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Adult NOT re rider

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  • Adult NOT re rider

    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.

  • #2
    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...


    • #3
      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...
      "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

      Graphite/Pastel Portraits


      • Original Poster

        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).


        • #5
          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!
          Last edited by Justa Bob; Apr. 1, 2012, 04:06 PM.


          • #6
            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!


            • #7
              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.


              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!


              • Original Poster

                Wow! Thanks for the link! I also brought out my copy of centered riding as I love all the analogies that she offers.


                • #9
                  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 ????


                  • #10
                    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!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mukluk View Post
                      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.

                      I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mukluk View Post
                        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!!


                        • #13
                          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.


                          • #14
                            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. :-)
                            Last edited by laskiblue; Apr. 2, 2012, 03:24 PM. Reason: added info


                            • #15
                              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.


                              • #16
                                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.
                                Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                Witherun Farm


                                • #17
                                  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!


                                  • Original Poster

                                    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.


                                    • #19
                                      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....


                                      • #20
                                        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.