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Learning to trail ride as a total newbie?

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  • #41
    My husband never sat on a horse before he met me. I insisted on starting him in an arena with the basics on a saint of a horse. We got him a proper helmet and a saddle that fit him (and that was tough -- he's 6'6" and 250 lbs.). But when it came to posting trot and learning to canter, I had a male dressage/eventing instructor work with him. I didn't want to attempt to teach him to post - it's different for men than for women.

    After that, we started with easy trail rides and progressed from there. And mercifully, we got him a wonderful horse who knew the difference between my husband who was a beginner (and took care of him appropriately) and me, who took him into the show ring (no breaks for you, lady!).
    Why do I like most horses better than most people?

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    • #42
      First, you learn how to sit a horse and learn to control the horse in the school.

      Second, you move to an open field and learn to apply the lessons you learned in the school.

      Third, you go out with experienced riders/horses and apply the lessons "in the real world".

      Fourth, you go out by yourself or with other riders of more limited experiences and keep applying the lessons you learned in the school.

      People have been "trail riding" horses for about 14,000 years. It ain't "rocket science."

      G.
      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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      • #43
        I would say I'm in the middle somewhere. I don't think someone needs formal lessons to go out and trail ride, but I'm not going to throw a rank newbie up on a horse and just head out, either. It completely depends on the person, the horse, and how much of a "natural" they are. If we start out in the corral and the person can't even get the horse to stop or turn, I'm not going to take them out until they have the basics down. If after five minutes, a person can make the horse go, stop, turn, and get off and on without banging on the horse's mouth or leaning sideways, then I'll feel reasonably comfortable with hitting the open trail. We have several newbie-safe horses who can teach without being push-button "trail plugs", but who also aren't going to take advantage of the situation and put their rider in jeopardy. We live on a ranch, so the kids have been out on the trails in the saddle since they could walk, learning as they go. With an older person, I can see how learning the basics first would be a definite help.
        Life is short. Ride your best horse first.

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        • #44
          BensMama, I'd say I was 'in the middle somewhere' too- after all I galloped all over creation from ages 5 to 8 before I ever had a lesson- but in addition to prior points made, the sad fact these days is one word: liability.

          One can have a perfectly saintly horse, throw newbie aboard, and really, be having an uneventful ride, newbie might fall off with injuries and say 'oh, no worries, my fault' - but you can bet newbie's insurance company will be coming after you. It happened to an acquaintance way back in the early 90s in VA- friend loans experienced rider friend a horse, that friend falls off and breaks collarbone, and over her protestations, horse owner got hauled to court by insurance company.

          So, sadly, nothing is simple any more. And over the years I've loaned out plenty of horses, given kids 'pony rides,' given cub scouts lessons on care and grooming of horses, even had a journalist who'd never sat on a horse before take one of mine foxhunting. It all worked out. But I don't count on being that lucky these days.

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          • #45
            Originally posted by Beverley View Post
            BensMama, I'd say I was 'in the middle somewhere' too- after all I galloped all over creation from ages 5 to 8 before I ever had a lesson- but in addition to prior points made, the sad fact these days is one word: liability.

            One can have a perfectly saintly horse, throw newbie aboard, and really, be having an uneventful ride, newbie might fall off with injuries and say 'oh, no worries, my fault' - but you can bet newbie's insurance company will be coming after you. It happened to an acquaintance way back in the early 90s in VA- friend loans experienced rider friend a horse, that friend falls off and breaks collarbone, and over her protestations, horse owner got hauled to court by insurance company.

            So, sadly, nothing is simple any more. And over the years I've loaned out plenty of horses, given kids 'pony rides,' given cub scouts lessons on care and grooming of horses, even had a journalist who'd never sat on a horse before take one of mine foxhunting. It all worked out. But I don't count on being that lucky these days.
            Very true. I also heard a rumor a while back that even if you have them sign a release form, that form doesn't necessarily hold water. Good thing I only work with newbies on a very rare basis!
            Life is short. Ride your best horse first.

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            • #46
              Originally posted by ShaSamour View Post
              My husband never sat on a horse before he met me. I insisted on starting him in an arena with the basics on a saint of a horse. We got him a proper helmet and a saddle that fit him (and that was tough -- he's 6'6" and 250 lbs.). But when it came to posting trot and learning to canter, I had a male dressage/eventing instructor work with him. I didn't want to attempt to teach him to post - it's different for men than for women.

              After that, we started with easy trail rides and progressed from there. And mercifully, we got him a wonderful horse who knew the difference between my husband who was a beginner (and took care of him appropriately) and me, who took him into the show ring (no breaks for you, lady!).

              I didn't want to attempt to teach him to post - it's different for men than for women.
              Got that right!

              Shasamour, you are very lucky to have found a horse who distinguishes expectations rider-to-rider. Your husband even more so, since he would have had to bear the brunt while all you would have had to do was listen to whining! (We males can whine.)

              Looking back from some random episodes being plopped on a saintly horse (in Western tack and a hackamore) and with no instruction other than not to lope downhill "because of possible holes" riding all over the place, up and down hills, W-T-C, with no clue what I was doing and even in the Hummer-sized Western saddle getting racked consistently, I marvel I didn't get ejected and killed. Then again the experience was good enough that I was game to really learn to ride in proper English tack years later, and after I found someone other than my first ex to teach me, it went reasonably well.

              I think it's a judgment call whether to take someone who can't reliably steer out of a controlled ring environment, and the judgment is purely a calculated risk based on the the horse.

              Looking back, I still don't understand how I avoided breaking my neck the first two-three times out. My first RI wouldn't even tell me what the canter cues were for a year claiming I was too unbalanced, and when on the trail I jumped a few little logs and told her about it afterward, I thought she was going to have a seizure.

              Then again men are less prone to fret.

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              • #47
                Originally posted by Beverley View Post
                BensMama, I'd say I was 'in the middle somewhere' too- after all I galloped all over creation from ages 5 to 8 before I ever had a lesson- but in addition to prior points made, the sad fact these days is one word: liability.

                One can have a perfectly saintly horse, throw newbie aboard, and really, be having an uneventful ride, newbie might fall off with injuries and say 'oh, no worries, my fault' - but you can bet newbie's insurance company will be coming after you. It happened to an acquaintance way back in the early 90s in VA- friend loans experienced rider friend a horse, that friend falls off and breaks collarbone, and over her protestations, horse owner got hauled to court by insurance company.

                So, sadly, nothing is simple any more. And over the years I've loaned out plenty of horses, given kids 'pony rides,' given cub scouts lessons on care and grooming of horses, even had a journalist who'd never sat on a horse before take one of mine foxhunting. It all worked out. But I don't count on being that lucky these days.
                Why not get liability insurance and then continue enjoying and sharing your horses? That's what I do.
                Jigga:
                Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

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