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adult adv riders coming back into riding

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  • adult adv riders coming back into riding

    what do you do when you are coming back into riding after x amount yrs off and FEEL like you are back to square one(beginner skills)?

    i was a adv rider that has been off for 3 yrs,but still owned horse(s) while off, as i was dealing with other life's difficulties..
    i am getting into my riding again as i do have a 3.5 yr old youngster(horse) getting ready to ride.i have been feeling really doubtful of my riding skills to a point where i feel like i have slipped down to beginner level.
    my previous skills included things like the typical adv rider like training/riding my own youngsters and other boarders horses and do well with them.teaching,showing own and catch riding,jumping2'6-3ft courses,and working with horses with training prob and most of the time able to fix in good manner.etc,just to name some.if i got asked to do any of these right now i would have to turn away client as i don't feel confident in myself at the moment.my mother is very supportive,but sometimes that's just not enough.how do i deal with this?anyone deal with this type of problem before.

    i know this is long,just wanted to write a lil background.
    Last edited by my_doran; Jan. 27, 2011, 03:13 AM.

  • #2
    You join the club!

    You commiserate with the thousands of others who have experienced the exact same thing.

    It's very frustrating. Your mind thinks it's telling your body what to do, but your body appears to no longer speak that language. You think you remember what everything should feel like, but your horse isn't responding the way you expected. Never mind if your body has changed through aging or weight change or having kids.

    I found a good trainer. It's still not as easy as I remember it being, but she manages to make me feel like we're getting somewhere, and I think my long-suffering horse is very, very, very grateful that I'm under the supervision of a good trainer too!


    • Original Poster

      exactly.i do currently have a good new trainer working with me and actually going to her clinic this coming sunday.very excited.
      yes weight changes have a part in it too..but working on that as i felt like i rode better when i weighed less.lol go figure.


      • #4
        my_doran, I am SO right there with you. I was injured in a horse accident in 2008 and just started riding again last October. I am constantly putting myself down to the point where the owners I'm riding for are like, Shut up, you're doing fine, I don't want to hear it anymore.

        Just ride as much as possible and push your comfort zone. I know I was really timid the first few rides. But your horse instincts/muscle memory are still there in bits and pieces. You'll get better much faster than a real beginner would.

        Strangely enough what helped me was having the horse I was riding throw a fit (NOT intentionally...LOL). I stuck on like in the old days and when it was all said and done I went, Oh, that was okay, I guess I'll be fine.

        Every hour I spend in the saddle I feel like I am re-learning a lot.

        Good luck and don't be self-deprecating, it'll all come back to you!


        • #5
          I can Identify with you for sure! I had six years off after college with no riding at all in between gained some wait from being sick and lost a lot of my stamina. My confidence is NOT EVEN CLOSE to what it was in high school and college (4ft was nothing then) and I am a hunter rider. The biggest issue to overcome is my fear of falling IT HURTS WAY more now and I only have fallen twice but when the ground is frozen (imagine that in South Florida)... Now I only ride in the ring on really cold days and don't push it if whoever I am on is being fresh. ie stick to trotting circles and things I know I can handle

          My advice is get on several things that give you confidence (maybe a little closer to the ground) than your average 17hh warmblood and the best thing to happen to me yesterday was when a dog spooked the OTTB I was tuning up for one of the kids and he took off bucking and I was able to stick. I guess my muscle memory decided to help me there.

          I have also found that riding bareback has helped me alot finding my balance and center of gravity again. Good Luck its a long road!


          • #6
            I feel your pain as well! I was an advanced rider as a teen, A rated...4 footers were nothing to me. There was no horse that unnerved me.
            Took 10 years off for college, marriage and a business and went out and bought a pony. Had a blast with him, started taking lessons. Was getting my groove back.
            Then last winter I tore a bicep being launched from the trainer's horses at the canter.

            Now I can't canter without tightening up my everything and pitching forward, losing my stirrups and all that. I feel like a rank beginner all over again.

            I started taking lessons in November with a new trainer who is great for me. Just this week I had a breakthrough for the first time (and on top of all this, I still have my pony and a green WB mare).

            Its humbling. Your brain is all "C'mon, you can do flying changing, side passes, haunches in, 3'6 oxer..." but your body is like "Oh hell no! My muscles dont DO that anymore!"

            The best way my trainer explained it was this-you're basically starting over. You need to restrengthen your legs and core and get your body back into the groove of what the mind is telling you"

            If I could redo it, I would have not stopped for 10 years. Of course, I would not have done the college thing or met my hubby, but I would have been at the Maclay, and gone pro. At least we get a second chance!!! Good luck. It takes time, but you'll (we'll) get there!!!


            • #7
              I can relate to all that have have posted here. I to now have a 3.5 year old and feel like a beginner . I still had horses but its really been like 20 years since I was in any shape to compete and feel like a confident rider,I use to hunt, do lower levels of eventing ,jumping 3'6 when I was young was nothing . Now besides my confindence and a weight issue( not a tooth pick anymore )I feel the same way you all do. This is not an excuse but all my time went to my kids and their riding ambitions now that they are older I am very much out of shape and feel I have to start from the begining. I feel like I should show in beginner classes but that would be embarrassing. Hopefully it will be better when the weather gets nicer and I can begin to ride again .Taking lessons is a great way to force yourself to just set aside the time to ride and build confidence. Good Luck to all that are in my boat.


              • #8
                I know when I went back I felt I had no balance and my confidence was shot.

                I went to the gym and got my core muscles in shape and it made a lot of difference especially when jumping.


                • #9
                  I took 15 years off from riding after my junior years. As a junior, I showed in the junior hunters, the big eq, the jumpers. I always had 3 or 4 horses to show. I came back to riding and my mind knows what to do, but my body says whoa, wait a minute. That 2' verticle looks mighty big.
                  I worked for BNT for a number of years, and did even less riding so when I left that job, I took another six months off to figure out if I even still wanted to have horses in my life.
                  Now, at a new barn, with a trainer and horse that I trust, I feel like I can move forward again. Will I ever show at the level I used to? Probably not. I'd like to, but I know that my nerves will not let me. I will be sailing in the 2'6" pre-adults for a long time. But, I like it there. I don't feel like I am over facing myself, and if I get into trouble, my saintly horse can get me out of it without killing either one of us.
                  My new mantra - \"Life is too short not to eat ice cream.\"
                  ReRiders Clique


                  • #10
                    Um well I am in the same club. Just trying to get back into things seriously but my story is a little different. Been on breakers and racehorses for most of the last 20 years. During that time I also rode in some amazing jumper barns but for the last year basically nothing.

                    My lower leg is useless and if a fence is above 60cms I want to cry! LOL! I have a very patient trainer that let's me ride a super Connemara pony and an amazing full ID. These 2 horses are saints for helping a useless lady back in the saddle again. At least now I'm starting to feel like a rider again. He wants me to take the pony out to a schooling show and I'm like, you mean in public? Ehh, not so sure about that just yet!

                    COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                    "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                    • #11
                      I think I can join this club too!

                      I haven't been totally away from riding, but it's been all about my kids and their horses for some time now. All that's about to change and I need to be ready
                      #2 kid will be heading to college in the fall (so she's already pulling away) and my youngster is getting his first 90 days of training under saddle right now (BS squeals with excitement). I can't remember when my last lesson was and it's probably been as long since I put in a whole hour of real hard work in the saddle. That youngster is fancy and I better get my butt in gear!!
                      Y'all ain't right!


                      • #12
                        I can only say don't let a trainer take advantage of your insecurity and feed it. You know what you know, and know what you can do. Go with your gut and just RIDE.

                        I returned to riding and feel as though I was really taken advantage of at first, I was so trusting. I had no idea just how the industry had changed, it's been a rude awakening.
                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                          I can only say don't let a trainer take advantage of your insecurity and feed it. You know what you know, and know what you can do. Go with your gut and just RIDE.

                          I returned to riding and feel as though I was really taken advantage of at first, I was so trusting. I had no idea just how the industry had changed, it's been a rude awakening.
                          On the flip side, one trainer had me riding her horses. We never worked on ME. It was always on the HORSE. Who was always green, needed tuning up yadayada. And I was paying 70 an hour to school a horse.

                          New trainer has a great ex eventer schoolie who MAKES you work. The horse knows better than I, and I believe that is the way it SHOULD be. When I get something down pat, I can use the knowledge on MY horse.


                          • #14
                            And another thing...

                            I had one trainer stick me on a roaring, swaybacked 27 year old. Jumping xrails (about 18" or less). She disregarded me telling her that my back and knees hurt. Stirrups too short.

                            I left there with a sore back, knees and PO'd because the trainer had NO business teaching jumping. (this was prior to my above mentioned accident).

                            I had recently done a very fast paced hunter pace with my pony, jumping 3 footers.

                            She was taking advantage of me for sure. there is more to the story, but I've been there, perfectpony. I left THAT place quickly.


                            • #15
                              I'm in the same boat, too! I started riding again two months ago after 10 years out of the saddle, and 15 years off from my (very intense) show career as a junior! It was humbling to feel like a beginner again after having always been the opposite. All it takes is time, so hang in there and be patient! It will come back to you. Work with a good trainer.

                              There is another woman in my barn who came back after 20 years off, and started again a year ago. She told me the first year was rough, but let me tell you, watching her ride last week, she looked like she could have been in medal finals again. So just hang in there!


                              • #16
                                I switched barns a few times when I went back to riding. I rode some very pluggy school horses for a while and finally found my current trainer who teaches on trained show horses.

                                LOVE it. All her horses are really solid between the ears or they wouldn't be with her.

                                But the schoolies really helped my confidence too. So much that I bought an unstarted 2 year old Connemara. He's a sweetie and I think he'll be fine.

                                The other thing that helped my return after my 12 year hiatus was yoga. That's the only other thing I found that uses those muscles.
                                Somehow my inner ten year old seems to have stolen my chequebook!



                                • #17
                                  I am very lucky with my situation while my Greenie is on stall rest I spend my days tuning up the kids horses and there really isn't anything at the farm that's "made" for me to work on me with. Luckily my trainer is pro-active and always willing to learn so we drive about an hour away about once a month and I take a lesson with a BNT on a ex GP and Maclay horse where I can really work on me and have fun on a horse that can do ANYTHING I ask.

                                  I am very thankful for the oppertunity to get to ride the challenging ones at home but sometimes i want to just sit up there on a beautiful animal and "look pretty" I am lucky she doesn't take it as an offense of her teaching skills me wanting to lesson somewhere else since every now and again she takes a lesson somewhere new too.


                                  • #18
                                    I had posted months ago about a similar feeling. I had fallen off one of my greener mares 2 times in about 6 months. And I'll tell you, it hurts more now than it did when I was younger! My confidence was shot. I'm embarassed to admit that I have not yet been back on that mare. But anyway I ...

                                    1) admitted that my weight gain had seriously affected my riding and balance. Since October I have lost 22 pounds, and I feel much better. I'm working on about 20 more pounds to get to my goal weight.

                                    2) bought a laid back quarter horse. This horse has been GREAT for getting my confidence back. At first I even was afraid to canter him. But I did, and of course now it's easy as can be. But this horse has given me tons of confidence back.

                                    3) started taking lessons as an alumni with my local university equestrian team. I rode 2x a week in lessons on MANY horses. They are all different, and great to learn from. Again, confidence is MUCH higher. I'm jumping in lessons and even at home with one of my other horses.

                                    I think that's most of it. I haven't ridden the mare yet, but I will this spring. I'm ready for her! I know I can fix her crowhopping that threw me the last two times. It's an easy fix in my mind, just at the time it wasn't easy in the saddle! But now I'm in much better shape and I know I can ride through it.

                                    Good luck!
                                    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                    ¯ Oscar Wilde


                                    • #19
                                      its really great to hear that there are people just like me that I am not just the minority . Thank you to all who have responded.


                                      • #20
                                        Well I don't feel taken advantage of riding trainer's horses as he has my show jumping mare in training so we both have advantages! I have just really missed this part of my life and even though I'm much older, it's really making me happy.

                                        COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                                        "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.