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Has any one begun riding at 56? Not re-riding, but beginner rider

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  • Has any one begun riding at 56? Not re-riding, but beginner rider

    I'm thinking of keeping my daughter's horse for myself and riding. I had about 10 lessons when I was in my 40's to help understand what the kids were doing. I ride walk-trot every so often. I am old, fat and have no early horsey experience to fall back on. I also would like not to break a hip. I am a professor at a university so have some summer time free, but can be really busy and gone during the school year. Any one else ever try this? Is there an old farts club?

  • #2
    I took up riding for the first time at 39. I'm now 50 and ride five days a week. It was a lot of hard work, but I love it. You have to find a trainer who is good with beginner adults and who has bombproof horses. Yes, you absolutely can do this! Start on the lunge and work on getting a good seat first. Pilates also helps . . .


    • #3
      Where is your daughter's horse (at home or boarded)? I have a retired TB show horse here who showed at Madison Square Garden in his heyday, the current owners bought him and the daughter evented him seriously for years. When she went to college, the Mom took over never really having ridden, and she was in her 50s. It worked because the horse was at my trainer's barn, and my trainer knew this horse and rider REALLY well. The Mom pretty much only walked and trotted -- certainly never jumped, because the horse would get too strong for her. But they adored each other, and when the horse finally could not be ridden any more, even at a walk and trot he was completely retired to my farm this past December. He's about 25 now.

      All this to say, it can absolutely be done with the right horse and the right support system. Have fun!
      Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


      • #4
        What's the horse like? If he's calm, steady, reliable, unlikely to spook or throw a tantrum, etc. then I would go for it. If not, start with a reliable schoolie type. And have fun!
        -Debbie / NH

        My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/


        • #5
          A friend of mine got on a horse for the first time in her mid 50's. A year later, she bought a greenie, and is in the process of training her and the horse for dressage. Only "issue" I've seen is that when she falls off, she gets more hurt than younger people (broken bones, sprained ankles, etc).

          Otherwise, she's LOVING it!


          • #6
            I hate to say it, but accidents happen. Even under the best of circumstances you can get hurt. Horses are animals we can't 100% control 100% of the time.

            If you accept that--why not go riding? It sounds like you want to go for trail walks & maybe w-t around the ring which I don't see why not (provided the horse you have is suitable for you). Have fun!
            "I'm not crazy...my mother had me tested"


            • #7
              Go for it! A safe steady horse, an instructor who is patient and can be sure to give you a secure seat via lunge lessons and your own enjoyment is all you need!

              Pilates, yoga, tai chi, exercise balls, Balimo seats will help you feel your body. Walking really helps loosen up your hips, too. Hips are the hardest things to release as we get older, whether we are riding or not, and are key to a secure seat.

              Oh, have fun and follow your heart!!
              Form follows function, or does function follow form?




              • #8
                My husband and I gave his favorite uncle riding lessons as a gift when he was 67. He had never been on a horse in his life. He LOVED it. He is still riding now at 70 something.

                He was very brave in the beginning. After he had 3 or 4 lessons, we took him to Ireland with us to do some cross country riding. He somehow managed to stay on his horse for 6 days, at great speeds, over hill and dale and some really fabulous cross country obstacles until our very last ride, at which point he lost it over an oxer, fell directly into a thorn bush and broke his ribs. He managed to get back on and finish the ride that day, got on a plane the next, and suffered an embolism while on the plane. It took him awhile to recover from that, but he got back to his lessons in fairly short order. He then fell off while cantering in the ring, and broke his ribs again. He had more time off and is back at it again. But, he really doesn't canter or jump anymore.

                Anyway, I think you will be in good shape if you take up riding at 50 something. That's pretty young in the grand scheme of things. Also, in our area, there is an Old People's Riding Club - you might do a search to find out if you have one in your area as well. I think they are national.
                Treat Jockey for Spellbound and Smidgeon


                • #9
                  If you are motivated and willing to deal with a few weeks of pain after getting those "new" muscles worked out, you will have no problem once you find a suitable horse and a good instructor!

                  My dad is in his 50s. He has had VERY limited riding experience. In the 70s he worked as the manager of a western theme park and park of his job included reenactments of the "wild west" on horseback, but otherwise he is not a horse guy. Lately he has gotten very enthusiastic about riding my Arab mare when I work other horses. Melody is a little angel for him, and they make a great team. He mostly walks and trots, but he has had no problem catching on and learning to ride her. Just the other day he was riding her only with his leg and seat - a HUGE improvement from when he started out thinking that you steer and stop with the reins and kick with the legs. He rides her both english and western.



                  • #10
                    Short horses

                    I think short horses/ponies (13-14 hh) are nice for older riders because: if you fall it's not so far down, they are easier to control in emergency situations (one rein stops), their smaller size is much less intimidating for new riders, and it's possible to mount without mounting blocks or steep hills.

                    Centered riding is wonderful for relaxing riders and helps greatly with balance and harmony with the horse.

                    Riding lessons with a competent instructor are invaluable.

                    Easy gaited breeds are also nice for old, creaky joints and backs.

                    I love my 14 hh Peruvians!!!!


                    • Original Poster

                      Good to hear that a few brave souls are out there. My horse would be a 12 y.o. QH that is well behaved, but has lots of energy, an excellent jump (which I will not be utilizing) and is the fastest thing you've ever seem when he gets going. I think he will learn to be lazy with me and I only ride in a ring right now. My dream level of riding would be to be able to go out and ride third field with a hunt. We have our own place so I would have to trailer for lessons but know of someone who has started other dinosaurs like myself. She has some school horses too. We sold a good draft cross a couple of years ago that I rode for several months while one of the kids had a broken collarbone. He was great because his first reaction to everything was to stop, but it was hard to keep him forward. The people I know in that older rider section of pony club around here are actually good, competitive riders, so I don't think I fit in there.


                      • #12
                        My mom will be starting to ride this summer, at 60. Aside from a few pony rides as a child she is a complete begginer. I can't wait to put her on my steady QH and get her going and grinning!
                        Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.


                        • #13
                          I believe there is an eventer who started riding in his mid 60s,a nd was competing at Training level in his early 70s.

                          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                          • #14
                            As an instructor, I've had a few older beginners, and really believe that you're never too old to start, as long as you have realistic expectations (i.e. you will likely progress more slowly than a limber 10 year old). One former student of mine was EIGHTY when she got on a horse for the first time - she said it was something she'd always wanted to try, but her mother became hysterical at the thought of her getting on a horse, and as the lady said herself, "My mom just died so now I can finally try riding at age 80" She was really fun to teach - thank god I had a saintly old large pony for her to ride, and we did mostly walking and a little bit of trotting. This lady quit riding lessons after she went on her first whitewater rafting trip (another activity previously forbidden by her mom) at age 81 and found her true passion

                            I currently have a student who started riding at age 60 and 2 years later is quite competent at walk-trot-canter and basic dressage and has jumped a few crossrails. Fear has been her biggest limiting factor, and the saintly schoolie she rides has played a huge role in developing her confidence.
                            Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry


                            • #15
                              My husband starting riding two years ago so that he could ride with me -- he was 56 then. He LOVES riding and has become pretty good at it. He's only come off the horse once and decided he didn't want to do that again . He's become my best riding buddy. So, I say GO FOR IT!!!!
                              If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....


                              • #16
                                My neighbor started at 50. There was a large rescue in our area and she became smitten with a 5-6 year old stallion. As a present DH came up with adopting him. hes now a happy gelding with her. I have also met a woman who started riding when her DD lost interest and she couldn't bear to part with the horse - she was in her 40s.
                                Epona Farm
                                Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

                                Join us on Facebook


                                • #17
                                  It sounds like to me you have a good horse, access to competent instruction, and realistic goals - I wish you every success.

                                  I'm a re-rider, but only just - rode the neighbor's shetland around our lake property as a child, and then took a few years' worth of lessons in my late 30's/early 40's.

                                  I'm 48 now and started lessons again this past January. I think I'm a better rider now than I ever was - I actually have more confidence than I did when I was younger. I put this down to good instruction, a good horse - and menopause.

                                  Anyway, you go, girl!
                                  I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JustFive View Post
                                    The people I know in that older rider section of pony club around here are actually good, competitive riders, so I don't think I fit in there.
                                    Don't be too quick to say that! I've been riding all my life, but I am always happy to have someone in my group lessons no matter their skill level, as long as they are there to learn. I shared a lesson for awhile with someone who was just learning to canter -- no problem! I always can learn from watching others (and my instructor) no matter what they are doing -- a movement at the walk, learning to canter, or a 3' 6" jumper course. I only get annoyed when somebody doesn't want to get better. That's just me, but I bet you'll find lots of better riders who would welcome you.
                                    Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                                      Don't be too quick to say that! I've been riding all my life, but I am always happy to have someone in my group lessons no matter their skill level, as long as they are there to learn. I shared a lesson for awhile with someone who was just learning to canter -- no problem! I always can learn from watching others (and my instructor) no matter what they are doing -- a movement at the walk, learning to canter, or a 3' 6" jumper course. I only get annoyed when somebody doesn't want to get better. That's just me, but I bet you'll find lots of better riders who would welcome you.
                                      AMEN! My biggest peeve are people that "can't" do it, whatever IT might be.
                                      If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....


                                      • #20
                                        Way to go, lady. You know what they say, 50 is the new 40. A whole new healthy life awaits you with the right Steady Eddy.

                                        Oh - and check out Denny's older student, if he's reading this, because he is amazing.
                                        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique