Brand new to riding

Mistybelle

New Member
Mar 2, 2020
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Hi all

I have just started learning to ride (had my second lesson on Saturday) and am really loving it so far!
I just had a couple of questions:

1) I appreciate that I am going to ache as I am building muscles that I have never used in this way before however, is it normal to bruise? I have noticed that I have bruising on my inner thighs and inner knees and they are quite sore for several days!

2) How do you stop the pony/horse from cutting the corners? I seem not to be able to get the pony I have been riding to go round two of the corners - it is worst whilst trotting but even during walking i cant get him to do it every time. :( I also have a problem keeping him trotting - though I found a very helpful post about that on here :)

Thank you in advance for any help - I am new to everything having never ridden before and am very appreciative :)
 
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chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
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Hi and welcome.
Yes you may well bruise to start with. Its possible that your are gripping with your legs to stay in the saddle. Especially when trotting. This is classic for a beginner. After a while as you become more at ease with riding bruises will lessen.
The only other possibility that happens to me is if i wear a thin pair of leggings when riding sometimes the saddle feels uncomfortable, in the bit wear the buckles for the stirrups are. I would suggest you wear some woolley tights or an extra pair of leggings for a bit until your more relaxed with the riding.
If you get bruises on your lower leg then this could be from the stirrup leathers pinching. This is easily resolved by wearing long riding boots of chaps over your short boots.
Ill leave others to advise on not cutting the corners. But i wouldnt worry to much as youve only had two lessons. Its something that will improve with time. Just enjoy your new riding bug.
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
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Hi, welcome to NR :D
Bruising is pretty common, but you may find it is because you are gripping with your thighs/knees a bit too much, try thinking of being a wet towel draped over the saddle rather than trying to cling on with your legs :) TBH it can also be from the saddle, unfortunately RS saddles are often not the best fit for the rider (yep saddles need to fit you, as well as the horse, to be really comfortable!) so I would second the wearing thicker, or two layers on your bottom half.
As for the pony cutting corners, I bet the 2 corners you struggle with are the far end from the gate/where the rest of the lesson is waiting? It is the number 1 RS pony trick, cut back to the gate/other ponies, they are skilled ninjas in this area :D the trick to getting them in the corner is to think about riding a straight line, both hands even, both legs even and look straight ahead (this is really important as your head weighs about 2kg and when you move it they feel it and it tips your balance, I mean they can feel a fly landing on them so why wouldn't they) and ride forwards and straight until just after 'the track' goes around the corner, then make the turn, during the turn remember not to let go of the outside rein and keep the inside leg on because this helps to 'hold them up' and keep looking at where you want to go in the next few strides not back at the long side or that's where you will end up :)
 

Huggy

Well-Known Member
Nov 11, 2018
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Hello and welcome. I used to bruise when I rode at RS once a week - I think as time went by, I just toughened up over those areas. At the time, I just considered the bruises a necessary evil, doing something I loved!
 

sonjanae

New Member
Jul 3, 2019
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Hello and welcome! As a relatively new rider myself I don't often feel justified in giving advice, but it just so happens that my horse cutting corners was the first real struggle I overcame while beginning riding last year :) If a more knowledgeable rider wants to add on or critique my understanding please feel free! You know what they say about the blind leading the blind ;)
So first of all, understanding the concepts of a few components of riding will help immensely! Don't worry if the information doesn't 'click' yet. I know that I personally often have to take some time riding for myself and sometimes even experimenting in order to gain a better understanding of proper mechanics and building that intuitive 'feel'. Just keep things in the back of your mind as you go along and try to apply what makes sense when it makes sense. And soon more and more concepts will begin adding up for a more holistic understanding.
I had to work through 2 main issues before I could ride corners well (and it took several months of weekly lessons for me to really 'get it'). The first was honestly just using enough leg to keep the horse moving forward with enough energy, especially since my leaser is quite prone to laziness. Often, school horses tend to be duller, so making sure you're being firm with your forward energy helps send the message that you're not just a passenger, you're calling the shots on tempo and direction. Your bit about keeping your pony trotting makes me think that you may need to get a feel for adding more leg as needed :) From there you have to have correct contact, and this is what will really keep you riding through the corners well as far as navigation. The outside rein is essentially what keeps your horse from "falling in." For example, if you're riding a circle, the tension at which you keep the outside rein basically signals where to "stay" to the horse. While you're taking and releasing on the inside rein to signal the horse to turn, it is the steady outside contact that provides the horse an 'allowance' and 'holds' him in place from following his nose and just making the circle smaller, if that makes sense? So if you apply this to a corner, which should essentially be ridden like a partial circle, you will be signaling to turn with the inside rein, while keeping the horse in place with the outside rein contact. Soft, steady hands are important here. Also, horses are taught to move off of pressure and ideally bend around your leg, so when you apply inside leg in addition to proper contact, a good horse should not move to cut the corner because you're also signaling with the inside leg to not exceed that 'boundary' you've set, as well as help them bend correctly around the curve.
Also important to note is to make sure you are looking in the right direction! Turning your head, even slightly, shifts your ENTIRE balance, and believe me, horses and ponies are extremely perceptive of these minute changes.
Like I said, don't expect to be able to understand everything perfectly from the get go, and even more frustrating, even when you do have a better theoretical understanding, don't feel bummed when it's still challenging to execute. It's all a learning process and things come together in time. Best of luck!
 

Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
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Welcome to NR @Mistybelle - personally Id say don't stress too much about pony cutting corners just now, RS ponies are masters at every trick in the book, as others have said re the bruises, it will get better as you get more comfortable in the saddle but for now wear an extra layer. Good luck with your lessons, my one piece of advice would be to enjoy it, don't overthink things and know that you will get there with time.
 

charmisthebesthorse

New Member
Sep 29, 2019
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Hi to answer your questions

1) I I still bruise on the sides of my knees after doing stirrupless and I’ve ridden for ten years I think its perfectly normal
2)try and use your inside leg to push the horse around the outside notre and lift inside rein up slightly to make sure the horse doesn’t turn inwards
Good luck it really is the best sport
 
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