Please talk to me about learning to ride!

(15 Posts)
TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 13-Nov-13 17:25:57

OK, I am worried you're going to think I'm crazy, but here goes.

I have never ridden properly - last even sat on a horse approximately 30 years ago (and it was sidesaddle and I was wearing medieval clothes....) and I really want to learn more about riding and horses because I write historical fiction and I feel like not understanding horses and riding is a huge gap in my knowledge, the sort of thing you can only really understand through doing it.

I live in a rural area with lots of horses and I keep seeing them go past my house and thinking more and more that I really want to give it a go.

I'm 41, reasonably fit, not particularly well co-ordinated (so I can't imagine ever being seriously good at it) but also not unusually bad.

So I'm thinking about finding a local riding school and seeing if they do beginners' classes. Would I need lots of expensive clothes (boots and hat and jodhpurs)? Am I too old? Will everyone laugh at me if I'm rubbish?

Any advice? Thanks!

cq Wed 13-Nov-13 17:42:21

Go for it! Make sure you find a BHS approved school so that you have qualified trainers and safe horses. They should be able to lend you boots and a hat to start with, and Tesco do really cheap jods so you don't need to shell out lots of money until you decide whether it's really for you. Jeans or tracksuit trousers are not comfortable to ride in.

Lots of people learn to ride as adults, but just bear in mind that, as with many things, it doesn't come so naturally or easily to an adult as it does to a child.

Only other tip I have is perhaps to ask for a more 'mature' instructor who will understand better any nerves or anxiety you may have - there are a lot of young girls in the business who will not have a clue what it's like to be starting out in your forties.

Hope you enjoy itgrin

TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 13-Nov-13 18:04:56

Thanks, Cq!

And thanks for the tip about getting an older instructor - so many people seem to learn to ride practically from toddlerhood, I can imagine them not having much sense of what it's like to start older.

daisy5569 Wed 13-Nov-13 18:59:00

Agree that you should just find a good riding school and just go for it!
I had ridden as a child but never had proper lessons till I was in my mid 30's and decided to pluck up courage to book a lesson. To begin with I had private lessons and then as I got more confident joined some group lessons. I felt like I progressed quicker in my shorter private lessons than by joining a bigger group one.

Find some riding schools and go and watch part of a lesson, then you will get a feel for how you will get on.

My first lessons were with an older lady (who is now a friend) but I also had lessons with some of the younger girls and find they challenge you in a different way, so don't be put off by having a lessons with a younger instructor.
When I first had lessons they soon became very addictive and at one time I was doing 3 a week grin The bank balance couldn't keep that up so now have one a week and hack out on a friends horse whenever I have a day off.

Lovesswimming Wed 13-Nov-13 23:26:47

Some riding schools are doing something called 'Take back the reins' which are classes specifically for adult beginners or adults who have not ridden for 15 years (where your brain is very good but your body doesn't obey!) there are lots of adults starting and a good riding school will work well for you (many parents who after watching their children ride decide to join in). Let us know how you get on

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 14-Nov-13 15:04:01

Thanks, Daisy and Lovesswimming!
I've just broken the news to dh that I'm going to do this....
I'm getting v excited at the thought.

goodasitgets Thu 14-Nov-13 15:08:35

It's the start of a slippery slope. You will be kitting yourself out in "necessary" items, eyeing up houses with land, shedding hay/pony nuts all over the carpet and contemplating the cost of keeping a horse winkgrin

My dads theory was "if you want a horse, dig a hole at the bottom of the garden and chuck £50 notes in. Repeat until skint. This is now your life"

Do let us know how you get on Tunip. And be glad you're not a bloke when you learn rising trot ... you'll see what I mean!

Lovesswimming Thu 14-Nov-13 18:11:23

What goodasotgetssays. Erm..... We now have 2 out the back and moved to do it ......

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 15-Nov-13 14:59:26

LOL, the responsibility of a horse just seems staggering. I can't imagine going that far (though as it happens we are house-hunting and some of the houses do happen to have paddocks and stables....)

frenchfancy Fri 15-Nov-13 17:49:58

I started as a complete beginner 4 years ago (aged 38). I think I had sat on a horse three times in my life. I now love it, own 2 horses (well 1 poorly pony and a horse) and DH has now started this year.

You do not need to be brilliant or aim for 3 day events - I spend a lot of time just trotting round the school. being with horses and starting to understand them is the main pleasure.

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 19-Nov-13 23:59:03

I spent the summer working at a riding stables/trecking centre, and met quite a few people getting into riding as adults. I think it is a lot more common now than it was in the past. As an adult you can actually progress more quickly than younger children, as you can think more clearly about what you want to do and how to achieve it. It may take you a while to develop "feel", which I do think is something people who rode as children often seem to have naturally.

I am sure you will really enjoy it.

However, if you really want to learn about horses, riding is just one aspect. There is a lot that can be learnt from doing stable management too, especially about horse behaviour. So, you might want to find a riding school who will let you learn about this, too!

Poledra Thu 21-Nov-13 09:33:32

goodasitgets, the yard owner where I ride has a similar attitude to your dad - if any of the chldren express a desire for their own pony, he tells them ok, he'll come down and dump a pile of horseshit in their back garden. Every morning, before school, they have to shovel the shit from one side of the garden to the other. Then, after school, they have to shovel it all back again. And that is the reality of owning a pony grin

Debs75 Thu 21-Nov-13 09:42:54

Go for it, you won't look back.
Find a good riding school and watch a lesson, talk to the instructors, meet the horses. You might find that getting to know the horse might be better before actually getting on.
Kit wise you need some boots a hat and some gloves. Tesco and Aldi do some good cheap boots and hats although you may be able to borrow from the school. I like to use the really cheapie £1 stretchy gloves with dimples on. Essential in the cold and gives you a bit of security on the reins.
Ask for a private lesson first, more expensive but you can go at your own pace and you will have the instructor to yourself.

Have fun

bringoutthepringles Fri 27-Dec-13 00:25:18

Agree with Debs75- worth paying extra for a private lesson. Make sure they know you are a complete beginner so that they give you a suitable horse. You may find yourself walking like a cowboy for a couple of days after but you will soon get used to. More fun than going to the gym!

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