View Full Version : Will I ever be a competent rider?
12th Jun 2005, 03:47 PM
I've been lurking on here, not posting for months. Mostly because working away and then illness have meant going three months without sitting on a horse. Now I'm back in the saddle - and had my second lesson since my break last week.
And it was great to be back. First week I felt really good because I didn't seem to have gone backwards too much. Given that I only had a dozen or so lessons before my break, I was pretty chuffed. Then this week I had a much bigger horse than I'm used to and getting the hang of his trot and steering him was a nightmare - I did possibly the worst serpentines ever. He kept stumbling and it was my fault because of bad steering. Plus I asked my instructor to put my leg where its meant to be (a fair bit further back than it was) which felt great in walk but keeping there in trot while simultaneously keeping my knees soft seemed impossible.
My instructor was encouraging (she always is). And I've booked a three day 'course' at my stables (with lessons, hacks, and stable management) in a few weeks to try and make a leap forward in my riding. But am I asking the impossible to learn to ride reasonably without owning a hores. Everyone on this forum talks about the difference once you get your own horse. I'd love to, but it isn't practical for me. I cannot afford to own a horse, and have a very hectic job which involves lots of travel am unlikely even to ever be able to be a reliable sharer. Only if I won the lottery and could afford to keep a horse on full livery would it be viable.
But I love riding - I really enjoy it. I want to reach a level that I can hack in epping forest regularly, go away on riding holidays and so on.
Is it possible?
PS sorry this is a very pathetic message - feeling sorry for myself!
12th Jun 2005, 04:00 PM
Definetely keep going and keep the motivation! You have only been riding a very short period of time. It can take years and years to be classed a good rider. You seem to know what is required to improve, ie keeping knee soft etc, which can be half the battle. I have been riding three and half years and have good and bad lessons, but from those bad ones you slowly start to fit the pieces of the puzzel together and it begins to start making more sense.They also seem to be the lessons we learn most from :rolleyes: Plus, riding different types of horses can only help your riding. I now ride two times a week and that has helped, plus I changed stables when I moved areas and that for me had the biggest impact on me since I started riding, and I can now pop a small course of jumps. Riding should be enjoyable and I think that we are all a bit guilty of missing that sometimes in our quest to be the best we can. It also takes a while for your muscles to do what your head is telling them so be patient and persevere. Definetely do the course. The more time in the saddle the better. I am looking for a share at the moment, so I am equally frustrated because I can't find one!! Good luck and let us know how you get on!
12th Jun 2005, 06:20 PM
Absolutely possible, attainable, achievable!
I am getting back my confidence (though hacking is still an *issue*) and I never thought I would.
If you really want it - it will happen, you are in charge of your own riding destiny. Keep a positive goal in mind and do little steps to help you achieve the end result. Most of all, enjoy it and believe in yourself and your abilities - the rest will follow.
12th Jun 2005, 08:12 PM
Yes, it absolutely is possible! :) Now, if you had asked if you would be likely to be selected for an Olympic team place .... But seriously, there's no reason at all why you shouldn't achieve it - keep smiling :)
12th Jun 2005, 08:14 PM
I really think you can. Before getting my own horse, I had improved my riding quite a bit by increasing the times per week I did ride...2 lessons plus 1 free ride every other week. I also attended the horse camps when they were available...they sound a lot like the 3 day course you describe.
Yes, my riding since getting my own horse has gotten better (still needs to come a long way though!), but the improvement started even before.
There are several young girls in our version of Pony Club that don't have their own, but who are all getting to be good riders. So you can too! Best of luck.
12th Jun 2005, 08:58 PM
A dozen or so lessons is not a lot of time in the saddle, so don't be disappointed that you aren't challenging the Whittaker clan just yet! :D
Honest it does come with time. I'm another of the once-per-week brigade and it is frustratingly slow. But Crazyhorse was right - the worst lessons always seem to somehow give you a breakthrough and you've got loads of them to come :D (Breakthroughs that is, not bad lessons ... LOL)
The 3 day course sounds a great idea - I'm tempted with something similar myself. Any time I have been on a riding holiday it all seems so much more natural about half-way through the week. In fact being out of the saddle starts to feel weird :)
12th Jun 2005, 10:37 PM
Sophie33 - If all you want to do is hack and riding holidays why worry about your position so much??? I mean when I am out hacking I have a dreadful armchair position. But then I remember hacking is just for fun and the horses fun time as well. So I think you just need to think about the basics at the moment. Concentrate on balance and staying on. ;) As you progress the basics will help you advance. I spent 2 yrs having riding lessons and worrying about getting my posotion right etc. Unfortunately I didn't get anywhere. It wasn't until I got a horse I could trust 100% that position started to improve. My instructor keeps telling me off for trying to hard. It sounds as if you really are enjoying riding and that is the most important part of riding. Have fun and update us on your progress. :)
13th Jun 2005, 03:38 AM
Sure you can!
I definitely think that time in the saddle is important for improvement. Weekly lessons should be fine for your goals, but if you have the chance to get some extra riding in, you're progress will be much quicker.
For what it's worth, owning my horse has been a wonderful experience in many ways, but I wouldn't say that it was the main factor in improving my riding. My riding improved most quickly at the point that I started riding regularly (by part-leasing and riding whenever I could), which was well before I bought my Bud.
13th Jun 2005, 08:22 AM
Thankyou for all your kind replies. You've really cheered me up. Nic I know you're right that I probably shouldn't worry about my position too much - I guess I should get over my perfectionist desire to ride 'properly' and just enjoy riding. On the other hand, it was definitely true that when my leg was in the right position in my last lesson (for a few minutes!) the horse listened more.
I will persevere and try to stop worrying that I'll never be as good as all the people who started riding at 5 instead of at 30!
I'll let you know how my 'course' goes!
13th Jun 2005, 09:28 AM
Your situation sounds similar - I love riding and am kicking myself for leaving such a long break - the net result of which means virtually starting again. And I worry about position and getting things right although my only goals really are to enjoy it, be able to ride kindly and to hack/ holiday. Like you, when I know what things should be like and am trying so hard to get everything correct it can all feel like its falling apart some days.
I think all riders get this even the really good ones.
Don't be discouraged.
I would love a horse, but with all the commuting and sometimes travel I wonder if even a share would be viable and then on top of that worry if I am anywhere near good enough, and how I am ever going to get hands on stable management practice. Theory is one thing!!!
So yrs, just enjoy the company of these lovely creatures and enjoy your time with them.
I hacked in Epping a couple of times a few years back and its lovely isn;t it!
Same with Richmond park. You don't need to be an expert - just sensible. :D
13th Jun 2005, 04:12 PM
Hi - just wanted to say that my head is full of exactly the same questions! How on earth can I be a good rider when i can only ride in lessons once a week?
I've met so many people who started off this way though (including my instructor) that I'm pretty certain it can be done. Just try to make the most of your lessons and enjoy them. And grab every opportunity to jump on a horse whenever you can - I had a fantastic time riding on holiday and it improved my confidence no end.
So far as not worrying too much about your seat etc as you just want to do hacking - there's probably something in that, but also I think that learning, improving and getting that sense of achievement from doing something right is part of the enjoyment. Also, once you've got the hang of it, it does make life easier and therefore more enjoyable in the long run.
13th Jun 2005, 04:20 PM
Of course you will hun, don't be so hard on yourself! Definitely try to enjoy yourself and the rest will follow slowly but surely, unfortunately it's not something that can be rushed, more's the pity but just remember what it was like to learn to drive, I thought I'd never pass my test! Have to admit my position is still pathetic but I'm just a happy hacker so frankly I don't worry about it. I do try to improve it but at the end of the day I just want to enjoy pootling about on my pone. You can start going on those riding holidays now if you want to as they cater for all ages and abilities so don't let anything stop you - enjoy :D
13th Jun 2005, 04:58 PM
Thanks again everyone,
Lou-Lou great to hear that you know people who've started like us and progressed so far. And GeeJay the driving analogy is a great one. Okay I'm not the world's best driver but when I was learning it seemed impossible to do all those things at once - and five years on I do them all completely automatically. I don't mind it taking years to become a competent rider - as long as it is possible to get there. You've all given me confidence it is... thanks loads :)
13th Jun 2005, 05:59 PM
I am also a once a week rider at a Local Riding School its all I can afford/fit in around family etc. I sometimes feel like kicking myself, as I used to ride when I was younger (5yrs old -13yrs old) and then had to give up due to exams, part-time job etc and then familyand after about 17years or so (eck!!!!) I started back last autum after taking a year to pluck up the courage to!! My riding is coming along but like everyone i have my bad days and good days, the thing is Ive started to think, god was I that good a rider when I was younger or is it that so much seems to have changed. I used to compete at Local Shows etc when I was younger and had an array of rosettes and wonder god will I ever get there again, I have a fab Instructor who is very good but had a few months with a different one (due to illness) and seemed to have got no-where in that time. I also had a fall which I didn't worry about at the time bu don't know if that is playing on my mind. Im so glad there is this forum and I don't feel Its just me!!!!!!!Its great hearing all your replies and don't wory Sophie Im sure we'll all get there. :)
13th Jun 2005, 11:08 PM
Sophie - Just an idea but why don't you set yourself goals. Tell your instructor what you would like to improve and she will tal it through with youand teach from there. My goals where to 1) Improve position 2) Use leg aids more positively 3) Jump a 2ft fence 4) Acheive a Clear round. Admittidly my instructor laughed and said that would take all year then. :eek: But in the first lesson after he showed me how to steer a horse without the reins. In my next lesson I jumped 2ft and then came the better leg position. I have only had these goals since April and things are really coming together now. This Sunday will be my final goal attempt. I am going to a local Show. Fingers crossed I will be bringing home a rosette. ;)
You could also look at examinations like Dreassage test, ABRS tests or BHS test. As you progress and get the certificates it will show you just how well you have come on. :)
14th Jun 2005, 04:41 PM
NoviceNic I read your message earlier today and I've spent the day (when I should have been working!) trying to work out what my goals for the next year are. So here goes:
1) To have improved my leg position and the effectiveness of my leg aids.
2) To improve my rein 'contact'
3) To relax in the sitting trot!
4) To feel confident in canter - getting it, keeping it and steering!
5) To be able to jump a small jump
6) To know at least a bit of basic stable management - a minimum of being able to tack up and untack myself.
I'll keep a copy of this - and see how I'm doing in June 2006! Thanks for the great idea.
15th Jun 2005, 04:22 PM
Brilliant. Do you sit and work and think about horses all day as well????? I never get anything done at work!!!!!!!!!!!! A friend of mine on NR sits on NR all day whilst at work the lucky devil.
Good Luck with your list. Very good ideas on it. About stable management, you can take BHS level 1. I believe that test is about stable management.
16th Jun 2005, 04:15 PM
Yes, all the time, sometimes I think I'm mad, never mind what the rest of the office, my oh, friends and family think!
I'll look into the BHS level one, thanks for the tip
17th Jun 2005, 12:48 AM
I don't own a horse either. I started in my mid 30s, and I've been riding for about 2 years or so, now. My riding goal is to go on a ranch holiday, and to do a dressage test.
Mostly I've only been able to ride once a week - as it is, I am now, too.
Earlier this year, I didn't get any riding done for 3 months. I was amazed to find I hadn't forgotten how to ride. Other times I've had time (and money) to ride 3 times a week - yes, that's when I made a lot of progress. Then I had a couple of falls that set me back. Got back on, got over it.
I can't say "and now look at me"! because I don't have anything obvious to point to as a great achievement, BUT, I know I am a much better and more sound rider than I was 2 or even one year ago. I know in that time, I have been better, and perhaps even, more confident, than I am right now. But also, now I'm getting compliments when I never did before.
I am now 'sharing', that is, riding a friend's horse one day a week, having lessons from now on, I hope, once a fortnight. This is much cheaper than school lessons.
I hack out alone (off road). I manage to catch the horse, and to tack up/ untack alone (this is all learned in the last 2 months or so). I accidentally galloped, and I stayed on - and it was great :). You can't believe you'll progress, and then something like that happens, and you realise, you can do it. Every horse is different to ride and teaches you something, even when it doesn't feel like it.
It will undoubtedly take you some time before you find the right share - I attempted several before this one. They have to fit in with your level of experience, your timetable and your budget, your temperament, AND where you live - a tall order.
Most of all, if you love riding, going on courses and holidays, going on treks / hacks, as well as lessons whenever you can, will help enormously.
The downside of NR is you get jealous of the lucky owners who are so obviously having a great time, and you spend too long on it! ;) . The upside is there's always LOTS of people with other stories to tell, and you won't stay fed up for too long.
Get out there and ride whenever you can, and before you know it, you'll be telling people your inspiring story! :)
17th Jun 2005, 08:21 AM
"The downside of NR is you get jealous of the lucky owners who are so obviously having a great time, and you spend too long on it! . The upside is there's always LOTS of people with other stories to tell, and you won't stay fed up for too long."
That is so true maya-m! Thanks for your story, the fact that you can do all that stuff after two years or so is a real inspiration for me and I'm sure for the other people who've replied to this thread and are in the same situation.
21st Jun 2005, 10:48 PM
Sophie - Just wondered how things were going with your list??? Have you looked into BHS level 1 yet? Have you taken a few videos of your riding so that in a few months time you can revisit them and look at how much you have improved?? I acheived my goal of Clear Round on Sunday. It was the most amazing feeling. :D
21st Jun 2005, 11:22 PM
Wow, NNic, clear round, how spectacular, you are driven! :cool:
We are planning 'video nasty', as Yann calls it, of Yann on Rio. It's high time we videoed them again.
2 yrs ago I was videod in a group school lesson and that really WAS dire. I did it to take along to show Heather Moffet, who told me sweetly that it WAS awful, but it WASNT MY FAULT! :D That gave me some faith in myself. I still haven't managed to re-vid myself, and I hardly need to to know I'm better than I was then, but yeah.... the satisfaction / the horror! ;) It's really worth seeing yourself as others do.
22nd Jun 2005, 03:24 PM
Brilliant news on your clear round. I haven't made much progress yet. Still I've arranged to be videoed at the beginning and end of my three day 'horse holiday' in July - hopefully the end will be a bit better than the beginning! The instructor has also said I can have a jumping lesson during my three days (scary but exciting!). And I spent most of my last lesson working on sitting trot without stirrups - can't say that I got better - but I've started trying.
I also cantered (first time after a three month break from riding) in Monday's lesson. Next week I am determined to canter without considering the possibility I might fall off! And without using the neck strap!
As for the BHS 1 I can study for it at my riding school. Haven't made plans to yet but have daily stable management lessons built into my three day horse extravaganza!
22nd Jun 2005, 10:25 PM
Ooooh be careful once you start the jumping bug you won't stop. :D Sitting trot without stirrups is a fantastic way to improve your balance. I am still practising and I don't get any better. :o Also try to trot standing up in your stirrps. This will improve your heels down position. Let us know how you get on with your 3 day event. :D
25th Jun 2005, 10:31 AM
Sorry folks but no-one I know is remotely interested in hearing how good my lesson was - so I'm going to inflict it on New Rider!
Last night I was in a lesson with someone else (I'm usually on my own). She was more advanced than me but happy to share the lesson. I knew beforehand that being in with her would mean plenty of canter and I decided beforehand to just go with it and try and relax. I was absolutely shattered from a very long week at work and I went home beforehand and had a soak in a Radox filled bath so felt more like going to sleep than riding a horse! But I think it actually helped being sleepy - too tired to get nervous!
And I didn't ask for a neck strap and decided to canter without. Only afterward did I tell the instructor that I'd never cantered before without a neckstrap or clutching the front of the saddle! And she said that my balance was very good so I really didn't need to worry about hanging on.
Okay I wasn't great there was a lot of fast, unbalanced trot before I actually got canter, but when I got it I felt good! And I think the sitting trot has already helped because I'm not bruised or aching anywhere today and I felt like I was really sitting on my seat bones, whereas normally I have a bit of soreness in the crotch area after a hard lesson!
So yippee - I'm getting somewhere.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.