the barn after my lesson. Sometimes I get some hack rides, sometimes its just hanging out with my barn mates/talking to my trainer/tidying things up. But if I have the time, I'm usually always asking if there is something else I can do. In fact, this last Sunday I went a little bonkers and swept the whole barn, picked up and folded everyone's blankets, then cleaned the community brushes.

Honestly I don't think anyone would give you a second look if you asked to show up and clean tack, roll polos, help groom, etc etc. Especially if you're providing those services for free! ;) It never hurts to ask and the worst they can say is "no" (although I don't my trainer ever has NOTHING for people to do. There is always stuff to do). And even then, I LOVE watching other people's lessons, or watching my trainer ride. Or, if someone is schooling and needs jumps up, being ring crew is fun too!

lintesia
Apr. 3, 2012, 07:46 PM
I rode on and off as a kid, with never any consistency because horses were just not part of our budget. This continued until my early 40's when my circumstances changed and I got my first horse. Although during the previous year I had leased a horse and was now riding 3 - 4 times a week with a H/J trainer, the enormous responsibility of horse ownership made me realize how little I actually knew. I was an adult pony club wannabe!

A year after I got my horse (during which time I went from Rusty Stirrup to 2'6" - 2'9") he was laid up with a suspensory injury. When it was clear he would be laid up for many months and would then require a very slow rehab, I decided to use the time to fill in the huge gap in my knowledge of practical horse care (I didn't even know how to muck out a stall correctly!). With tons of support from my friends and DH, I went off to Yorkshire, England, and did 3 months of intensive BHS training. This was followed by 6 more weeks of intensive training up in Scotland. At the end, I had passed the exams for Stage 3 of Riding and of Stable Management. The riding portion including jumping a 3'3" stadium round and a 3' cross country round. The Stable Management portion including everything from anatomy to first aid to managing the day-to-day operation of a 6-horse barn. The only part I didn't do was the teaching (I will always be an amateur!).

One of the things that really prepared me for going off to do this was the 6 months that I spent as a "working student". This was for a dressage trainer, who was extremely supportive of my plans. Certainly in my part of the world, one sees the adult women (amateurs) helping out dressage trainers rather than hunter/jumper trainers. The H/J trainers typically have a hispanic staff to do all the grooming and tacking up, etc. Assistant trainers do the extra riding. But with the dressage trainers, there's often the opportunity to do the grooming and tacking up and getting loads of experience through that. I'm sure this scenario is different in different parts of the country, though.

Another thing that really inspired me was a woman at my H/J barn who was not just a beautiful rider but a very involved and knowledgable horsewoman. When I learned from her that she had learned everything after she got her first horse while in her 40's, I realized I could too.

Best of luck!

laskiblue
Apr. 3, 2012, 11:31 PM
Just curious OP, why and later posters, do you say "not" a re-rider? Is it because you've had no gap in your riding time?

I was literally a total beginner at age 44. No re-riding there. :)

stolen virtue
Apr. 4, 2012, 12:05 AM
Its because there was no riding in our youth to later pick it up again as an adult (at least for me). So I do not consider myself a re-rider. I didn't actually start *really* riding (as a kid I did a couple of rental string trail rides and one week long horse camp) until I was 24.

Yes, Rerider implies haven riden as a child. I did not ride as a child unless I could catch it and hop on-yes I did do that. My older guy I stopped showing in 2007 and he went lame July 2010 so I have taken time off. I also took 1997 & 1998 off for my lovely daughter to be born, I just could not stay away from horses and bought my older guy in Oct. 1998. Mr stolen did not speak to me for two weeks after I bought him-still has a chip on his shoulder about the horses....oh, well.

Mukluk
Apr. 4, 2012, 12:31 AM
Just curious OP, why and later posters, do you say "not" a re-rider? Is it because you've had no gap in your riding time?

OK I'm the OP. I think of re-rider as someone who was pretty accomplished as a junior and took time off and returned to riding. I rode as a teenager but certainly not at a competitive level- as mentioned I was pretty much self taught. No real coach- plain grade horse. I had a HUGE gap (20+ years) before I rode again. So I'm a re-rider sort of but I lack the experiences that I think most folks calling themselves "re-riders" had.

Dewey
Apr. 4, 2012, 05:13 AM
Regardless of whether or not any of you folks rode in your youth, I'd like to reiterate Opus' encouragement to visit the re-rider thread. It's been a friendly place for us "mature" riders to talk about our concerns and support each other.

Trakehner
Apr. 4, 2012, 08:08 AM
Making up for lost time! Bless you for wanting to learn...too many "adult onset" riders dont' care about the nuts & bolts of horses/their care/husbandry/barn stuff---and it shows.

Read a bunch of books...everythign from "Horses for Dummies" to the pony club manuals (US & British ones, both excellent). I did pony club through A level a long time ago, great info.

Find an instructor who can teach adults. Lots of mediocre kid-leaning instructors, not many good adult-targeted instructors. Adults learn differently, they know they don't bounce as well/if at all.

Run away from the "televangelist" trainers with DVDs and equipment for sale (e.g. Parelli, Pony Boy, Lyons). Watch a local trainer work with students, take a lesson with various instructors to see who you mesh with. You're paying them, they should be teaching you and paying attention to your needs vs. you fitting their programme.

Have fun, if you don't have fun, you're doing it incorrectly and are probably being taught incorrectly. Join a riding club, trail riding club etc. Attend lectures about horse topics, go to a clinic as an "auditor" and watch. Often you'll find other instructors at these clinics hoping to pick up a hint or two.

You're an adult, you don't have to fit anyone's mold or expectation on how you'll ride and what type of horse you'll buy/rent/lease etc. You get to do what you want. No one's suggestion or way of working with horses is the "right way"...they're all one way to do it that may not work for you. It's why some own mules, others arabs or TBs...no one breed is better intrinsicaly than any other, some are just a lot better at some facets of riding.

Have fun and don't believe everything you hear.

abv1269
Apr. 4, 2012, 11:58 AM
Hi guys! I'm an adult, rode as a kid, had a very good trainer in terms of knowing her basics and instilling them in me, but she had 2 lesson horses and they were a QH and an Appy. I was dirt poor, took 1-2 lessons a month and if I ever showed, it was 4H level. I didn't care, I was in heaven just to be there with the horses.

I'm now 42, am blessed enough to have my own horse, and my former trainer is my lifelong best friend. My daughter is now borrowing her daughter's first pony. My son also rides my mare.

I am, I guess, trying to make up for lost time, or be the best I can be, pretty much the way KateKat and everyone else is.

Found a good trainer, and I'm a clinic junkie-- audit all I can make it to and if I am lucky enough to ride in one- HEAVEN!

I have a formidable DVD and book library, which I utilize all the time.

Also have some online video subscriptions, like to EquestrianCoach.com and FEItv. Basically, if it's a gift giving event like birthday or Christmas, my relatives just renew one of my magazine or online subscriptions for me. :)

And I try to read blogs and stuff I find online, and hang around anyone who knows more about horses than I do. LOL

Fun Size
Apr. 11, 2012, 01:52 PM
Sorry for the delayed reaction, but this is me! I started lessons in college at about 21, and didn't really find my way to a real trainer until I was about 25. I went from a "lesson barn/tack your own" type place where I learned a ton about horse care, and then to a "real" trainer/show barn. I was so lucky, because they basically put me back on a lunge line and started me from square one back in about 2008. I'm pretty impressed that they took me from lunge line to Rusty Stirrup year end champ in a little over 2 years. Due to budget, I had to stick with my "old man," but sticking with him at the same 2'6" height got me comfortable there and let me work on foundation.

Now, about 2 years ahead of schedule, I've purchased my first "young" horse - a 5 year old WB mare who is amazing. To fund that, I started working full time again, so I only get to lesson/ride her on the weekends, but that is ok because my trainer gives her the pro rides she need during the week. Things are going unbelievably well - probably because the new mare jumps anything you put in front of her and is really forgiving.

I recommend that you read everything you can get your hands on, like the above poster, and just spend as much time at the barn as you can. After 3 years of riding, I finally got to the point that trainer would let me "hack" the steady eddies, and I would make myself available to sit on anything he would let me. The year I didn't really work that much (no jobs!) I rode 6 days a week almost, and tried to hack at least 1 other horse - and sometimes got to do 2 or 3!

Other than that, watch everything. Other lessons, shows, everything...and see if you can sit where you can see the trainer. Know that what is being said may not apply to you, but it is all theory. DON'T get into my habit of getting all inside your head and over thinking things if you do this, though - it can make you freeze up and think one thing while your body ignores you :)

Keep it up!

Hinderella
Apr. 12, 2012, 12:33 PM
OK, now I get the re-rider thing. I'm sure it does make a difference. I did ride as a child, although I did not show, or jump, or have lessons with BNT's :) But I do believe that time in the saddle as a child helps tremendously with the hardwiring. I never really have to think about heels down, it was drilled into me completely and came back easily. Now bouncing off the ground...that's left the building completely.

mayfair
Apr. 12, 2012, 01:53 PM
OK, now I get the re-rider thing. I'm sure it does make a difference. I did ride as a child, although I did not show, or jump, or have lessons with BNT's :) But I do believe that time in the saddle as a child helps tremendously with the hardwiring. I never really have to think about heels down, it was drilled into me completely and came back easily. Now bouncing off the ground...that's left the building completely.

This is very true. I rode most every day through my teen years- nothing fancy and accomplished. But when I returned to riding decades later some of that "feel" came back...those years were not completely lost. I still am not doing anything fancy but I think without those years in the past I would have to think about everything, whereas a few things are natural so I am not starting from square one.

sfa2010
Apr. 12, 2012, 02:22 PM
Hello All,
I've been reading the threads on the site for a couple months now...doing the reading and observation part of my learning. dreaminOTTB it sounds like you and I are in the same boat. I took a few week long summer camps around age 11-13, learned the basics of tacking, cleaning and how to walk trot basic form etc. I trail rode any excuse I had, vacations, anniversaries etc...but never had a horse of my own.
I started lessons going on 3 months ago now, only taking them twice a month (due to finances). The trainer I found is younger, however she knows her horse stuff and seems to be just what I need right now! She's a good price for an hour private lesson and is very patient. According to her I seem to have retained the posture lessons and familiarity with my seat...past that I'm a novice. I'm hoping to maybe do some sort of show in 6-9 months, just to prove to myself what I've learned. Then hopefully one day the fiance and I will have a place of our own and the $$ to afford a ride of my own. I'm really glad to find a group where so many people seem to be going through the same thing. I'm not sure about everyone else, but getting little sneering looks from 11-12 year old show girls is quite entertaining at times. :)

Justa Bob
Apr. 17, 2012, 12:09 AM
Now bouncing off the ground...that's left the building completely.

How about sliding down the neck and taking the bridle with you? I have lucked into finding an experienced eventer, who happens to have opinions even about cross rails. Definitely the easiest "fall" yet...and didn't need to bounce.

Is it customary when working with a new trainer to give high five after the first fall (that is not serious)? I think the trainer was more relieved than I was to have that out of the way. If I continue with this horse, I think there are more falls coming...

Having the time of my life. Great reading others adventures.

SarahandSam
Apr. 17, 2012, 06:41 AM
How about sliding down the neck and taking the bridle with you? I have lucked into finding an experienced eventer, who happens to have opinions even about cross rails. Definitely the easiest "fall" yet...and didn't need to bounce.

Ooh, I did that! On a very small pony--she stumbled after the jump and her head went down; I ended up sitting in the middle of her tiny little neck, holding the entire bridle in my left hand and with my right arm in a strangle hold around her neck to stop her, until she halted and I put my feet on the ground, still sitting on her neck, and then stepped off over her head. I still have no idea what the hell happened. All of this was within about three strides from landing.

Pally
Apr. 17, 2012, 07:38 AM
I have thought of a new term for those of us "between a re-rider" and not, as in those of us who rode informally as kids, didn't stop, and only later on started receiving quality training. Pre-riders. We were always trying to develop our skills (look how many posts on here say read all you can get, etc), and to some degree we probably had some success in the general horse sense, feel, and balance department. But it's after some hands on directed coaching, that all the little things start to fall into place. The only downfall, is our bad habits tend to be deeply ingrained, because no one stopped us (how many of you look down constantly?)

For me, I have been lucky to have a some great training and great horses to ride in the past couple of years, and I'm riding better than I ever thought possible, and still improving leaps and bounds. Keep enjoying what you are doing, and doing the beat you can, and you may also find that suddenly your success snowballs.

sfa2010
Apr. 17, 2012, 01:18 PM
You are so right on the iron clad bad habits. I've chosen to ride English because I think it'll let me learn the "finer" parts of riding (for lack of a better reason). I've improved on alot of my posting control and balance over the past couple of months, and am finally looking ahead and not down at the ground consistantly....but I CAN NOT seem to keep my heels down! Anyone have any tips for this? I always find that at a trot my boots start to slip forward until my heel is at the iron and I usually have to slow to a walk to regain to proper positioning. Anyone have any tips, drills etc that I could try?

Justa Bob
Apr. 19, 2012, 10:17 AM
going to the shows gives me a great way to focus on trying to be a better rider.

If you have time to volunteer at a local barn, I think you would halve the time of my learning curve.

You are so right about showing and improving. Showing is the last thing I want to do -- but it is the best way to really focus and reach for new challenges. Thank goodness for schooling shows!

Time is such a challenge -- the more time I can eek out to be at the barn the faster I learn too! Finances matter too when balancing family and life -- thankfully my current barn is all about riding skill and about needing the newest or fanciest tack. Making do really enables being to take more lessons and get more riding time.

Riding with a horse trainer is also a boon. I can either afford lessons or a horse -- but not both. So all my resources go into lessons. And there are horses that need exercise -- so some rides are free (and priceless).

Justa Bob
Apr. 19, 2012, 10:27 AM
.but I CAN NOT seem to keep my heels down!

One trainer (a local BNT) once remarked that keeping the heels down was not that critical and depended upon how flexible the rider was. Esp if you extended your heel to the max -- there would be no flexibility or give. The heel/ankle needs some give to absorb motion and flex (enables maintaining balance while riding).

Two things that are helping me: 1) had a good massage therapist work on my tendons and muscles of ankles and calves to release tension. Hurt like the dickens but increased my ankle flexibility! If your calves are tight, you can't stretch down. Same for tendons.

2) Find a stair step. Hang ankle over edge and practice stretching and balance. Squat down and mimic riding. Strengthens quads, calves. Stretches calves and ankle. Improves balance. Provides endless comic relief for family to watch.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Apr. 19, 2012, 12:06 PM
I started riding "formally" in law school (I guess the random trail ride as a horse-crazy little girl doesn't make me a re-rider ;)). Once a week lessons at a H/J barn. I was jumping 2'6" by the second week or so. I thought I was pretty hot stuff. :) Then after I graduated, I moved out to SD, found the one H/J trainer, and also discovered that without the pre-programed pony I was rather lacking. She taught me flat work and then eventually let me jump again. ;)

I have owned way too many horses in the 10 years since then--in retrospect I should have focused on lessons instead of project horses (failed ropers, OTTBs, etc.).

Then I did a REALLY brilliant thing! I have always had a soft spot for Galoubet A. Well wouldn't you know that an aged Galoubet A/Abdullah mare shows up at the barn, and I decided to buy her and breed a foal (video is in my tagline below). At least I am realistic about this one. I'm a much more competent dressage rider than I am jumper. It's like I'm the Taurus driver who owns a car that should be doing Formula 1. So, I have high hopes of being the "owner" and having a trainer campaign her for awhile assuming she continues to develop like I think/hope she will. I don't regret breeding her, and actually I have become a bit obsessed with breeding/bloodlines/functional conformation/etc. It has been a fun journey.

My last project horse/rehab is now helping kids at a theraputic riding cente,r and I have decided to NOT buy a next horse. My husband is a teacher and is going to manage a pool this summer, which means he works until 9pm. I will have evenings completely to myself for the first time in 11 years. So I am going to start taking lessons again!! I'm so excited. Even though the barn is 45 minutes away, it will be ok because no one is waiting on me.

We will see where it goes from there. :)