One of the attractions of riding is the feeling of a special bond that is possible between horse and human. It is hard to put into words, but is demonstrated often. For example, when you've just made a mess of a jump, got the timing all wrong, and the horse has graciously scooped you back into the saddle, rebalanced himself and you, and cantered off on the correct lead as though nothing had happened.
We should never underestimate how much the horse can teach us about how to ride. If we can learn to listen to what the horse is trying to say then we can ride in sympathy, rather than in opposition.
Of all the methods and ways of teaching sympathetic riding I have come across, that of Heather Moffett is undoubtedly the simplest and most understandable, and importantly, produces the least discomfort for the horse. It's also applicable for all riders of all ages - and not just beginners.
Heather has kindly written for this site a series of introductions to riding aimed specifically at the novice. If you follow her advice I'm sure you'll find your progress will be much swifter and more comfortable. I wish her book had been available when I first started, it would have made sense of much more that was going on and would save me now trying to relearn a lot of unfortunate habits.
You'll find that Heather's methods and suggestions are often challenging to the accepted ways of going on but they demonstrably work. Some things you might have to put up with, like poor saddles, but at least you'll know that if you're struggling to keep a good position it may not be all your fault.
As more people take up her methods then will standards improve all around and horses will breathe a collective sigh of relief.
To further your understanding of Heather's methods I can recommend her book and video. Further details on the book - Enlightened Equitation - can be found on the featured book page. The video page has screen grabs and a short clip you can watch.
Heather begins with an introduction to a Kinder Way to Ride.