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Is Going Back To Riding Really Worth It?

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    Original Poster

    #41
    You guys are awesome, why did I lurk so long!

    Well I called Farm # 1 and left a message about wanting lesson information so here we go...

    Needs Advil- That's it! All the great horses I have ever had, found me. ( Dogs Too) Kind of like dating I guess, you can say I want tall, dark and handsome and wind up marrying short, bald and average, but to you he is the best looking guy at the party! I always believed that too, let the horse pick, my favorite horse was kicked out of more breed shows than I can count. My mother was so disappointed "I cannot believe you bought a ... PAINT" We are thoroughbred people!" He won her over too, I just knew he was the most exciting thing I had ever seen and a terrible rogue. Yes, he was a failure in Western Pleasure and so he made a fool of me the first seasons out, but boy could that Paint jump, like a cat, with his white knees cranked over his two toned ears. We had amazing success and our 32 years together was the best relationship of my life. In our years together he showed me lots of things he liked to do, jumping, foxhunting, trail, western riding, dressage and eventing. He was also really good at goat tying and mounted shooting. I miss him. I don't miss that he sucked at Western Pleasure.

    So, I now wonder what I will do or where this will take me, Western dressage sounds cool, cowboy mounted shooting was fun, these new Cowboy Challenges look interesting, foxhunting/hilltopping is always good, I just need to get my butt in shape, get the " fear bird caged" and see where it takes me.

    2 Dogs- Count yourself lucky! Your DH looks fantastic and I would love to share this with mine, but he has his own thing (Classic Cars) and he loves horses for horses, so I will not complain. You and Suzie should start some blogs to help other hopeful horse wives get a head start.

    TMares & NC001- Thanks for the vote of confidence! It helps, all of you have helped, I have felt very lonely on the horse side for a long time. I work everyday surrounded by people, my employees, must customers, my friends, but all of the other horse people I know (one neighbor excepted) just feeds horses, clean up after horses and never consider doing anything with them other then the rare spin around the pasture at a walk. For years that was okay, now not so much. I did not realize what a vibrant over 50 riding crowd there was and I hope soon to be a part.

    Comment

      Original Poster

      #42
      Test lesson with first choice barn on Thursday. Nervous but glad I don't have much time to talk myself out of it.

      Comment


        #43
        I'm seeing this late, but have fun on Thursday! And be sure to let us know all about it. There are lots of over 50 riders to make friends with, I started again at 50 after a 20+ year break.

        Comment


          #44
          Yes go ride! I returned in my 40s after a 20 year gap.

          I had an old retired pony on a field for much of that time and while she was still alive it was hard to think about returning to riding. She was in a situation where she was happy but there was no place to ride and I felt guilty about abandoning her. Once she was gone, I started thinking about lessons and riding other horses.

          I went back to riding with an open mind about what it would be like and what I would want to do. It worked out great, but I discovered people and opportunities I couldn't have predicted.

          There are *a lot* of middle aged returning riders out there!

          It sounds to me you need to let go of any guilt or feeling of responsibility about the big horse not working out for you, and go forward to find out what kind of horse makes you happy and safe right now.

          Comment


            #45
            It is always worth it. It might make a ton of difference if you have the right horse to ride.

            The grey will never be the mount for you. Why not get him restarted and find a rider who is right for him and let him go.

            Then find a horse who will rebuild your confidence, be a joy to ride and can do whatever your future goals are?

            Comment


              #46
              Originally posted by four2farm@gmail.com View Post
              Test lesson with first choice barn on Thursday. Nervous but glad I don't have much time to talk myself out of it.
              Happy to hear that you’re taking the plunge! Best wishes and please report back to let us know how you make out! You got this!!

              Comment


                #47
                Can't wait to hear how the first visit goes, I am contemplating something similar myself. I've never had formal lessons or competed at anything, but I miss riding and need some confidence. I have four horses, one is a long yearling filly that is going to be huge, a four-to-six year old paint mare that's never been started (basically just halter-broke but such a sweetheart!) an old gray mare I've had since she was two but has always been unsound, and then my rescue mare, that has an unknown past, was probably ridden (badly) a lot but never really trained well, that hates being ridden. She doesn't actively try to get me off (except the one time she tried to scrape me off on a branch), but she makes it very clear that all decisions are hers to make and if I'm lucky she'll agree to walk around the pasture with me on her back. She not ugly about any of it, just.... not a lot of fun to ride. And she's been off and on lame for nearly a year now, seems to finally be sound again with her fancy shoes - but has recently started showing some additional physical issues that may wind up making her retirement a done deal.

                So all that's to say I don't really have anything I can ride right now, and after nearly three years of trying to put my square peg mare into my round hole riding level, I miss it. I have plenty of projects, but nothing I can just sit on and go. Lessons at a barn with a good trainer of old fat ladies would be just the ticket for me, I think, so maybe I'll make a phone call too. Thanks for the thread!

                Comment


                  #48
                  Best wishes for Thursday! My return to riding was rather late in my life and pretty humbling. My old Morgan was retired and between work and family issues I didnt ride at all for about 7 years (and only sporadic rehab rides for a couple of years before that) By the time he died I was 62 and recently retired.

                  I decided to try some "introductory lessons" offered at a discount at a new barn. It appeared that my muscle memory had alzheimers! I could barely stay on. It didnt help that I rode a little low-headed QH - I felt like the horse had no head after being used to an upheaded Morgan! I wasnt sure if returning to riding was going to work for me.

                  Then my old BO offered me the opportunity to ride an older TB. With increased practice time, I regained some of my skills. And my confidence. Slowly, I was sucked back into riding. Eventually the BO asked me to help virtually shop for a school horse. Of course that is when I found my new Morgan...

                  Comment

                    Original Poster

                    #49
                    Wow! So many great stories and all of your support is so heartwarming!

                    Msm- so glad you found your new horse! Congrats and I hope you guys have a wonderful time if it!

                    PamnReba- Same here, pasture full of equines and nothing really to ride. I looked at as many choices and I could find and picked the one that seemed the best. We will see...pick up the phone, we will compare notes.

                    Lucky- I will give a full report Thursday night, promise

                    Candyappy- Yes, another horse, we will see what the fates have in mind. I am hoping the fates like the tobiano color gene.....

                    Scribbler- I am trying to get past the guilt, he is what he is. He is has a good home forever with me. If an opportunity comes where he will be safe an can benefit then we will cross that bridge.

                    On a side note, I am very glad I decided to try on my riding clothes last night before bed....

                    Breeches fit, helmet's new, gloves are good, paddock shoes check, belt I wear all the time, half chaps...half chaps DO NOT FIT. My calfs are almost 2 inches BIGGER. Panic and bad words ensue. How do you get Extra Tall half chaps off the shelf? Mine were custom. Then tape measure in hand I measure my field boots and dress boots. Bad words and laughter ensue. So I guess I need to pencil in long conversations with Vogel and Dehner if things works out. So as I am searching size charts in full panic mode I realize that I am an upholsterer by trade (This took my goofy brain 45 minutes to realize). So in the early am hours my half chaps were "recustomized" . So I am all set, clothes fit, saddle cleaned, balsamed and buffed, hair nets, Bobby pins, paddocks polished.

                    So, a mental note for anyone considering re entering the riding world. Try it all on. ALL of it. Don't be me. No one needs that much panic and idiocy at midnight, which is way past my bedtime

                    Comment


                      #50
                      Have fun on Thursday!

                      Comment


                        #51
                        Now you have found the vibrant "more mature" riders, you have a new business opportunity making chaps....

                        I do hope you enjoy the lesson.
                        "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                        Comment


                          #52
                          Originally posted by four2farm@gmail.com View Post
                          Wow! So many great stories and all of your support is so heartwarming!

                          Msm- so glad you found your new horse! Congrats and I hope you guys have a wonderful time if it!

                          PamnReba- Same here, pasture full of equines and nothing really to ride. I looked at as many choices and I could find and picked the one that seemed the best. We will see...pick up the phone, we will compare notes.

                          Lucky- I will give a full report Thursday night, promise

                          Candyappy- Yes, another horse, we will see what the fates have in mind. I am hoping the fates like the tobiano color gene.....

                          Scribbler- I am trying to get past the guilt, he is what he is. He is has a good home forever with me. If an opportunity comes where he will be safe an can benefit then we will cross that bridge.

                          On a side note, I am very glad I decided to try on my riding clothes last night before bed....

                          Breeches fit, helmet's new, gloves are good, paddock shoes check, belt I wear all the time, half chaps...half chaps DO NOT FIT. My calfs are almost 2 inches BIGGER. Panic and bad words ensue. How do you get Extra Tall half chaps off the shelf? Mine were custom. Then tape measure in hand I measure my field boots and dress boots. Bad words and laughter ensue. So I guess I need to pencil in long conversations with Vogel and Dehner if things works out. So as I am searching size charts in full panic mode I realize that I am an upholsterer by trade (This took my goofy brain 45 minutes to realize). So in the early am hours my half chaps were "recustomized" . So I am all set, clothes fit, saddle cleaned, balsamed and buffed, hair nets, Bobby pins, paddocks polished.

                          So, a mental note for anyone considering re entering the riding world. Try it all on. ALL of it. Don't be me. No one needs that much panic and idiocy at midnight, which is way past my bedtime
                          Don't be surprised that your idea of how you rode and how you will ride now also "don't quite fit".

                          Don't worry, like riding a bicycle, all will quickly come back, just a bit rusty.
                          Easy to manage that, once you are back in the groove.

                          For those half chaps that don't quite fit, do you have someone that could add some elastic by the zipper, to make them fit for now?

                          Comment


                            #53
                            Originally posted by four2farm@gmail.com View Post

                            I have thought about that actually!

                            Back in my teens if somebody had offered me the ride on a 17.2 unicorn of a Sporthouse. I would have been begging every diety in the equestrian universe to be the chosen crash test dummy.

                            I just kind of figured the world had changed.

                            If a youngster wanted to be a trainer someday and wanted a project for their portfolio I would be game. Heck, I would even pay some of the bills. There be rules, like boarded at a barn I approve of, etc.

                            Again, though do teens actually still do that?

                            If he had a season of " I am sticking like glue" I MIGHT have a more sensible horse or they could have some fun until he officially times out and needs to go back to his pasture pouffery.

                            I thought about sending him to a trainer AGAIN, but the cost of training around here for a "might work" for me does not compute. That money is better spent on a down payment on horse who thinks
                            " Don't worry lady, I got this"
                            Yes, people absolutely still do this. Particularly if the horse was going decently but maybe just wasn't the right fit for you. You might have to get him somewhere and get him going first, depending on the market in your area. Around here someone would probably take the chance because there isn't much available. Worst case scenario is that they give him back.

                            And have fun at your lesson!!

                            Comment


                              #54
                              12 years ago I quit riding, training, showing, sold everything and vowed never to return to the heartbreak of horses. Started back with lessons in February of 2020........had bought my mare by the end of April. I absolutely love riding this time around. My life is very different and I am at a much happier place. Thank God For Horses. You've gotten some awesome replies and advice. I hope you find the joy in riding that I have. Take care.

                              Comment


                                #55
                                I feel you on the half chaps not fitting- I sold all my tall boots and would need to get customs if I ever decided to show again.

                                My old guy has been retired for 2 years, mostly trail rode for several years. We are putting him to sleep on Monday, and I am now faced with the daunting reality of not having a horse of my own in my life- nor a reason to visit the barn whenever I wish .

                                I'm not ready to buy another horse right now- it would not make sense financially and I don't know what I want to do with riding, to be honest. I do NOT want to hit the ground either, if at all possible, I have scoliosis to where it would be really useful to have someone around here who teaches Centered Riding, biodynamics, and so forth, but there is not. I also leased a friend's horse last summer, but I didn't find the confidence I was looking for in riding a different horse.

                                I plan on taking lessons somewhere this winter/spring, if I feel confident enough I may try leasing the friend's horse again. Not a bad horse, but I just had a lack of confidence in my own ability and felt that I was greatly out of shape and practice.

                                Looking forward to hearing about your experience riding for the first time in a while tomorrow! Good luck!

                                Comment


                                  #56
                                  The 2 horses I started lunging while I was taking lessons to get my confidence were Sim and Twiggy.

                                  Sim as green as green as could be TB gelding. He had sat in our paddock for years with me with t hy e full time job.

                                  Twiggy a stock horse/quarter horse cross mare, who having seen me on her hubby had banned me from riding her alone. I always ride alone so she had also been in a paddock for years.

                                  Years pass quickly.

                                  Sim had no idea about an outside rein. Hubby hadn't ridden in years from us losing Pepper. I had already decided that Sim was not enough horse for me. So I not only lunged Sim in sidereins, but I lunged hubby on him so the 2 would bond. That worked. 10 years later Sim is going from strength to strength and hubby can actually ride now and Sim is his. I still ride him occasionally as Sim tells me what hubby is doing wrong, so I then give hubby a lesson on that.

                                  Twiggy hubby bought for himself without me. Nope way too hot for a beginner. She was also ridden in a stock saddle with her head horizontal to the sky.

                                  I realised later her creating under saddle had been hypersensitivity to my legs being in the dressage position instead of on her shoulder. In canter she jumped away from my leg, hit the other leg and jumped back, hit the first leg and so on and so forth, it escalated from there.

                                  So after lunging Sim each day I lunged Twiggy with no thought of getting on her. I removed everything and just had a bridle and cavesson. I lunged her until she stopped bucking. 3 days. I added a roller and lunged until she stopped bucking. 3 days. I added loose side reins. Bucked for days. I tightened a few holes. Bucked for days. I swapped to a saddle bucked for days.

                                  So on and so forth until she was lunging with her head vertical to the ground. I never pulled her in. She did this with the long side reins by learning contact from them. She still had a foot between her front hoof lifting and where her hind leg landed, that was due to conformation.

                                  I played around on the lunge. I stuffed a pair of jeans with newspaper and tied that to the saddle. I tied boots in the stirrups and let them flail around.

                                  By now she was only bucking if something happened like slipped on wet cow manure, tripped on hard cow manure, tripped in a hole, a calf looked at her, the wind blew, a bird flew over, you name it. I did not get 3 days in a row without bucking. As you can tell I was just lunging in a paddock. A 50 acre one.

                                  I can remember celebrating the day she tracked up. OMG!

                                  So I had started riding Sim when my confidence returned on the school horses. We had an arena by now that hubby and I made. So it was quite a bit of time.

                                  One day suddenly I realised that Twiggy was lunging like an old school pony. I actually couldn't remember the last time she bucked.

                                  Yes home alone. I hopped on and she was perfect and she NEVER bucked again. Not the time that she stumbled to her knees and got up and trotted on.

                                  Not the time that the side rein after lunging her. I unclipped from the bit and clipped to the d ring on the saddle. I had been doing this for decades as I was taught this becoming an instructor.

                                  On a 20 meter circle on crossing the centre line, she slowed. I thought it was the deeper sand. Non verbally I told her everything was okay and to trot on.

                                  As I came to the side of the arena. I glanced down and did you know that your life flashing before your eyes is not just a thing. It is actually real. The side rein had disconnected from the d ring. It was still attached to the girth and was now swinging around her legs.

                                  I honestly thought I was going to die. So with the pictures flashing before my eyes. I asked for halt. I bent down and picked up the side rein. I clipped it back to the d ring and I asked for trot on.



                                  Nothing happened. The months lunging her with the boots dangling in the stirrups I guess.

                                  As I said start lunging the grey. You dont have to ride. It will cost you nothing to lunge him.

                                  Unless you don't know how to lunge with side reins. Never pull their head in. Never walk in them, etc etc etc. Then invest in lessons learning to lunge. It is as fascinating as riding when done properly.
                                  It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                                  Comment


                                    #57
                                    Four2farm, a little story for you on the night before your lesson.

                                    Years ago I worked for a museum with an active carriage driving program. We had a home bred young draft horse that had all of his early training and was ready to start serious driving work. He was in a pasture with a buddy and an elderly couple stopped to admire him. A moments inattention allowed their small poodle to dart into the pasture, his flexi-lead leash becoming tangled around the geldings leg. The horse took off dragging the bouncing plastic leash handle (and tragically the dog) behind him. Eventually he stopped, but the dog was killed and the horse was traumatized. After the incident he was tense, even terrified in harness. After months of patient desensitization and retraining it was decided that he really would be happier as a riding horse and the decision was made to try and find him the right person.

                                    I was to meet and show the horse to a potential buyer, as I had been riding the horse. She arrived with a helmet, in sweat pants and rain boots and my first quick impression was "uh oh". After talking with her it became clear that she had an extensive background, and she apologized for her attire saying that all her riding clothes were long gone or no longer fit. We discussed his history in depth, and then I rode the youngster. She liked what she saw enough to try him (no ring, just a rectangular field) and climbed on. He went well for a bit and then decided to put her to the test with a few low key baby tricks. She said "Oh no you don't, young man", and with the perfect amount of push, softness, firmness and redirection applied at just the right moment; the two of them had a lovely ride. She came back to me with a huge smile and said "I will take him!"

                                    She purchased him and he spent the rest of his life with her. She nursed him through a scary colic episode and he helped her through her own medical crisis. Eventually, she even started driving him again, his trust was so great in her that he could forget the past episode.

                                    So never discount a lady of experience, even if she is temporarily in sweat pants and floppy rubber rain boots. She was that horse's angel.





                                    Comment


                                      #58
                                      Have a great time at your lesson tomorrow! Don’t worry about the half chaos. If riding is for you again, you could always get an elastic insert put in them to make them fit again.
                                      RIP Mydan Mydandy+
                                      RIP Barichello

                                      Comment

                                        Original Poster

                                        #59
                                        Thanks Everyone! So many wonderful stories and experiences.!

                                        Well, the half chaps fit perfect now, and everything is ready to go. You know when I was taking the zippers out and adding more leather, I thought this would be so simple to replicate. I should make a pair for my brown winter paddock boots. I will have to check out the leather hides next week at the upholstery supplier.

                                        I read Suzie's post while Gigantor was fussing about having his foot soaked. He either has a bruise or an abcess. So tonight he is doing the duct boot boogie. I think he has secret online access and heard "lunging in side reins", lol.

                                        I am ready to feel like a duck out of water. I just hope the Instructor likes talking to me while I walk around and gasp for breath...

                                        Murphy- my condolences on what you have in front of you with your good horse. You are my thoughts. To everyone Thanks! Be prepared for update tomorrow, while I am gobbling Aleve and ordering another case of Epsom Salts.

                                        Comment


                                          #60
                                          LOL. I hope he heals up okay.

                                          Yes talk while riding. It means you breathe down into your diaphragm and this tells the horse you are not scared...... or you can sing!
                                          It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                                          Comment

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