So I had my first riding lesson today.........

(28 Posts)
Frozenjellybeans Sun 22-Sep-13 20:26:10

and I'm not sure how I feel about it hmm.

I am 38 and very outrageously unfit after two pregnancies and two c-sections in the span of four years. I have ridiculously weak core and thigh muscles blush and, apart from walking a lot, the riding lesson was my first excercise since giving birth 8 months ago. I also still carry some weight from my last pregnancy.

Dc1 (5) also had her first lesson today and, having always wanted to learn to ride as a young woman I thought it would be nice to do this together.

So I dressed in my finest washed out leggings and wellie boots and, although i must have looked quite a a fright, they did allowed me on a horse.

I'm sure I made quite a fool of myself. I was shit scared of falling off due to my lack of core muscles and it took me a couple of attempts to even climb on swing my legs over the poor horse. Anyhow, we started moving at a fairly slow pace and the horse being wobbly and all, I got quite disconcerted so asked the girl leading the poor to slow down grin shock.

After 20 minutes I felt a bit more confident but can't say I enjoyed it much.

So, in your experience / opinion dear MN tack lovers, please tell me if it will get better, if there is a small chance I might learn to enjoy this or if this is a ridiculous undertaking given my age and physical ability.....

SlowlorisIncognito Sun 22-Sep-13 20:38:17

Horse riding is not for everyone, but it's hard to make a judgement based on your first lesson. You will probably ache loads tomorrow, which may also put you off. It is really unlikely you'll fall off at slow speeds, and you can always hold onto the front of the saddle or neckstrap if there is one if you feel unsafe at all.

It's supposed to be fun, so if you still don't enjoy it after a few lessons, then maybe it's not for you? On the other hand, when you start to feel more in control you might enjoy it more?

Nobody thinks you made a fool of yourself. The yard will be used to beginners, and so long as you try to be sensitive and kind towards the horse, they won't be judging you.

Frozenjellybeans Sun 22-Sep-13 21:05:19

Can I ask what it is that people love about horseback riding? Is it mainly the interaction and connection with the horse? Is it 'being in control'?

Frozenjellybeans Sun 22-Sep-13 21:06:22

Sorry, posted too soon. Or is it just a basic love for horses and the rest just follows?

worley Sun 22-Sep-13 21:07:28

For me it is the freedom.. The speed.. The companionship.. The smell blush the other horsey people

Lovesswimming Sun 22-Sep-13 21:14:56

I just feel I have no choice, I have to do it smile

I don't know many people who ride as a hobby in the way that you would play golf or netball or cards

You are either horsey or not

I can't ride now because I am unwell and it doesn't feel right

Riding is like walking, just something you do
And horses aren't a luxury, they are essential if that makes sense

If you aren't enjoying it after a few lessons it probably isn't for you
But please stop worrying how you look, no one cares just relax and try and have fun x

AnnaBanana101 Sun 22-Sep-13 21:26:55

The first few lessons can be rubbish - I learnt to ski as an adult and didn't like the first few lessons but once I got good enough to actually do some stuff I started to enjoy it more. I learnt to ride as a child so can't really remember it.

I love being around the yard, my gorgeous pony who is the sweetest, calmest thing. Really good way to wind down after stressful work.

Yorkieaddict Sun 22-Sep-13 21:35:50

I think it is difficult to say if it will get better for you, you will know after a few more lessons though. You'll either be hooked, or you won't. It is worth sticking with it if you do think you may enjoy it though. It is hard work, but so much fun! Do you enjoy being around horses in general? That probably makes a difference in whether it is for you or not.

I do it because I love the adrenaline of jumping and galloping. The sense of forming a partnership with a horse. I also love just being around the stables and doing all the day to day caring for a horse. I stopped riding for a few years while DS was small, and there was definitely something missing from my life. I'm back to it now, and I feel like I've come home.

Frozenjellybeans Sun 22-Sep-13 21:51:50

I love (the idea of?) horses but it felt very very strange sitting on the horse without firm ground under my (own) feet iyswim. I think I am a bit of a wuss and feel, for example, quite uncomfortable about swimming. The idea that I have *to do something* e.g. swim / control the horse in order not to drown / fall off the horse worries me.

Come to think of it, I don't think the riding lesson was very good at all. DC and I shared the same instructor, a teenage girl who spoke so quietly that I didn't understand a word she was saying. When I told them that I was worried about getting off the horse they didn't say anything hmm and I did hurt myself on the saddle when I got off the horse. There was no induction, or anything reassuring. Is this normal?

Sounds like a bad lesson - even if you don't continue, you ought to think about finding somewhere (or at least someone) else for your DD. Riding instructors really need to make themselves heard, and they're usually pretty no-nonsense - if you don't hear an instruction, or if a child pisses about and isn't stopped sharpish, there's so much potential for an accident!

CountryCob Sun 22-Sep-13 23:39:46

I just feel at home on top my horse I love the bond the freedom the closeness to nature and the simplicity of feed, hay, rug and water. At first the fact that horses seem to move sideways as well as forwards comes as a surprise so give it time, I know an excellent rider who is not really happy swimming so don't worry about that!grin Too early to say really but no harm in giving it a go, look for confident and experienced instructor and stick with them would be my advice, good luck xx

dappleton Mon 23-Sep-13 06:41:39

I'd give it another try, it might not be for you but it's hard to make that judgement based on one lesson. I'd also have another ride before deciding whether the instructor is right for you. I see no problem with you and your daughter sharing the same instructor in the early stages, even though eventually you will need separate sessions as adults and children tend to learn at different speeds and in different ways. You should be able to hear her instructions however. In recent years I've found the loud, no-nonsense instructors a bit of a dying breed, especially with young children and nervous adults, it could be that she was speaking softly to try to put you both at ease (or it could be that she was not doing her job very well) - either way if it happens again just tell her to speak up as you can't hear her.
IMO by the end of the first session you should know how to mount, dismount, hold the reins, basic posture, how to move the horse forwards in walk, how to stop/slow-down, how to turn left and how to turn right. You should feel it all needs a lot of practice but it should have been explained to you clearly.
P.S - nobody would have thought you made a fool of yourself and at 38 it is nowhere close to a ridiculous undertaking, it's absolutely possible for you to learn if you want to.

EverythingIsSoThrowback Mon 23-Sep-13 06:49:48

I've been riding since I was 8 or 9, and I still do. I pretty much fell in love with riding on my first lesson. MY first teacher said I was a natural, so I do think that some people do just have a 'way' with horses. My DDs all ride now too.

Frozenjellybeans, what part of the country are you in? I may know some good/better stables than where you are..

My riding school has lots of adult first timers. My instructor said it's quite common to have people on their 40's or 50's take it up. So don't be put off. Where are you vaguely? If near me I'd recommend my place particularly for adults taking up riding.

I love different things about riding. I used to just love the speed & the adrenaline of a good canter/gallop on the moor. Now I hardly ever hack & do mainly dressage type work & love the feeling of being in control & getting the horse to work differently in a very fine tuned sort of way. I have up concentrate so hard it really relaxes me.

And yes the feel of being on a horse & the smell.

bronya Mon 23-Sep-13 06:56:04

The lack of core muscles is quite scary - I've ridden since I was a small child, but those first few weeks back on after baby felt very wobbly and uncertain. The muscles soon started to firm back up though, and then I felt much more secure!

Frozenjellybeans Mon 23-Sep-13 10:16:53

Thank you for your wise thoughts and comments smile. Strangely, having slept on it a night, I now can't wait to get on horse again (although the fear of falling and having a serious accident is still there).

I am near Hatfield in Herts so any recommendations are welcome.

Can I ask what hat you would recommend? I have bought a Charles and Owen young riders hat for myself yesterday. Is this a recommended brand? I don't want to spend too much on gear yet, should I buy some basic riding shoes / boots though? It felt odd riding in wellies as the soles are so thick.

EverythingIsSoThrowback Mon 23-Sep-13 17:14:18

I don't know any stables in your area, but anywhere that has been around a long time, or is ARBS and/or BHS approved are likely to be of a better standard.

My stables provide boots and hats, but if yours doesn't I'd just keep riding in wellies, until you're sure you want to keep riding (since it's so expensive).

Gilbertus Mon 23-Sep-13 17:26:10

Buy boots. They aren't expensive and you might take yourself more seriously with the correct kit. grin Ebay is your friend! I have that hat it is a good one.

Mirage Mon 23-Sep-13 17:41:58

I'm really not bothered about riding at all,but love being around horses.I had a pony as a child,lost interest and never had much to do with horses until my DDs started riding at 4.We have 2 ponies and I love looking after them and just being around them,but have no desire to ever ride again.DD2 can't ride at the minute and I will probably have to hack her pony out,and that is about my limit. TBH,if someone told me that I could never ride again,it wouldn't bother me in the slightest,but I can't imagine not having my ponies around,life would be infinitely poorer without them.

goodasitgets Mon 23-Sep-13 18:19:37

I quit riding when my old horse was PTS. After about 4 years away, I was driving home and I saw a woman on a lovely grey hacking. It was a boiling hot day, I'd seen people riding before and I don't know why, but I had to pull over and I sat and sobbed.
I've now had my share horse for 3 years and I can't imagine being without again, it's like breathing, I cannot be without it grin

Frozenjellybeans Mon 23-Sep-13 19:01:19

Gilbertus, do you mean second hand boots or just good offers on eBay? Any (jodhpurs) boots you could recommend?

Mirage and Goodasitgets, your stories sound lovely smile.

goodasitgets Mon 23-Sep-13 19:41:53

Try equestrian clearance website for cheap jodhpurs and boots smile

Pixel Mon 23-Sep-13 19:43:45

There are lots of different styles of boots nowadays. If you pick some that you don't mind wearing with jeans you will still get use out of them if you decide riding isn't for you wink.

mrslaughan Mon 23-Sep-13 19:48:51

For ridibg lessons for you and your DD, Sandridgebury by st albans - if you go up the hatfeild (Towards st albans) road and turn of for sand ridge, it may not be too bad - depends where you are really

Butkin Tue 24-Sep-13 11:22:04

I took up riding reasonably late in life (late 20s) and still ride now in early 50s. Age is no barrier and they won't worry about what you look like but I would say helmet (you've got a good brand there) and jod boots will be much better. Wellies are a very poor choice due to thickness of sole in the stirrups athough better than trainers which are a definite no-no due to lack of a heel.

I would say change riding schools - that sounded very poor. Also don't have lessons with your daughter for the first few months. You are anxious and she will pick up on this. Similarly she should have natural bravery, strength and enthusiasm so should pick things up more quickly and not a good idea to slow her down. Get her into a group lesson with children her age/ability and she should thrive.

You probably need a few more private lessons with somebody older and more capable who will be in tune to your needs.

Stick with it and keep us informed!

carabos Tue 24-Sep-13 16:02:16

Anything new taken up as an adult is going to be difficult. Add post-natal wobbliness into the mix and you are really are challenging yourself.

Could you go for a private lesson every day for a week? That might help you decide if it is for you and make quicker progress - if you have weekly lessons it's going to take forever for you to get anywhere.

A lot of the problem will come from the stiffness - I have been riding for more than 40 years, ride to a high standard and have my own horse but if I have a break for any reason, I'm stiff the first time I get back on so I can't imagine how bad it must be if your muscles have never moved in that way before.

When I took up skiing ten years ago (aged 40) I had a solid week of input and went from unable to stand on my skis to snow-ploughing down a red run in four days - not pretty, but I did it. The concentrated effort and instruction got me going and I haven't looked back. perhaps a similar approach might work for you with your riding.

I would look for a school that specialises in adult beginners. It's very different teaching an unfit nervy adult than a gung-ho bouncy kid and no instructor should be teaching an adult beginner and a child beginner in the same lesson. Check out the Where to Ride section on the BHS website for info.

Phylis81 Tue 24-Sep-13 16:26:23

I rode a while whilst I was a teenager and then quit.

A couple of years ago I started lessons again and I remember being terrified on that first lesson, it felt wobbly and unsafe and I couldn't wait for the lesson to end. I persevered for a few weeks and then couldn't afford to carry it on so quit again.

A few months ago I started again and this time I was hooked from the start. So it might take a while but if it's for you it will click soon

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