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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!

saintlyjimjams Mon 24-Jun-13 00:15:18

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
fairfieldstables.co.uk Pocklington

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

saintlyjimjams Mon 24-Jun-13 08:00:21

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.

NotGoodNotBad Mon 24-Jun-13 08:55:56

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.

needastrongone Mon 24-Jun-13 09:25:39

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.


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.

needastrongone Mon 24-Jun-13 16:43:41

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?

saintlyjimjams Mon 24-Jun-13 17:49:03

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

ExitPursuedByABear Mon 24-Jun-13 22:55:27

Drink wine with her and ride somewhere else!

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