Glad you didn't get hurt. I was skimming this thread and warning bells were going off about the situation with the original owner. You are lucky the pony people stepped in. Hopefully one day you can learn to gallop for someone decent.
I was going to mention that it will be virtually impossible to get fit enough to gallop racehorses only riding one fairly easy one a day...you might learn the mechanics, but will lack in the strength department.
That being said, you can get semi fit on babies at a farm/training center, although usually they replace "pulling" with other types of antics! Anyway you cut it, learning to gallop is not for the faint of heart (not saying you are), and can humble even the most experienced show/event riders.
If I hadn't started when I was young, fearless and half crazy I don't know if I'd have had the heart to keep getting legged up every morning once I was a bit older. I galloped horses for about 30 years.
This is a great experience for any horseperson and you will have a wonderful time. But there is a physical learning curve for sure. I galloped horses for years before and during college. Things were easy when I was able to start in February on the farm or the training track - the horses and I were both fat and wooly and we got legged up together. When I had school and couldn't start until May, however, it was a very different thing to be jumping in with the on-the-muscle race-fit horses. Basically the whole first week I wept my way around the track with pain and fatigue, arms/back/legs shaking in an effort not to get run off with (which will happen eventually, by the way). I was actually quite fit at the time (runner, aerobics classes, regular riding) but galloping involves a new set of muscles. By Week Two things were much better, and by Week Three I was golden. Be sure you wear at least half-chaps to protect your lower legs - I still have scars on my inner shins from rubs.
Read and re-read the comments about how to use your hands and reins (avoid unnecessary shortenings that the horse may read as a signal to break and breeze). I haven't read all of the comments so I don't know if others have raised this point, but do not be tempted to ride in regular-length stirrups unless you are riding babies or very green horses. There is a learning curve for riding short and it will take you a while to get comfortable with it, but unless you are very strong you will need that leverage at times to control a strong horse.
I also see some people ride very rough, bouncing on the horse's back like they are riding some kind of machine rather than using themselves as shock absorbers. I think it is rude to subject any horse to that!
Whoops, just saw that your galloping career has ended shortly after it began. Still, you have had a valuable little peek into a rich world that very few horsepeople know anything about!
Last edited by visorvet; Apr. 11, 2013 at 04:38 PM.
Okay, so my saint of a horse REALLY ran off with me today and an outrider came and rescued me after two laps of our little training track. I did not panic, just couldn't pull him up and used up all my strength, and the horse is a good fellow with a good brain, so no silly antics, he just decided it was time to work when another worker passed us...
That's what I was warning about earlier, lol! Glad you are ok. Getting run away with is the worst feeling.