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Old Rider takes lesson after 1 1/2 yrs AAAH

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  • Old Rider takes lesson after 1 1/2 yrs AAAH

    I stopped riding as my horse got older, because I still had to pay the board and my finances are limited. I really missed riding. It was a passion. This past summer my old guy passed away, and it was very emotional for me.

    So I had a load of emotions and a certain amount of nerves when I went to take a private lesson at a stable in another state, (we're in Colorado now).

    The horse was the trainer's daughter's show pony when she was a child, an appendix quarter(? you know half TB half quarter). I'm 5' 7 and the pony was I guess a large.

    It was a walk trot canter private lesson. The trainer seemed very sophisticated and kind. The pony felt like he had an engine on him, under control. The ring was gravel. Pony was responsive.

    But I fell off twice!! Once at the trot when the pony started to stumble, once at the canter when trainer said pony might have thought I was signalling a halt during a circle. I'm used to an OTTB. Pony seemed like there was nothing in front of him. Bam. The bruises, yikes. Trainer told me not to tell DH. I didn't but felt really guilty about that.

    I don't think I want to go back. It's helped me just posting this. Tomorrow we're going to go to a dude ranch where you ride along side of buffalo! But hey, at least there's a pommel on those saddles!

  • #2
    Trainer sounds like a jackass-- what are you doing cantering after a year and a half off-horse? And nervous? And trainer tells you not to tell DH about two falls? Sheesh...

    Absolutely don't go back without forwarding this post-- trainer needs a head-slap. Sounds like you'd be better off with the buffalo. Good luck there.


    • #3
      I have been training horses since I was 13. When I was 26 I had an opportunity to take a jump lesson with a friend at a stables near Chicago. Now I had shown "A" hunters and coached the same - but I had not ridden for 7 months. A complicated pregnancy and rough C section saw to that.

      So here is me - trying to just enjoy the ride, learn a few things and relax. With NO muscles! No stamina! And foggy muscle memory It was embarrassing! I did not fall off, but I could not post the correct diagonal or even get the correct lead to save my life - never mind I was reduced to cross poles by the 18 yr old "trainer" I heard her say to my friend as I was tacking down "I thought that was so & so the trainer"

      I wanted to jump in a hole and pull the hole in after me!

      I know how you feel -
      "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"


      • #4
        Ouch, I am sorry you fell off.

        I agree with BR! When I start with a new client and a "new" rider, they just walk, steer and stop at our first lesson.

        For some of my adult students, just getting back on the horse and sitting on it is enough for them. I also put them on the most Steady Eddy of my lesson horses, a 21 year old Appendix. I tell them I could put my nearly 80 year old Mother(who DOES NOT RIDE and was never a horse person at all) on him and send them down the road together and he would take care of her. You can see the relief wash over their face.

        Ask around and you will find the right instructor for you.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for your kind replies. I hike two hours a day here, so my stamina and legs were okay, except for muscle isolation and control. But the upper body muscles were just not doing their thing at all, and my hands, which I always thought were light and sensitive, were not. I think I may have looked as if I were in better shape as a rider than I actually was.

          The trainer said she'd ridden the horse ten days ago. That was before I got on. That did give me pause. Well off to the buffalo.


          • #6
            Well, it is a partnership...well, it should be. The instructor can ask you to canter, you can say, "I don't think I'm ready for that yet" and continue on.

            You fell off twice...once when the pony stumbled and once when "you gave the pony a command...maybe".

            I would have started you out walking on a much less "responsive" a beast and then maybe a nice walk around the field so you could relax...just to get your butt in the saddle and get the muscles remembering what they were supposed to be doing.

            I always taught my students slowly (I wouldn't have em' jumping till they had a solid seat). I think you were rushed...maybe you looked a lot more ready to go than you were?

            Good luck, have fun and stay safe...then impress the natives.
            "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


            • #7
              Yes, that can be a problem with re-riders - sometimes we LOOK more ready than we actually are . My trainer and I have to have a strong dialogue going (and it's getting easier) as she INSISTS I can handle stuff that I'm sure I can't. We did flying lead changes yesterday on her schoolmaster, by the way, so it does eventually come back.


              • #8
                Originally posted by thatmoody View Post
                Yes, that can be a problem with re-riders - sometimes we LOOK more ready than we actually are . My trainer and I have to have a strong dialogue going (and it's getting easier) as she INSISTS I can handle stuff that I'm sure I can't. We did flying lead changes yesterday on her schoolmaster, by the way, so it does eventually come back.
                Yep! It takes time for the muscles to all work again!

                I was chatting with my mom yesterday- she is a re-rider after 30-odd years off a horse, in her 60s! She gets frustrated because it isn't coming back as quickly as she thought it would, and I told her it's not like a bicycle where you just have to know HOW, you have to have the strength and flexibility and motor control to actually DO it.

                Luckily our trainer is very understanding and lets us take our time


                • #9
                  Originally posted by justalittlex View Post
                  The ring was gravel.

                  Originally posted by justalittlex View Post
                  But I fell off twice!!
                  You sound like you're in good shape, but riding is such a unique activity that I think to some extent being in good shape from other activities only takes you so far. You probably just need a little time with your muscles getting a silent reminder that they do this. Have fun riding with the buffalo, though!


                  • Original Poster

                    It was really fun to ride alongside of big herds of buffalo. The horses were steady, and though the buffalo followed us, they kept a bubble of space all the time.

                    Not sure I'm going back for more lessons. She was even working on me to get turn on the forehand at that first lesson. I mean I never could get that right on my old horse. oh well.


                    • #11
                      I'm glad you had a good trip with the buffalo. If I were you I would find a trainer who can work at your pace, and it is so true that re-riders often look better than they ride. We know about heels down and can generally keep our hands and elbows in control, but oh! the balance issues! Good luck and have fun!
                      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                      Incredible Invisible


                      • Original Poster

                        ReSomething, that's it exactly, heels down and balance out the window. Thanks for the advice.


                        • #13
                          I feel your pain. I've had horses in my back yard for 10 years now, but barely ride. Finding the right instructor can be a long, lonely search, but there are a lot of them out there who do understand that prior experience and knowing what to do don't always compensate for loss of muscle memory. I can still barely keep my balance in a posting trot, but I have finally found a wonderful instructor who can see not only where I need help, but also where my horse does as well.

                          Falling off twice in a first lesson... obviously you were with someone that wasn't able to evaluate your balance properly. Keep looking for the right person.

                          Even when I was riding regularly, I went through a stage where I fell off TWICE in EVERY lesson. I can remember looking up at my instructor from the bottom of a jump standard and telling her "I can't believe I'm paying you for this." Oh well, at least I learned HOW to fall, so was never hurt.

                          The buffalo ride sounds awesome, glad you had a good time. Wish I were out west.
                          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                          Witherun Farm