Novice rider looking for some advice please(12 Posts)
Before LO 3 years ago I used to ride in a group lesson for novices (w,t, wobbly canter and small jump) and hack out regularly.
Ive recently moved to a house where I have room for my own horse (will get a small companion for DD to boss around :-) ) and started 1-1 lessons.
Today was my 6th lesson and i found it pretty nerve-wracking where it came to cantering circles. Im not particularly strong anyway and im sure the horse is listening more to the RI than he is to me. Is this confidence something that will come with a few more lessons?
Is confidently cantering circles all that essential considering Im aiming to have my own sensible native type at home and be a happy hacker.
Probably more importantly how much experience should I have before I get my own? I have a lovely experienced neighbour who has offered to help me find a suitable horse and show me the ropes. I've volunteered at a sanctuary before we moved, groomed, mucked out and assisted with injuries being treated and I've signed up for a introductory groundwork course next month with a private follow-up session arranged for whenever I do get my own.
Thoughts welcome before I get carried away looking for ponies :-)
Treat carefully. Privately owned horses are a step up in terms of rider ability than RC ones and if you are feeling a bit insecure on an RC horse in the school there is a good chance you may have an accident with your own horse.
I really apologise for being so negative. I don't want to put you off, especially as I have 4 horses in my 'back garden', but I think you need to be sensible. Stay with the RC a little bit longer. Make sure you can confidently ride (and hack) their most demanding horses all by yourself in all three paces and then think about buying your own.
When it does come time to buy go with your instructor. There is no substitute for someone who knows your riding abilities and can give an opinion about the horse's suitability for you.
Thanks - i do intend to have some more lessons so hopefully I will get more confident in cantering circles and then I'll move onto hacks.
But i am worried that with just an hour a week on an RS horse - im never going to get the experience and confidence to have my own :-(
I think you need to find somewhere first where you can practice your stable management skills ,perhaps that's something you could do at the riding school. Also do you have everything set up at home i.e stables , somewhere to store hay ,feed ,bedding . Have you enough room for a school ?
I'm assuming you're cantering quite big circles? What do you feel insecure in? Is it the balance? Or the control? Or something else? Whilst cantering a circle is possibly not an essential skill, being able to control the speed and direction of the canter, and sit the canter on a curve is probably an essential skill.
When looking to get your own, you should be 100% confident you can bring it in, turn it out, groom, tack up, and deal with all its esential health needs. You should also understand how to feed it, how to shoe it, and how to otherwise keep it comfortable. Keeping it on part livery, with an experienced, helpful yard, might be a good place to start.
If you feel insecure cantering the circles, and don't feel in control of the horse, then you're probably not ready to move to riding outside of lessons. Everything will feel a lot more daunting without an instructor telling you what to do, or someone on the ground to help. This is only going to come with time and practise in the saddle, and don't forget on hacks you have to deal with your horse responding to the unexpected, and you don't only need to keep yourself safe, but other members of the public too.
Actually that's quite reassuring, I do feel in control of the speed and direction - it's more that corners are cut, and in circles - i tense up and grip and my toes goes down and I lean forward - and bounce around.
The cantering of curves was concentrated a lot on today!
I didnt' actually say that i didnt feel in control - i said that i felt the horse was listening to the RI as much as he was listening to me - like my signals are pre-emptied because as a RS horse he knows what to expect and anticipates.
The stable management side is fine - and I wonder if riding at home 3/4 times a week at my own pace would build my confidence and experience more than an hour a week at a riding school?
Around here its quite hard to find a riding school with suitable hours and horses - my current RS doesn't have any other horses that are more challenging than the ones I've rode.
hhmmm - food for thought.
Again don't want to sound negative, but, as Slowloris said, don't underestimate the skills required to go out for a hack in safety: you need to be calm and confident in all paces, know a few useful dressage maneouvres such as reining back and shoulder in, to be able to ride up and down hills and through water, perhaps over road bridges, and your horse needs to be able to cope with hacking alone and with others, going past other horses and different livestock in fields, and to calmly cope with cars that are going past too fast and too close, paper bags fluttering by, tractors, bicycles, dogs, pheasants, wheelie bins, buses, low flying jets, rattling lorries, bus-stops, umbrellas etc etc. The list is endless! It's not an exaggeration to say that some of this stuff can be life-threatening. And you need to be able to cope with the unexpected without transmitting your fears to your mount.
And the world and his wife are out there looking for a bomb-proof native sensible type - they are not easy to find!
On the positive side : if you can find the right mount and gain experiencing by hacking out with some experienced riders and horses, there is no better way to improve your riding!
Having said the above, it is always difficult making the transition from menage to open countryside. I wouldn't personally try and do it alone - I'd definitely enlist a teacher or other experienced riders - but you have to do it some time.
THe BHS run riding and road safety tests that you might find useful as part of your prep. Info here
Hmm... I don't want to be negative either but there is more to having a horse than confidently cantering in circles as previous posters have already mentioned.
I strongly recommend that at least you have a horse on DIY at a reputable yard so that you have a strong support network and can get to know reputable farriers/dentists/vets and where you'll learn about horse and field management as you go.
I know this sounds negative and we all started somewhere, but the welfare of the horse should be prevalent.
Have you thought of sharing a horse? It will give you the extra experience you're looking for, and let you try out that step up to a privately owned horse from a riding school one. It should give you the practice in hacking out you're looking for too.
Riding on your own will challenge your confidence rather than build it. You will be on your own, with no advice and re-assurance from the ground, having to deal with all kinds of situations.
Aha - I have just spotted an ad for a part-loan suitable for a novice with an owner who also offers escorted hacks/confidence building/stable managment bhs 1&2/bhs road safety.
sounds like a good starting point :-)
That sounds really good! Check how much money she wants for this though as I expect she will charge for all these lessons.
As a general rule when you view a horse to either loan, buy or share never get on if the owner refuses to get on themselves and if the horse seems suitable with its owner always get on the first time in an arena or at least small enclosed paddock. Best of luck!
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