im just not getting any better - intensive lessons?

(144 Posts)
ThatVikRinA22 Sat 22-Jun-13 23:43:35

my RI is a stickler for "proper" riding - she is of the Sylvia Loch school of thought - which is brilliant, knowledgeable, but im just not getting it....

i go one step forwards, then 3 back.

its worse as im an adult learner. RI is really very good, and says yes, you can get by from kicking and pulling, but she teaches properly the use of leg aids (i e - riding from the ankle UP...no kicking unless for discipline)

im worse than useless. She talks about collecting the horse and riding in front of the leg....now i understand these as concepts but i have all on trying to coordinate my body, legs and arms.....

i do not want to give up - it gives me such pleasure, and i know enough about horse care and stable management now to own my own pony, RI often leaves me to it if she needs a few hours off....and i love helping out, plus i dearly would love my own pony.

im thinking of booking a series of intensive lessons daily for a week or so, because just as i seem to be getting it i go backwards again. My legs will not do as they are asked....(!!) i give the poor horse mixed messages, i cant seem to keep my heels down and toes in....and my lower legs refuse to stay where i put them originally!

im getting so annoyed with myself! RI says i am perfectly normal but im not improving at all.

because i help out RI says she will do me a deal on intensive lessons.

im feeling a bit despondent. I so want to learn. i can do everything now with horses except ride them!

LastMangoInParis Sat 22-Jun-13 23:50:59

Hello, Vicar!
How often are you having the lessons? Do you get to ride at all apart from lessons? More hours with your bum on a saddle are needed... Have you checked out horse shares or exercising horses at a nearby yard if possible?
It would probably be helpful for you to be able to do your own thing a bit.
Also, what's the riding school horse that you ride like? Could it be that your RI is asking you to ride in a way that's not really viable on the horse you're riding? (OK, I know, I know, in theory you should be able to ride any horse 'properly', but if the horse is so bored/desensitised from being a riding school horse, then that's kind of easier said than done.)
Kind of convenient for RI that you 'need' these extra lessons so badly, though, no?

Umm, Vicar are you over-thinking again? grin

You are learning, trust me, you are. If you are considering intensives though, you may find it more beneficial to go on a residential course somewhere rather than using your current instructor. Sometimes you need a different way of going/teaching to help.

If you were able to travel, this place or this one are pretty good.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 23-Jun-13 00:05:23

she has said she will do some freebies because i help out so often, so its not about money.

none of her horses are riding school plods - all retain their personalities! (the kiddies ponies maybe....but the horses suitable for adults are not plods, they respond perfectly to aids - which is why i come unstuck when my toes go out and my heels go in....they take this as a command and i confuse the poor things)

her horses do dressage so are very responsive to the leg and seat.

i just want to get to a place where im good enough - im never going to compete. She is looking for another horse with me in mind - ive said i'll pay for the horse and she can use it on working livery, because i know and trust her.

i love being there. its definitely not a £££ thing and i consider her a friend, and i love her ethos and the way she teaches. But she is an amazing rider, so natural. Her aids are invisible.

it was my idea to have some intensive lessons - i work 5 on and get 5 off so i ride weekly, but occasionally i end up going 2 weeks if i have things on or my free time is over a weekend when she is at her busiest.

she keeps assuring me that i am no worse than any other learner and that it will "click" but every week she has to manipulate my legs into the right position because its like i have no memory of where things are meant to be!

my seat is perfect at walk. As soon as i trot it all goes to pot....i just cant keep my lower leg back, my heel down and my toes in. This week she put her hand between my calf and the horse and says my aids are plenty strong enough, but im just not effective. Her horses are clever enough to know that im crap enough to get away with murder!

i know its like learning to drive....that suddenly things come together. I was just thinking some intensive lessons might hasten that process up a bit!
when i go a week in between rides i seem to go back to square one.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 23-Jun-13 00:14:27

any places in the UK? not sure i can manage ireland....

RI wont let me hack out until i have better control - ive asked, she worries that if im not in control it could all go tits up...and fair play to her. it could. im not in control. That requires coordination. which i dont have....

And you need to walk before you can run...don't know if it will help but the mental visualisations I use to best effect are:

Allow your weight to hang through your elbows (good for keeping your leg long and wrapped)
Pretend you're Marilyn Monroe (sit up with your chest out) - good for getting beasties to drop their head and start to work from behind
Ride as though your eyes are in your stomach - good for collection and not getting forward too early when jumping.

Will have a think on UK ones as haven't done one in a while.

Would being out of control be an issue? I know that seems an odd question but sometimes its nice just to let them run (actually I'd go for 'addictive' rather than 'nice' if I'm honest - took me years to admit though). If they are the sort that are vaguely steerable then you might find it fun.

Pixel Sun 23-Jun-13 00:24:39

I think you need less time in the school, not more. You are thinking too much, it's making you tense and creating a vicious circle. That's what it sounds like to me anyway.
Can't you get out on a hack? You will be concentrating on other things around you and I'll bet that you will find you've learned more than you think when you realise how much you are doing automatically!
You do realise that even people who have ridden for years can struggle with the things you are talking about if they have a lesson and the 'spotlight' is on them so to speak? I know I do. I start concentrating on keeping my toes in and then find my elbows are sticking out or my hands are creeping up. There's always something, that's the point of having lessons but it doesn't mean you are a terrible rider.

Pixel Sun 23-Jun-13 00:29:42

Ah crossed posts about the hacking, took too long to type. But really, you should have enough control by now to go out on a quiet horse. If your RI's aren't quiet enough, find some that are.

Littlebigbum Sun 23-Jun-13 01:00:56

Hacking, still say that. You will find your seat and as you hack longer than schooling your body will just get tired enough.
Trekking centre on hols
I know it is had with the family and all.
Good to hear from you again

EMUZ Sun 23-Jun-13 01:10:06

Highly recommend lunge lessons at Talland in Cirencester. I travelled down from NW for a week and had a great time
But, I have a loan horse. I've ridden for 25 years at a fairly decent level. Got on loan horse (who is ridden at Medium dressage) and could not ride. Wouldn't soften let alone any form of outline, wouldn't bend... Etc etc
It has taken me 18 MONTHS with 25 years of riding experience to even start to get the measure of this horse grin
You learn, and you learn more, the more you learn the more complicated it seems but it does click. I can get on that horse now and have her going like a dream within 20 minutes

issyocean Sun 23-Jun-13 09:07:17

I just think you need to ride and have fun somewhere - to get a new perspective and stop worrying so much.

Tumpy Green where my daughter rides offer riding holidays here

They are a family run business (sisters) and all the instructors are friendly and knowledgeable.

I have been so impressed with them that I am going to join their "Hoof- Take Back t The Reins" course that will be starting in September smile

carabos Sun 23-Jun-13 11:48:27

Agree with others who say less schooling, more riding. As kids we hardly ever schooled and moaned like mad if we had to do it.

We spent all our time roaming round on our ponies, popping over things that got in the way, going for a burn where we could, slobbing along on the buckle end where we couldn't.

Yes, coming to riding as an adult is different, but if you could mimic the childhood experience a bit, you would be amazed at how much your riding would "improve". More feeling, less thinking iyswim.

Pixel Sun 23-Jun-13 19:15:39

I think in some ways these 'sensitive' dressage horses are holding you back. Most people don't expect perfection when they start out. They begin on something safe but not too sensitive to get their balance and coordination, then they go on to better horses to refine and progress their riding. You don't get behind the wheel of a Ferrari and expect to drive it perfectly when you have never driven so much as a milk float!

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 23-Jun-13 19:42:44

I know what you ate all saying but my RI is very risk averse and even though I've asked to hack out she won't let me. She thinks it would be unsafe, potentially dangerous. I don't wear body protection because I wear it all week at work, I figure its my own fault if I fall off and I do have quite a cavalier attitude to hurting myself, but RI doesn't share! She worries about me meeting traffic, or spooking, Or bolting and not having the skills to cope safely with those things. I did ride as a child but it was very much fly by the seat of your pants riding. - no hat, no lessons, just learnt to stay on! I actually used to jump logs, gallop, the works, but I was 10. Not ridden since and never "learnt". Now at 41 it's hard....

By this stage you really ought to be hacking out. If she's so risk averse find somewhere else to go just for hacks, or try a riding holiday. Even total beginners go pony-trekking you know, as long as the horse is safe.

I think the quest for perfection can hold you back, not just in horse-riding but in many things, if you have to be perfect at one stage before you're allowed to try the next thing.

As for the horse spooking, bolting etc. - shouldn't happen very often on most riding school horses - let's fact it, if it did they'd lose clients. And plodding round the school may improve your seat in "plod" mode but won't teach you much about how to stay on a spooking horse anyway - what you need for that is spook-specific technique (which you can be taught), quick reactions, and real-life spooking practice.

Honestly, I know from your threads you love your RI, but it does sound like she's holding you back.

If you won't wear a body protector when out I can understand why your instructor may be reluctant to let you hack out one of hers, particularly if they are dressage specialists.

Even though you know the risks and choose to take them, the problem is, if something nasty did occur, you might have no choice but to claim on her insurance just to be able to get by. To give you an idea, mine has saved me from;
a potentially snapped spine (was schooling a sod in the arena and he ducked before a jump, sending me out the side door onto the arena fence with full body weight onto my back) was badly bruised/ sore instead
A smashed collarbone/ribs - was a dislocation and bruising instead(dodgy fall hunter trialling)
A smashed pelvis (found the only piece of hard ground on a cross country course a few years ago...) again just bruising, but to a level where I was bed-ridden for four days.

I think, until you stop getting cross at yourself (much, much easier said than done) then, no matter how much you improve, you won't see it and lessons/riding won't be fun challenging, but stressful challenging, IYSWIM?

Could you have someone video you at intervals so you have 'evidence' that, on the whole, you are improving?

Oh, and second what NotGood said.

Kormachameleon Sun 23-Jun-13 20:24:51

Go hacking. If RI won't let you go somewhere else

Just for a change and enjoyment

And ride bareback. Drop the saddle and stirrups. Focus on lengthening the legs and wrapping your legs round the horses side but without pressure - you ad pressure when your any to ask for something

As much bareback as you can, sitting tall and long and deep

issyocean Sun 23-Jun-13 20:46:48

Seriously Vicar give somewhere else a try at least once.Go have some riding fun without worrying about being perfect smile

Pixel Sun 23-Jun-13 20:46:52

Yes, not sure how you are going to learn about traffic and spooking in a school? hmm
Does this yard concentrate on dressage or does RI teach other disciplines as well? If you want your own horse you are going to need a more rounded riding education anyway (unless of course you are happy to stay in the school forever but it sounds rather a dull life for your future horse). There is nothing wrong with carrying on with your dressage lessons there and alternating with other things somewhere else, it's all learning and it doesn't hurt to try things from a different angle. I'm worried that you are not getting any sense of achievement at the moment, or any sense that you are progressing at all.

Echo what others say. Find somewhere that does long hacks and just enjoy. The SL stuff can be a bit intense.

Pixel Sun 23-Jun-13 21:09:20

* Even total beginners go pony-trekking you know, as long as the horse is safe.*

Reminds me of the last time I went trekking. There were two girls who had never ridden before. The first five minutes of our hack consisted of one of the stable staff running beside the girls as we trotted up the road, calling "up down up down". That was their 'lesson' grin.
Honestly, they did brilliantly, looked quite safe and came back an hour later with big smiles on their faces, very pleased with themselves and determined to get lessons when they got home. Two more converts!

Floralnomad Sun 23-Jun-13 21:10:06

Work out how much you have spent on lessons so far and then decide if your RI is really 'value for money' . I agree with all the others who have said that you should be looking to hack out and move on a bit . What are you actually doing in lessons now ,are you cantering and jumping ?

EMUZ Sun 23-Jun-13 21:16:28

How about going somewhere totally different like Cumbria heavy horses? There's another one up that way who's name escapes me at the moment. It's run by a friend of a friend so I can recommend it. They do beach rides etc

bonzo77 Sun 23-Jun-13 21:20:06

Totally agree with above posts. Too much thinking, not enough riding. Get a share on something quiet and hack out loads. Some of the best horsemen/ women I have come across have never had a formal lesson in their life. I've learnt more in the last 10 years of sharing a variety of horses than I did in the previous 20 years in riding schools.

saintmerryweather Sun 23-Jun-13 21:23:35

absolutely nothing has changed since your last post. go somewhere else, to.someone who trusts their horses to behave themselves out on a hack and JUST HAVE FUN. You are seriously overthinking your riding and getting so caught up in the tiniest little details that it doesnt sound like you can possibly be having fun. with your riding.

if your instructor doesnt trust her horses meeting trafficand behaving themselves out on a hack, that really really says to me 'go elsewhere.' shes still mugging you off and youre still planning on buying her a horse.

saintmerryweather Sun 23-Jun-13 21:24:56

i think emuz might mean murthwaite green, they are in cumbria too

Mirage Sun 23-Jun-13 21:57:30

Hack out.I've had about 6 lessons in the past 34 years and even I can hack out without coming to grief.If I can do it,anyone can.If you are worried about traffic,can't your instructor take you to a bridle path instead?

Where abouts are you?

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 23-Jun-13 22:07:19

im in east yorkshire. sadly there is sod al elsel near me....

i would wear a body protector if she would let me hack out, but she wont.

i had thought about just getting my own and saying sod it....i am find with all aspects of horse care and stable management.
i just cant ride. I was thinking if i got my own she cant really stop me....but i want her on board with me - thing is she is a perfectionist.

im not cantering yet and she still has me on the lunge. she wont let me loose. its not just me....her other adult learners are much the same. i do love her though, i respect her amazing knowledge but it is getting frustrating.
i found my way as a kid - i have never fallen off a horse. she wont let me do anything more than school, on a lunge line, and no, im not getting it. my toes refuse to stay in. my heels refuse to stay down. my legs hurt. i work in a 20 metre circle, which is hard going....
i used to gallop through corn fields.
i used to canter on grass verges.
i used to trot around the village.

i couldnt ride, but clearly i could on some level, because i found my way. i used to canter at first my standing in the stirrups like a jockey until i found my seat and could stick to the saddle......but i did it just by experimenting.
thats something i cant do now. and yes, i m tense. i beat myself up. i get cross with myself. its not all RI fault....but she is teaching for perfection and i cant get even the basics.

Aw Vicar. Sorry but she is taking the piss. I am sure you have great respect for her but not letting you off the lunge is bloody ridiculous. There must be a big standard riding school somewhere near you.

Bog not big.

Floralnomad Sun 23-Jun-13 22:14:45

I'm surprised she has any clients at all ,TBH you'd be better off buying something quiet and keeping it somewhere that has the facilities for you to get an instructor in . You are wasting your time where you are .Sorry .

Kormachameleon Sun 23-Jun-13 22:15:14

Sorry vicar but actually I think your RI is taking the proverbial

You are still on the fecking lunge ????

Either you are horrendous at riding and should just give up or she is taking the piss and using you as a cash cow

I know which one I'm tempted to think

Sorry mate, I'd buy a horse, get on a good yard and go it alone. Do you want to compete at top level ? If not fuck what your ankles and feet do. Worry about your hands, soft hands and a good feel for contact, a steady nag and a half decent seat and you'll be fine

I promise. Just do it

PeanutPatty Sun 23-Jun-13 22:19:10

Try somewhere else. Honestly.

Are all the lessons given on the lunge? How many lessons a day does each horse do? 20mins on the lunge with a rider is a pretty intensive work out for a horse.

I think your RI being a perfectionist is restricting you. Sometimes when you don't "get" something moving on and doing something different say canter poles or leg yield down the long side can take your mind/body away from the frustration and when you come back to it all refreshed you more often than not actually better!

saintmerryweather Sun 23-Jun-13 22:20:39

oh come on vic thats bloody ridiculous, youre still on the lunge? you should be jumping by now. your instructor is a joke and is taking the piss out of you. it might be because she is axdressage trainer but my blood is actually boiling for you that she is holding you back so badly. it doesnt matter if you dont have a perfect position, you just need to get out there and actually ride.

. i have to be brutally honest and say i dont actually care that much if my legs slip out of position or my toes arent always pointing the right way.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 23-Jun-13 22:26:43

i am seriously thinking about just getting my own, and having a go. But i do want to learn to ride too, not just stay on....when i watch Sylvia Loch i can understand where my RI comes from....but i am far from heavy handed. Part of the problem is the lack of suitable horses and i do really love my RI, so its really difficult.

i think a trekking holiday would do me the world of good in many ways - dd is 16 this year so as soon as i feel able to leave her (DH works nights) i will book one, just for me, my reward. It may sort me out. Riding isnt the pleasure it should be thats for sure.
I always feel better without stirrups - my position is better, so i have asked if i can ride with longer stirrups, my position goes to pot when my stirrups are shorter but RI thinks this is better as its easier to stay in position without lower leg shifting forward....but its not working for me.

i completely understand what ny RI is trying to teach me - and its what i said i wanted.
its just becoming incredibly hard work....i do feel quite demoralised because as i concentrate on one thing something else goes to rat shit....

i do long to just canter through a field!

saintmerryweather Sun 23-Jun-13 22:27:47

i was riding my instructors horse yesterday in my lesson, second time id ever ridden him. asked for canter in the corner, cantered half the school when he tanked off with me, couple of little bucks for a few strides so i brought him back to a trot and tried again...he bucked, i rode him on and got him through it. i dont know if my toes were in, but i had a problem and i had enough experience to deal with the issue myself. thats what riding is about vicar, gaining experience, and it doesnt matter in the slightest how pretty you.look or how invisible your aids are, if your horse does bog off you have to be able to deal with it.
please dont think.im getting at you but your RI makes me so angry!

Not sure how long you've been riding as an adult - some months at least, yes? You should not be on the lunge week after week, you should be cantering, maybe jumping, hacking out, and having fun. If we all waited till we had perfect lower legs and exact aids none of us would get out of walk. well I wouldn't anyway

Kormachameleon Sun 23-Jun-13 22:37:02

Could you buy a horse and have lessons with her but more on your terms ?

My trainer is a top dressage coach but I'm far from being that good.

I learnt to ride on barely broke gypsy horses. I don't look pretty but by god I can sit still

I've worked really hard on my hands over the years as that's my biggest gripe - heavy hands and contact really pisses me off. I try and ride as 'light ' as I can.
My stirrups are always far too long apparently but I'm comfortable and when my naughty shit beautiful east of a horse rears or tanks off or does her colossal bucks I'm stuck to her like glue

Seriously vicar - buy a horse, enjoy. Life is too short mate. Im Now disabled and unlikely to ever ride again. I've been riding 28 years, it's my life.

Get out there and have fun x

Sorry Vicar, I'm with the others on this. Constant lessons on the lunge aren't good for horse or rider. Also, doesn't matter how great a perfectionist, when you're working with another living being, you may get more consistency, or closer 'bonding' etc., but you'll never get perfection.

I think your Instructor was great for you when you started back, but it sounds like she's not great for where you are now. That might change, but it does sound as though you need to step away from her and remember how capable you are.

Not cheap, and a bit of a hike from where you are (he's in Northampton) but Tim Stockdale gives lessons/masterclasses (or used to), and I'd imagine a few other internationals/former internationals do the same.

Pixel Sun 23-Jun-13 22:48:46

I feel sorry for the horses tbh, all that lunging they must be bored to death. No wonder they can't be trusted to hack out!

OOOH Yorkshire - during my no- lessons- and- not- really- riding phase I rode some fabulous ponies in Yorkshire. Will go and have a google soon to see if I can find. They looked like scruffy ponies but they were all forward going but pretty bombproof, they were fab. At that stage I'd never done any schooling (had done a lot of charging around on ponies between the ages of 6 and about 15 but never learned properly - I'm like you - gone onto schooling as an adult, and I love schooling, but my RI, who also won't let you hack until you've had an assessment as her horses are dressage etc properly schooled horses will let me hack).

Me too Pixel.

Hm I might have this wrong but I am 80-90% sure it was Masham riding & trekking centre near Ripon. At the time I lived in York and had tried a riding stables on the outskirts of York but hated the RI and stopped. A friend found this trekking centre and it was such fun after the cow of a RI www.mashamridingcentre.com

I now do (as I said before) lots of schooling (at the other end of the country) but it's fun, I haven't been on a lunge since the first one or two lessons & every lesson is different. Sometimes we work on dressage type work, sometimes we just concentrate on things like transitions (including canter), sometimes we do (little!) jumps. And sometimes I hack. The most important thing for me has been learning how to ride a horse through problems if that makes sense. If something went wrong I used to freeze, now I know how to correct & to keep riding rather than freeze and squeak. I have definitely learned to ride a lot better - I now ride with my seat (I wasn't even aware of that really before).

I have come back to riding like you and at the same sort of age (I'm 42 now - started again when I was about 38 or 39).

Do try that Masham place - it was such a tonic after the stables in York where I was just shouted at for an hour each week, it made riding fun again. Schooling should be fun as well. I used to think I just hated schooling, but I love it now - and the thing that's changed is the RI.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 23-Jun-13 23:51:24

thank you so much everyone
i will definitely check out your recommendation saintly

Littlebigbum Sun 23-Jun-13 23:54:53

Oh sound wonderful wish I was closer to Masham

If you wanted a schooling holiday in Devon I'd recommend my place - they've just started doing b&b and my instructor is very well qualified (bhsii working towards bhsi) & I think would be able to give you what you are looking for (without being on the lunge all the time). PM me if you want details.

I can also recommend a fab trekking centre on Dartmoor. I haven't been there for years but it's position is great & I have heard good things from friends who have been recently

The way the holidays work at my place is you choose your own programme so you can have lessons, jumping, flat work, dressage, clinics with visiting specialists, moor hacks once you've shown you're safe - which basically means able to walk trot canter safely, lane hacks if less experienced, indoor & outdoor arena & great horses that are not dead to the leg! Very friendly place as well. Sorry I am pushing it a bit, but I think from reading your posts you want to learn the same sort of thing as me & I really think they do a great job. I had been looking a long time for a stables like this one as well. And I hate the thought of you sitting on the lunge worrying about the precise placement of the leg - there are other ways to learn that.

EMUZ Mon 24-Jun-13 00:27:53

Bear with me as I'm not good at geography but it might be worth travelling on a day off just to have something different?
kilnseyriding.com - trekking nr skipton
ticktonhallstables.co.uk nr Beverley
woldgatetrekking.co.uk Bridlington
brooksidestables.co.uk Elstronwick
cottinghamparks.co.uk
fairfieldstables.co.uk Pocklington
oxmardyke-equestrian-centre.co.uk

I don't know where you are riding at the moment but these are some I pulled up

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 24-Jun-13 01:18:57

Riding schools/instructors want you to improve, but slowly, so you keep paying for as long as possible!
I recommend hours and hours in the saddle. DD went through this phase for quite some time, but she broke through eventually!
TBH owning your own horse is TOTALLY different from riding in a school. I always say that at a school, the fun to crap ratio is probably 80/20. Get your own, and initially, that's more like 20/80! It does improve, but its a VERYsteep learning curve. You might have helped out, and done stable management courses, but there is always something new to learn, and its never text book! Horses have serious death wishes sometimes, and hunt out the bizarrest ways of trying to kill you or themselves!
I'm with the others. Get some hacking in, put in the miles and keep having lessons. It will come!

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 24-Jun-13 01:23:20

And don't ask, just next time you ride, drop your stirrups a hole or two. Short stirrups are dreadful for positioning, if your seat is good and deep you shouldn't lose your leg position, or your stirrup. And you will get a deeper seat by riding longer. If she's a dressage person she should be encouraging this anyway!
A good rule of thumb, hang your leg down, let the stirrup tap your ankle. If the bottom of the stirrup taps the nobble on the inside of your ankle, they'll probable be about the right length.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 24-Jun-13 01:25:21

Oh, and sorry for the multiple postings, but she sounds pretty naff to me. You need to get off the lunge!

daisy5569 Mon 24-Jun-13 07:26:35

have followed and read this and your other thread on your lessons. I completely understand having an RI who you respect and think is great, when I started having proper lessons about 20 years ago I always had private lessons with the same instructor. After many years doing this I did a group lesson at the same riding school on with a different RI and found it really refreshing. Apart from the groups being more fun, I learnt by watching others. I still continued to have lessons with my original RI but also did other lessons with other RI's and was surprised by their different approaches.

I now am lucky to have met a friend (through the original RI) who lets me ride her horses and I now can ride whenever I want to and am so much more confident and experienced in stable management and riding.

I agree about the hacking, I never used to hack, it scared the pants off me. Now I happily hack out alone and am confident enough to deal with whatever 'jumps' out of the bushes to 'scare' the horse! (who is a big dressage type and scared of his own shadow at times) It teaches you to relax and enjoy your riding, and you can still practise sitting correctly etc on a hack and I reguarly have to ride shoulder in to prevent him looking at a scary bag in a bush or tree!

I still have my lessons at the Riding school, now with a young RI who really pushes me outside of my comfort zone and occasionally with the original RI if I feel my position etc needs some correction!

daisy5569 Mon 24-Jun-13 07:38:33

oops just realised I'd missed a page of this thread.... now realise you are still on the lunge??? thats mental, apart from her horses being bored stiff you must be too. Personally I dont agree that you should just buy a horse especially if you intend to keep it at RI yard, I wouldnt want a horse of mine constantly used for lunge lessons. I would try and ride somewhere else first which would show you that you are not as bad as you think you are!

Littlebigbum Mon 24-Jun-13 07:51:33

I have trouble lower my leg and if I ride on a different saddle I set the stirrups before I get on. Hope someone can explain this better, one hand on the saddle and and the length is to your arm pit.

Littlebigbum Mon 24-Jun-13 07:54:56

It dose make us all cross Vicar any one of us could teach you ride in a couple of wks even if you are built like a sack of spuds. Just need the right horse and to be a little closer

Y, y agree with daisy that knowing things like shoulder in is really helpful when hacking, but if you're not allowed free in the school yet you can't be learning that type of thing.

I also think a horse at that yard would be a mistake - at least without trying other yards and different styles first.

mrslaughan Mon 24-Jun-13 08:52:52

Sylvia loch didn't get where she is by just riding on the lunge.

Your riding instructor is holding you back.

Yes lunge lessons are fab, but very intensive, you need to get off the lunge and put what you are learning on the lunge into practice.
Whether that is in the school or on a hack.

I think given that you don't have a lot else near you, you should plan a riding week, where you can have a mix of riding in a school (but not on a lunge) and hacking.

I know you love her, but seriously she is not teaching you to ride. You need to find somewhere with less sensitive horses, where you can make mistakes, and they and the instructor will forgive mistakes.

I would not be so worried about the cantering - I have a huge mental block about cantering and after 18 month back riding, have only started now working on my cantering in the school (have cantered out on hacks) - that's fine, I needed to get to the point that I was ready, and it hasn't stopped my rising improving.

I am worried about you buying a horse for working livery - only because she sounds like a complete control freak, and may not "let" you, do what you want with it. ie hack out
Plus are there people to hack out with at the yard? I woul want someone to ride with on my first hacks.

Frankly, if your instructor is truly worried about your safety hacking out at this poin, either her teaching or her horses are unsuitable for you.

I am worried about you buying a horse for working livery - only because she sounds like a complete control freak, and may not "let" you, do what you want with it. ie hack out

Agree with this too.

Hi there.

This is just a suggestion, I am new to all of this! smile so I don't know if this is an option.

Is there a local Pony Club that you can contact? The trainers at ours all give private lessons in addition to their PC commitments.

Or are there any local farms nearby? DD gets lessons at the farm where she keeps her pony by one of the family who used to be the local PC trainer but who's kids have gone way past PC now. However, before this arrangement was agreed, they had given me three different suggestions for trainers they would recommend. I Googled them, but nothing much came up, certainly not enough for me by myself to find out about them, these are more people who have been around horses/ponies all their lives, are fully qualified but give lessons through word of mouth on an ah-hoc basis etc. rather than make their living from it.

Just wondered if you could approach any local farmers who have horses/ponies?

Sorry if this suggestion isn't appropriate but we wouldn't have found our trainer without some insider knowledge.

smile

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 24-Jun-13 10:19:55

I agree about the saddle. I cannot ride in anything more forward than a show saddle. GP or jumping, and in my experience, RS ponies can be wearing anyrhing, throw my legs way forward and ruin my seat!
Riding always on the lunge is like only driving in a straight line and never turning corners, crossing roundabouts or changing gear. Useful in the beginning but no good for actual driving!
I'd never put a pony on working livery. You lose all control over its day to day life and its ridden by all and sundry. It learns bad habits, is yanked and pulled about. The horse you get with your experience will probably be a school master and ideal for every wobbly, yanky novice to take a lesson. It's a really bad idea!
Personally if you want your own, look at a private share with someone who knows what they are doing, knows their horse inside and out and can probably teach you far more than this instructor ever will!

50BalesOfHay Mon 24-Jun-13 10:42:16

Come down to leicestershire for a weekend, book into a great pub with rooms in the village where we keep our horses and i'll take you out hacking loads. PM me if you fancy it.

SimLondon Mon 24-Jun-13 12:15:02

Hi Vicar, I recently returned to riding lessons after a 3 year break (novice level before) and I understand about the co-ordination thing and it being frustrating, it seems i am incapable of doing anything simultaneously, so if i remember to move my leg then i forget to move my upperbody/hands at the same time, its been like learning to drive again.

But in my fifth lesson last weekend i cantered a 20m circle - or at least horsie did and i stayed on, i've never done that before ever and i was so so proud. Was my position perfect in the trot or canter - lol, but it was fantastic fun and im not aiming for perfection or to compete, im aiming to be a happy hacker and to have my own sensible native type pony. So i'll have a few more lessons and then switch to weekly hacks whilst saving up some pennies.

One or two lunging sessions might be useful but I can't imagine it would be fun doing it for months :-( - I think that's quite unusual.

Is the horse your learning on unsuitable for beginners and that's why your RI is keeping you on the lunge? and what are you hoping to get out of your lessons.

WillowKnicks Mon 24-Jun-13 15:54:52

Another one here who thinks you need to get some hacking experience & just relax & enjoy!

DD started riding, age 3 on a friend's Shetland. She was on lead rein, around the lanes & bridleways. She was holding her hand up & thanking cars etc before she'd started school lol.

She then progressed to a bigger pony & had someone walking running next to her. She learnt to ride, without knowing she was, if you get my meaning...& most importantly she had FUN.

She then got her own pony & has taught herself so much by messing around in the field on him...heart stopping stuff for me, though, when I look out of the window & she's sat on him backwards or jumping him bareback, in a head collar shock.

She has started formal lessons now, to brush up her technique & does PC etc but she learnt on the job, so to speak & I think she is a better rider for it.

WillowKnicks - DD has also just started formal lessons, given she's now doing PC, gymkhana and jumping etc. She's been hacking for years and years though.

She rides pretty much most nights, either hacking or games practise in the field - I choose not to look either because they do some pretty mad stuff too smile

The bareback stuff doesn't faze me (if hats etc are worn) or lack of stirrups, I think it's good for balance?

Oh yes I used to do bareback jumping in a head collar hmm my friend had a pony & we used to head out on him up to the moors where we set up little jumps, no adults around. Our parents had no idea!

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 24-Jun-13 19:56:31

i hear you,

its no fun because its stressful. I hear what you are saying re livery too. im going to have to have a think .

50bales - i would absolutely love to take you up on that offer. i will pm you. thank you!

PeanutPatty Mon 24-Jun-13 20:43:05

Avoid working livery like the plague. It's no fun for the horse and you won't even feel like its owner. You'll have to book when you want to ride it. No last minute ability to squeeze in a hack or if its been in the school all week then there is pressure to take it hacking to keep s/he interested and enjoying a varied life. You run the risk of your horse going stale, no say in who rides (even though you will be told you will have a say). Get a horse put it on part livery and get yourself a sharer. Best of both worlds.

Or find yourself a share where you could so have lessons as well as hack etc.

I also spent my youth riding bare back turning the RS ponies out. We'd go on mad hacks jumping everything in sight. As has been said before its a bit like learning to drive, it's not until you actually start driving on the roads after your test that you actually start to really learn. Does that make sense? Get out there. Get hacking. See the sights and sounds. Enjoy the wind in your hair and the branches whipping you in the face as you forget to duck and the holly bushes and brambles snagging your sleeves as your horse does a quick left round the outside of a puddle! grin

EMUZ Mon 24-Jun-13 20:59:24

It is stressful when you are learning but you shouldn't be on the lunge by now. Have a feeling that maybe the horse isn't suitable and that's why she's keeping you on the lunge
Most places will let you hack even if its on a lead rein or go out for half an hour with someone walking beside you. It's nice just to relax and watch the countryside sometimes
The more horses you can ride the better so take up any offers! For me, basics come first (off the lunge) so walk, trot, canter and then you can start fine tuning things
You have to make mistakes to learn and nobody is perfect. Personally I would hang about on horse and hound forum a bit, you pick up loads of knowledge and there are some amazing people. I've met up with someone off there and gone for a fab hack and I had never met her or horse before

mrslaughan Mon 24-Jun-13 21:34:41

It's stressful , because even though she is running a school and taking money to teach u too rude she is far too precious about her horses.

She also in her search for perfection (which is un-attainable) she is focusing on what you can't do , rather in what you have achieved in a lesson.

Just to contrast this - the school I have been riding has quite a number of horses. There are some old faithfuls, these are horses that a prepared to forgive a riders mistakes. I actually ride one of these recently- and it was amazing, when I was a beginner she would forgive anything, but now I am a much more balanced rider, she is an incredibly responsive ride. To be honest I was gob smacked. I also know that they are always on the look out for new horses. Some stay - because their temperament is suited to the school. Others don't (often sold to clients actually) because they are not if the temperament to be forgiving and need the security of the same rider.

Then there is my RI's instructor - she won't put up with you being insensitive to a horse, but realize you will make mistakes. They match the horse to you. For example there is one horse I haven't ridden - instructor said that it's not because I am necessarily a worse rider than those that do - but my thing I I get tight/tense in my elbows, and this is something that this horse does not cope with..... So I don't ride him.
My lessons always finish with my Ri focusing on what I have achieved - she knows I am naturally hard on myself, she wants me to realize how far I am coming......
Can you see how diff the experience can be?
They also do a group hack which is just walk/trot, so you can enjoy the bridle trails, but don't need to be expert.
I know you love your RI - and I am sure she has much to offer, but at the moment she is not teaching you how to ride........

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 24-Jun-13 22:51:15

I'm a bit sad about it now because I know you are all quite correct, but she has become a friend and I do really like her. She is quite matronly and motherly and we sit and have a glass of wine and moan....( usually about our kids!) confused

Drink wine with her and ride somewhere else!

What are her horses like vicar? Are they very highly schooled horses that she's worried about being messed up with the wrong aids? If so you may need to go elsewhere to learn to ride on a mixture of nags then back to her.

My RI has a whole range of horses. Some people are only allowed to ride certain horses (so some horses are not for beginners), some people can ride various horses on the lunge as a complete beginner but not free in the school until they have reached a certain standard, some horses can be ridden by more or less anyone on a hack, but others again need to be matched with the rider. She does protect her horses but she has a range of horses with a range of sensitivities and to suit different abilities, I don't see how you can teach beginners if you don't have any horses that can cope with sometimes being given incorrect aids occasionally.

outtolunchagain Tue 25-Jun-13 09:29:17

My dh started to ride about 2 years ago , he does tend to be a bit serious about these things but although he does quite a lot of schooling he also hacks out and has done a bit of jumping and some basic dressage.His RI helped him to find a share so that in between lessons he gets as much general riding in as possible.

Tbh I do find it odd sometimes as I learned swallows and amazon fashion as a child .As someone else described up thread , schooling was something you did as a necessity and as rarely as possible, but at 9 you bounce more than at 45!I also did a lot of PC and gymkhanas , learning as an adult is different but seriously it's meant to be fun " when a hobby becomes a chore it's not a hobby anymore"

I would second the riding holiday and get out for some hacks

Mrsmaymerryweather Tue 25-Jun-13 19:19:23

The riding school where I learnt to ride as a teenager did not do hacks, as all the horses there were privately owned and on working livery and I don't think any of them were suitable to be hacked out by a beginner. They were all 'proper' horses rather than typical riding school dead donkeys. Maybe this is the problem at your school. I used to go on riding holidays in Wales in the school holidays and did loads of pony trekking, suitable for complete beginners. I agree with those above who have suggested pony trekking etc.

How many lessons have you had now? I never rode on the lunge, apart from one lesson where my instructor wanted to focus on my position so put me on the lunge so I could concentrate on position while she controlled the horse/speed. I don't think it is normal to be on the lunge for ages. Maybe this is because your instructor doesn't have any suitable horses for beginners so feels she needs to keep you on the lunge? If this is the case you need to ride somewhere else that has horses that are suitable for a beginner to learn to ride off the lunge. You will never learn how to control the horse if you are always on the lunge.

To be honest if you are still on the lunge and not yet cantering I would definitely not get your own horse, I think it is a huge risk at this stage. However maybe start to look around for suitable shares. I would definitely recommend getting a share before taking the plunge and buying your own. My first share has been a huge eye-opener for me!

Good luck!

Pixel Tue 25-Jun-13 19:55:56

I hate being lunged ever since the horse fell over. Only my second fall in 20-odd years so I fail to see how it is safer wink.

PeanutPatty Tue 25-Jun-13 20:43:46

Before I bought my own horse I had a three day share. A privately owned horse is very different to a RS horse in many ways. Plus it gave me three days a week of responsibility and enabled me to see if I could have a horse full time or if I couldn't have one full time how would I be able to have one, eg full/part livery etc.

I really feel sharing is an invaluable insight.

saintmerryweather Tue 25-Jun-13 20:47:41

if i recall the op has been riding since at least january

CalamityKate Tue 25-Jun-13 20:59:38

Re:hacking - doesn't she offer escorted hacks? Hacking alone is a different kettle of fish but she surely has safe enough horses for you to hack out on?

As for bolting - IME a true bolt is incredibly rare. Does she not trust her horses??

Littlebigbum Tue 25-Jun-13 21:10:36

Pixel yuck that would put me off

Littlebigbum Tue 25-Jun-13 21:12:46

Tell you what pls just go to another riding school for one lesson/hack and if it is rubbish, i'll paypal you the money. You might surprise your self how well you ride!

Floralnomad Tue 25-Jun-13 21:14:57

IIRC this riding school has not got many horses suitable for adults . The problem seems to be that vicar has become way too involved with this lady and will now find it difficult to extricate herself . What surprises me most is that a RI that doesn't let someone one off the lunge or hack would even consider encouraging / or not discourage that person from buying a horse . It really seems that this person is taking advantage of vicars good nature and can see financial gain for herself i.e the use of this horse whilst the OP pays the bills .

ThatVikRinA22 Wed 26-Jun-13 00:45:42

its very true, there is a lack of horses for adults. The one i ride normally has a few problems, the only other one i could ride is not suitable for schooling really, he was a hunting horse, RI got on him on one of my lessons on him and found him exhausting. He needs a rider on him. He wont work on a lunge or very well in the school. Those are the only 2 i could ride, im not huge, im 10st 5, 5ft 4, fairly long in the leg. The only other horse i could ride is too fragile for my weight, (she is on loan from someone who neglected to feed her and caused all sorts of problems for her, plus she is 20) there is one more but he isnt quite 14 hands so a bit small for me.
There are no more. The others that are the right size for me are retired due to ill health.

Oh you need to try elsewhere. Not sure why a hunting horse couldn't be schooled though? One of the things my instructor likes doing is introducing horses who have never been schooled to schooling & as a rider it's great to see the change in them gradually & really shows the benefit & point of schooling even if the horse is never going to be super pretty. One of my regular rides had never been schooled before he came to my RI. I rode him off and on from pretty much as soon as he arrived & it's actually been really rewarding to see the change & feel a bit involved in it - he was used mainly for hunting iirc - and of course still enjoys going out & about but has really become pretty good at schooling as well.. An ex hunter should be pretty good for hacking?

No wonder she wants you to get a working livery!

Schooling is bloody boring. Round and round and round.

There is an Arabic saying

The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.

You won't find that on a lunge.

EMUZ Wed 26-Jun-13 08:15:54

Ah you see I love schooling - but on my own not on a lunge grin

Horses for courses grin

Whoops - should I be on the cliche thread?

EMUZ Wed 26-Jun-13 08:31:35

Quite possibly grin
I just love the feeling of when I get it and its so hard to explain. Like there's all this amazing power but I can just sit and do nothing and its all perfect. When it's like that I feel like Carl Hester grin just so lovely when they are light in the hand and you can feel how much power is coming through from behind and their back lifts and ... <dressage geek>
Although I enjoyed playing bare back today and doing nothing except wandering round with no reins grin

Yes I feel like that Emuz. When I feel the horse moving correctly - especially in lateral work - I love it. I may only get it briefly but it's such a buzz when it happens. And usually it's towards the end of the lesson and I realise why we've done all that preparation up to asking for the more difficult stuff - the moment it comes together is such a reward.

EMUZ Wed 26-Jun-13 08:48:49

Definitely smile I grin like an idiot when it happens and then daren't move in case it goes wrong! You feel like you're part of the horse rather than sat on top. Was lucky enough to experience piaffe and passage on a riding holiday and that was incredible

Yes exactly - that's it - you feel part of the horse. I spent the first 20 years of riding (off and on) climbing on horses and heading straight out to the moors - my understanding of actually moving a horse was completely limited, & I did no schooling I didn't even really know why people did it. I get such a buzz from it now - still enjoy the occasional moor gallop but love (trying) to work in precision with a horse. And I do find the schooling moves useful out hacking as well.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 26-Jun-13 10:18:15

How tall/heavy are you? We have an older school master in 13.1, probably a highland cross looking for a home! grin wink

WillowKnicks Wed 26-Jun-13 11:00:32

She's 10st 5 & 5ft 4" Saggy grin

burberryqueen Wed 26-Jun-13 11:03:12

hacking out will help find your seat

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 26-Jun-13 11:54:27

That's perfect! He's a lovely pony! wink

lovebeansontoast Wed 26-Jun-13 12:02:52

And take 50bales up on her lovely offer. You will have fun!!

stillstanding51 Wed 26-Jun-13 13:50:11

I've been lurking for ages and have had to join just to give you my experiences. I've just started riding after about a 30 year break. only ever at riding schools so lessons and the occasional hack.
I ride at a lovely place where they offer ladies hours and the emphasise is on having fun while encouraging each other, but still learning while having a laugh.
I started my ladies group in march and today have just cantered the whole large school without stirrup(intentionly) and was laughing the whole way round.

It sounds to me like your instructor should lighten up a bit. Its meant to be fun.... Isn't it???

Maybe a small group lesson with others might help???

Pixel Wed 26-Jun-13 16:29:03

God yes, even though I'm frequently terrified my RI still manages to raise a grimace smile from me and make sure I always end feeling more positive than when I started. Sometimes when it all goes wrong you just have to laugh about it and then have another go, not be left feeling it's a disaster and you are never going to get any better.

EMUZ Wed 26-Jun-13 16:36:25

Oh yeah you have to laugh grin
Mine is usually when horse refuses to do anything except half pass (because she thinks circles are beneath her) and I give up and collapse on her neck laughing with no steering

Mirage Wed 26-Jun-13 19:54:55

vicar if you come down to ride with 50balesofhay,get in touch with me.I'm about half an hour from her and if you'd like,you can come over and ride the saintly dpony.She is 13hh,but happily carries me at 5ft 8.She is a fabulous hacker on the road or fields and has never ever put a foot wrong ridden.

If you don't fancy riding on the road,we have a fair bit of land to hack over.She is honestly the most bombproof,honest pony ever and will not tank off,buck,rear or freak out at tractors and stuff.smile

Ehhn Wed 26-Jun-13 21:17:14

Haven't read to the end of the thread so apologies if someone else has mentioned it... You need Pilates!

Not being able to do rising trot comfortably is more to do with core stability and balance. Pilates will work wonders I promise :-) my friends who are professional event riders use it and so do I for my lowly BE novice effort (one day I will get back to intermediate- Pilates will help keep me in the saddle!!)

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 27-Jun-13 00:18:34

My RI friend reckons your RI sounds out of her depth! She sounds like she is much more dressage training orientated than starting a novice. Friend reckons that over a 10 hour summer course, she could get 70% of her adult beginners up to trying a canter in the woods level. Also, that in her opinion, she is aiming too high. Riding schools have bombproof old nags I order that beginners can be a bit unsubtle and not upset the ponies, and that you need to master kicking and steering with the reins, before you can progress to riding with your seat. It's not even as if you are a total novice. You just need bringing back into it and refining.
She also suggests a share with someone sensible and lessons with someone else.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 27-Jun-13 01:08:12

saggy i would love to take yours but 13, 1 does sound a bit small for me...?

RI does not allow kicking unless as a disciplinary measure - she teaches you to use pressure of your inner calf - which is spot on really, i just wish i could do a bit more.
i am bored. and i feel a bit of a failure at it.

she does teach well though - all the kids are fabulous at it. She has a group last thing saturday and they are absolutely brilliant - can go from walk to canter with invisible aids, jump, the works.

but she does not have many adults for lessons.
i dont want to give it up because i love it, ive just stopped enjoying my lessons so much because there is always so much wrong with what im doing. im not sitting up straight enough, or stopping fast enough, or my hands are too high, or my toes are out, or my heels are up, or my lower leg is coming forward, or im rising too high, or im not in front of the leg, or her head is too low, or im walking too fast when i should be maintaining contact to bring her head up and get her attention, or one reign is too long, or ive not got the reigns the right length if something happens, or im not getting the transition smoothly enough, the list goes on.

the horse im on isnt a comfortable ride - she is very "downhill" and i find myself tipping forward, her canter isnt nice, nor is her trot. She has a stifle problem.

RI is good but yes, a control freak and a perfectionist. She is used to either littlies who cant ride but are on a lead and in a group, or she is used to proper riders, who can ride.
im neither.

saintmerryweather Thu 27-Jun-13 06:42:15

so are you going to go elsewhere for a lesson given that everyone has said that your RI is no good for you?

it depends on how much.highland is in saggys pony as to whether she would be too small, natives are very strong and some of them.take up your leg very well so you might not look big on her

The corrections she's making are all ' normal' corrections. I get told that sort of thing all the time but loose in the school & given as advice rather than tellings-off. The reason I stopped riding at the place in York was because I was fed up with being told off (and I was in my early 20's then). It really put me off going back to riding lessons & I did just hack after that.

15 years later when I decided to try schooling lessons again I was stunned at how different it was - you only learn if you are free to make mistakes because you have to learn to feel the horse really & you can only learn that by exploring & making some mistakes.

I feel utterly free to make mistakes now (which I didn't in York) & it has allowed me to progress a lot because I'm not afraid to try - if it goes pear shaped I just try again (in the past I was scared to try because I wasn't allowed to get it wrong).

Aetae Thu 27-Jun-13 07:35:47

If you don't want to compete then consider switching RIs to one who doesn't do dressage. IME the dressage crowd focus very much on perfect body positioning rather than control of the horse, and actually there is more than one way to ride.

My RI trained racehorses and he was brilliant - much more outcome focused and less worried about my toes etc. My seat as a result will never win any prizes for prettiness but I'm great at leg aids/riding with my whole body and I'm stuck like glue to the saddle. Riding a quarter horse out hacking also really helped my seat - it taught me how to do a sitting trot because their jog gait is so smooth.

Core strength will also really help you - try to do some Pilates every day. You need it to control the horse through posture and legs while keeping your hands soft.

daisy5569 Thu 27-Jun-13 07:42:21

There is a difference between kicking and using your leg, if they don't answer leg aids then this should be backed up with a tap of a schooling whip. Appreciate what you are saying about the horse being 'downhill' but that and what you are saying about being told off for using your legs in the wrong way just reinforces the simple fact that this RI and her horses of limited abilities are not the place for you.

I ride at a great R/School with horses of varying abilities, some very green so you get to bring them on and really see improvements but I also ride a big heavy cob, who they use in lessons for all abilities. He totally takes the pee when he has a beginner or someone not confident on him, he cuts corners, runs into canter, leans on the riders hands etc, however I can get him into a lovely outline and have even rode flying changes on him. They may be seen as old R/School plods but some of them are not as silly as they look!

You need to find somewhere where you can ride horses who are up to the job for beginners or less confident riders, with a more basic instructor who as others say will allow you to make mistakes and then maybe when you are a bit more experienced and more importantly confident go back to your RI for lessons if you really want to although I think if you rode elsewhere you wont want to!
In an earlier post you said you consider this lady as a friend... then if she is a friend she will understand why you are not satisfied with her lessons, I stopped having lessons with my first RI mainly for financial issues but also because I didnt feel I was getting enough attention as she took lessons of mixed ability, I moved to a different RI at the same R/School. I worried that the original RI would be offended as like you she was a friend and I saw her out of work and rode another horse at the yard she kept hers on, but it wasnt a problem at all and she understood that pupils come and go all the time.

Didnt mean to write this much!... one final thing I will say is remember Riding is supposed to be FUN grin

carabos Thu 27-Jun-13 08:05:17

This thing about not hacking out precious, sensitive dressage horses is all bollocks. My horse, currently competing PSG /Inter1 hacks out a lot. I will be taking him for a spin round the fields tonight and he's competing on Sunday.

If your RI is not able to produce a schooled, mannerly ride then she's in the wrong job. All of Carl Hester's horses hack, including the gold medallists.

They would get bloody bored if it was all schooling and no playing.

* ive just stopped enjoying my lessons so much because there is always so much wrong with what im doing. im not sitting up straight enough, or stopping fast enough, or my hands are too high, or my toes are out, or my heels are up, or my lower leg is coming forward, or im rising too high, or im not in front of the leg, or her head is too low, or im walking too fast when i should be maintaining contact to bring her head up and get her attention, or one reign is too long, or ive not got the reigns the right length if something happens, or im not getting the transition smoothly enough, the list goes on. *

I've had my own horse for 3 years and get lots of these things wrong regularly! But it doesn't stop me cantering, or hacking out, or jumping. Now and then my horse will spook, spin round, run off, or buck... but I (hardly ever) fall off, and have a great time with him.

Honestly, if you wait till all these things are perfect before you move on to something more interesting you will be 96. Are the kids allowed to ride off the lunge and canter even if they are still working on this stuff? Bet they are, and that's why they make progress.

EMUZ Thu 27-Jun-13 10:02:30

Agree 100% with carabos. Mine hacks and jumps and lets me clamber about bare back

SlowlorisIncognito Thu 27-Jun-13 12:56:00

Vicar I am about 5'4" and ride a fine boned 13.2 regularly (although I am a bit lighter than you), a more solid horse at 13-13.2 would be able to carry you easily. I have quite short legs in proportion to my body, and find it much easier to get my legs on when riding ponies than horses- I think this may be part of your problem! I don't actually enjoy riding anything much bigger than about 15.2 as I can't get my legs on so well.

I have been in various riding schools over the years, working and as a child, and I have never known any who would keep you on the lunge for this long. You are honestly not that rubbish. If your instructor does not have a safe horse for you to learn on off the lunge then this is the wrong place for you. It's not all about being perfect, learning to control a horse independantly is important too.

I currenly ride at a riding school because I am a student, and can't afford my own, as well as a little bit of schooling children's ponies, and over the summer I am able to trade my labour for rides.

To give you a comparison, a begginer at this riding school would have a few lessons on the lead rein to get the basics of their position (the owner doesn't like her horses lunged for more than 20 minutes regularly, so doesn't do many lunge lessons), then they are let off, with someone walking beside them, and progress to riding independently.

If you have been riding for six months now, you would be allowed to hack out- although on private tracks, so it is a bit different- and you would have probably got a canter out on the tracks. Canter is easier to learn in a straight line and with a horse in front, the intructor can control the speed.

Ideally, a good riding school has a range of horses- safe plods for the beginners, and horses capable of more advanced work to move on to. If she only has two horses you can ride on at 10.5, then it's really not an ideal place to learn, especially if neither of those horses are very safe.

It did cross my mind, in my limited experience, why she would give you lessons if there wasn't a suitable ride?

Don't forget also that getting you to ride 'perfectly' is super on the lunge but will you remember this when you are about to jump, during a hack etc etc? In real life situations.

This is DD's problem at the minute, remembering 'heels down, soft hands, toes up, straight back' etc, whilst actually doing stuff too!!

We are lucky in that we pay a pittance for lessons (£5), from a friend who is a qualified instructor but who just does favours for friends nowadays. Last night, she was trying to teach DD in a section of DD's pony's field. He was being really good boy but the foal who shares the field just followed him round play biting his arse until we tied him up, then my friends dogs decided to play in that area of the field, joined by one of the farm dogs, all the time DD was riding round and round, trying to remember everything and listen to the instructor at the same time.

However, it WAS good fun, even if the lesson lasted nearly 90 minutes eventually with all the distractions smile

Will have a rethink for next week re venue!

Good luck anyway smile

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Thu 27-Jun-13 15:07:11

Money needs!
Vicar, our boy is lovely. We think he is part highland, he's a good size and he is happier with adults. He's safe as houses, but has been pony clubbed for so long he just gets needs a nice change. He got a pop in him an he loves hacking. wink

Then, if that is the case, that doesn't fall into the category of friendship really I guess. Not mine, anyway smile

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 27-Jun-13 17:47:19

saggy.....i could be interested.....im on nights so i will pm you when im home....

how old is he? im just worried id be too much like a sack of spuds for him....

do you have pics?

Floralnomad Thu 27-Jun-13 17:55:38

vicar please ,if you do get your own ,don't keep it on working livery at that yard .

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 27-Jun-13 18:00:48

no ive already decided not to do that. If i keep one at that yard it will be on part livery, not working. it will cost more but i hear you all.

Floralnomad Thu 27-Jun-13 18:04:29

Well done !

daisy5569 Thu 27-Jun-13 18:13:26

vicar glad you've realised that yard is not the right place to keep a horse.

To be completely honest and in my opinion (for what thats worth!) I don't think you should consider getting your own horse until you are completely confident in all paces both schooling and hacking out... some may not agree with me, but horse ownership is a big responsibility and in my opinion novice owners/riders without an adequate support network to help and provide advice are accidents waiting to happen.

Hope you get some lessons else where and really begin to enjoy your riding again, good luck whatever you decide to do smile

Pixel Thu 27-Jun-13 18:38:56

Vicar, stop dithering and just say 'yes please' [stern face].
Believe me, people wouldn't be offering you rides on their ponies if they thought you were too heavy, they don't want to end up with a vet's bill wink.

I agree with daisy5569 (as someone who counts herself pretty novice). The BHS Stage 1 and 2 tests are good preparation (and isn't there a horse owners one?). I've been lucky enough to join in Stage 1 and Stage 2 lessons for the apprentices at my yard (although I'm not doing my stages - at the moment at least) & have learned so much, both for riding and horse care. I'd still want someone to be able to check up on me if I had my own horse. I also think unless you're loaded if you have your own horse you tend to cut down on lessons, and I wouldn't want to do that yet, I still have too much to learn. I would honestly just try some different lessons & see how you get on.

SlowlorisIncognito Thu 27-Jun-13 19:17:57

I do agree to an extent with Daisy5569 that it might be better to wait a little until you get a horse of your own. If you have never hacked at all, it is better to have some escorted hacks before you go it alone. With a sane and sensible horse, you are more than ready to go on some escorted hacks, and have a canter or two in an enclosed space. Hacking out is different, and horses do tend to be a bit more excitable.

I think your RI is being extremely risk averse though. All horses have the potential to spook, and at your level of experience, if one bucked or something, you might well come off. That is a fact of riding. A safe horse, however, is unlikely to do an extreme spook on the road in a normal situation, and at some point you do have to take the risk. I think you see this woman as more of a friend, and this is clouding your judgement, when thinking of other places you could go and ride.

I think if you try riding in another environment, you will never look back.

Also, an instructor is there for constuctive criticism, and teaching new skills, not damaging your confidence. No-one has a perfect position, especially when starting out- if you are effective, balanced, and not hurting the horse, that is what matters at this stage. Out of interest, what teaching qualifications (if any) does she have?

HomageToCannelloni Thu 27-Jun-13 20:06:26

Vicar, are you in East Riding? I'm in that area and regularly ride at a school where we do a lot of jumping out in the fields and where I'm fairly sure they'll let you hack out. I used to ride there twice a week and loved it. I'm skint at the mo and haven't ridden for months but can't recommend them enough. they have a number of horses you could ride. Pm me if you'd like details.

CalamityKate Fri 28-Jun-13 01:22:19

Thing is, do you want to BE a dressage rider??

Perfect, textbook position isn't everything. Sure if your position strays too far from ideal your balance - and that of the horse - will be affected but there are plenty of riders whose position isn't perfect/classical who reach very high standards and who can get a tune out of a horse and crucially have a lot of fun!

I also think that it depends on your own body shape. I have never been able to turn my toes "properly" to the front; my legs just aren't made that way. I naturally walk with my feet at ten to two (attractive and elegant). You'd have to break and reset my hips and ankles to satisfy the positional purist. Some people are naturally round shouldered and could never achieve the ramrod straight elegance of other riders. But I, and others who aren't maybe designed to sit perfectly, manage to stay on and be effective, and do all the things they want to do.

It's not about perfection from day one. It's about being competent enough to put a few miles on the clock without worrying TOO much about perfect position...interspersed with being a bit more pernickety about position, which then enables you to try slightly more advanced stuff, then practising that, having fun, then more intensive stuff....etc etc.

A nice mixture. That's what you want.

kittykarate Fri 28-Jun-13 11:26:25

Your instructor really needs to understand the technique of delivering a 'shit sandwich'. Say something nice to you, deliver the bad stuff, finish off on something nice about your riding.

Even if the quality of the instruction is great (I'm not convinced to be honest, permanent lunge lessons sounds insane) it is too easy to be dispirited if there is no positive in the lesson. Also, your instructor should take into account whether what she is asking is physically possible - my instructors have know there is no point telling me my toes should point in as my feet naturally fall at 11 to 3 and if I twist my right leg so my toes are perfect, the rest of my leg would be turned away from the horse.

If you want a riding holiday I have been to Freerein in Wales, they do a beginners course that is walk/trot (maybe short canter depending on skills/confidence) hacking, catching and grooming your horse etc. Murthwaite Green in the Lake District have a nice mix of a little school for lessons and beach rides. Cumbrian Heavy horses have some beautiful horses and I enjoyed my visit there.

Honestly, I would look on the BHS schools list, phone someone up and try somewhere else.

kittykarate Fri 28-Jun-13 11:27:40

Not 11 to 3 with my feet - that would look really odd, more 11 to 2. DOH!

Lasvegas Fri 28-Jun-13 13:20:51

I have recently progressed to a share from lessons. It is definitely much easier to canter on a bridle path than in a school. I mainly hack out but sometimes go in the school to work on transitions and cantering on the right leg. My RI didn't think I was ready for a share, but my riding has come on massively. This is down to a brilliantly schooled horse who is not bored like riding school ones and also my hours in the saddle. When I am out and there is a tractor going past i am just trying to stay safe and keep horse safe position does not matter. There is much more to riding than being perfectly balanced in a school.

Perihelion Fri 28-Jun-13 16:22:43

I'm the same height as you Vicar, and have 31" inch legs and am actually happiest riding anything under 14hh. Personally have never seen the point of big horses except to jump large fences, but that's probably because most of my time in the saddle has been clocked up in the Scottish Highlands, riding over rough boggy ground. And riding over rough terrain with hills and burns etc is IMO a much better way of developing a good seat. Used to take folk out who had done years of lessons in a school, but had never ridden on anything other than a flat surface in a big circle. These people were flummoxed when it came to going down a hill and avoiding a branch at the same time.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Fri 28-Jun-13 20:34:00

Our boy is 23, has jumped a good 3 ft, done everything pony club and is safe as houses. I have a picture if you want one. wink

ThatVikRinA22 Sat 29-Jun-13 23:15:34

oh saggy he sounds wonderful but i think i need something a wee bit bigger and possibly a wee bit younger....thing is DD might ride too, and she is 5ft 7 (though weighs nothing....7st 10)

ive been browsing preloved all night....so many horses on there its a minefield....

ive been talking to DH about it tonight - RI DD doesnt let hers be used in the school so i will not be either.

also thinking about trying another place just to see....thought the other place does not teach, just lets you loose on a hoss....but maybe now i know the theory and the basics thats what i need to try and see how i get on.

ultimately i think i will learn more by getting my own happy hacker/safe pony.
i can do part livery at my current yard. its a nice yard, nice facilities, no worries on that score but would have to be clear that no working livery wanted.

unobtanium Sun 30-Jun-13 15:49:11

Yes, you need to have more fun! Sure your RI is very good but if you are feeling like this, it is currently not working for you.

Imagine weights attached to the bottom of your boots, and your legs draped like wet towels around your horse's barrel. Imagine a bungee rope coming out of the top of your head lifting your top half upwards. Feels good and helps.

For the rest, change of tack and look to have fun. I am sure you are up to a hack... in the right company on the right horse.

If you can get to Devon, consider doing a simulator course with Heather Moffett. You'll meet fun people and soak up a very positive atmosphere there.

PeanutPatty Mon 01-Jul-13 17:47:45

I wouldn't purchase a horse off pre loved - I'd check my local riding club classified and go by word of mouth. But I appreciate that is just me!

lovebeansontoast Mon 01-Jul-13 21:22:42

I can't remember if I've suggested this already, but have you thought of a share? Your riding would come on leaps and bounds and you'd really find out if horse ownership is for you. You'd also have a load of fun, which sounds like something you could do with in your riding.

ThiefofTime Tue 02-Jul-13 21:37:57

Vicar, I have read your posts frequently having returned to riding myself this year. My instructor is very keen on riding with your seat etc but I have cantered every lesson after the first 3 or so and hack out. I have also foind I have improved as I have become fitter through other exercise too. My DD(7) also goes to a good school near Stamford Bridge; they don't hack out but they will get you cantering and having fun very quickly on horses which know what they are doing. PM me if you would like details of the school. Finally, as eveyone else says, it is supposed to be fun. I have stressed myself out at times but I have been trying to correct bad habits caused by years of hacking (v fast and v fun tho). Sorry this is such a long one.

PeanutPatty Wed 03-Jul-13 20:57:34

As I've said previously a share would be a real win/win for you.

Incapinka Sun 07-Jul-13 21:26:21

I haven't read all this thread as it was making me grumpy! But OP you need to think what you want to get from riding. Do you want to do dressage? Jump? Hunt? Hack? Reading your thread your RI doesn't sound as though she is doing a very good job. I teach and wouldn't dream of just lunging someone for the last 6 months and would be very surprised f I did if people kept coming back for more. Complete beginners can go pony trekking and like others on this thread would suggest you going on a fun trekking holiday for a long weekend or something. Get the feel of a horse out in the open. Think of the basics your RI has hopefully taught you. And enjoy it. My dad took up riding again aged 40 with a similar background to you. He wanted to hunt so had a few lessons on what he needed to do in order to hunt and as he was also blessed with no fear (lucky b!) he cracked on and had great fun. He did get his own horse to do this and had Mum as back up but your seat etc will improve from riding and doing lots of it and not just going round in circles not having to steer. Hope this makes sense as on phone. But remember. Riding is meant to be fun and a treat.

sasamunde Mon 15-Jul-13 22:14:57

You are right that it's all about coordination! Do you do the kinds of in-saddle exercises the kids do? (Round the world, touch your toes, bicycle your legs etc). They are all for a reason as they help you get a feel for your balance in the saddle. Perhaps find a book of similar exercises for adults and ask you RI if you can spend the 1st 10 mins of a lesson going through them. Find some you can't do yet to judge progress later.
Also do you have lunge lessons without stirrups? They are the best way by far to get a balanced sitting position - and you need good balance and coordination between hands and body (a "seat independent of the hands" as the pony club would say) before you have a chance of getting your toes and heels under control. Toes and heels in place comes as a result of a deep seat, not vice versa. And you need to be on the lunge so you can concentrate on your seat rather than getting the horse moving. It should be a full abs/hips workout to keep your upper body still and your bum in the saddle. You should need to do deep breathing exercises to keep yourself relaxed as you trot.
There are probably lots of co ordination exercises you can do out of the saddle too. Rubbing your tummy and patting your head type of thing smile)

sasamunde Mon 15-Jul-13 22:25:06

Hur hur RTBQ so you spent all the bleddy time on the lunge and there I am extolling its virtues! Hope you did it without stirrups smile
Your RI isn't helping you - it's her teaching holding you back not your capability by the sound of it. Hope you find somewhere to ride and have fun!

Pixel Mon 15-Jul-13 22:56:57

Sasamunde grin.

PoshPenny Sun 21-Jul-13 11:40:19

Vicar, you need to find somewhere else to ride. Whether in addition to, or instead of, your current place is up to you. URGENTLY

Down here in the New Forest nobody would bat an eyelid at you at 10st and 5'4 on a 13.1 pony. I'm taller and substantially heavier than you and I occasionally ride our 13.1 out in walk & trot, and have all but taken over our 14.2. Both chunky new forest ponies. He genuinely loves it and I HACK HIM OUT a minimum of 3 times a week. My daughters now 18 and 19 have other things to do, and I can't bear to get rid of them. I'm 48 and havent ridden regularly up till now since I was 15/16.

I do have one on one lessons occasionally, but I find the ageing process means I need quite a long time to practice what I've been taught in between lessons (which I do OUT HACKING) and for it to sink in. Rather like when I was learning a musical instrument.

I am horrified she still has you on the lunge.
Actually I think you are being ripped off, friend or no friend.
Find something to share, join a friendly riding club and do some schooling sessions with them. It is meant to be fun!

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