total novice- reassure me?(28 Posts)
So, I've booked myself a riding lesson in a couple of weeks. I'm early 30s, and had a few lessons about 10 years ago from a not very good teacher. What should I expect from my first lesson? I'm a bit nervous. My end goal is to have fun, get a bit fitter, and I'd love to one day feel confident going on a hack, and jump, but think that might be a bit beyond me, not being very sporty! Just a few tips on what to expect and how to enjoy the experience would be great.
I would've thought your first lesson would be a private assessment? You should really call the riding school and ask them! Did they not discuss this with you when you booked?! If it's an ABRS or BHS approved riding school they would be obliged to complete a rider assessment form - this enables them to match you with a suitable horse!
You will ache massively in places you didn't know could ache
You will probably be assessed on a reliable horse. Probably mainly walk and a bit of trot.
OP - how did you get on? Are you still having lessons?
I've got my first proper lesson tomorrow on DD's horse. I've only done a bit of lead reign riding and a few treks.
I'm feeling very nervous!
When I had my first lesson again three years ago I was put on the lunge rein and was taught the basics.
After a few private lessons on the lead rein/lunge rein I was "let loose". After a few months I joined a Saturday morning group lesson and this has helped enormously. I can see other people doing the things I'm doing have made new friends and really enjoy it.
In the beginning I hurt in places I never knew existed!
OP just to say don't assume you aren't sporty enough. I was a laughing stock at school for my lack of sportiness. It was a school urban myth that I once came second in an egg and spoon race because the person in front dropped their egg and I stopped to help them pick it up
In my life since, I have pushed myself to try running, which I managed to work up to three times a week for 8 miles each time for a year pre DC and now with my horse in my life I am stronger than I have ever been. I might not be lean like the best riders but the more I ride the more able I am and I've lost weight too. You can be great at riding if you set your mind to it! Just be prepared to hurt in places you didn't know could hurt afterwards
Thanks for checking in. I've had 4 half hour sessions. I've managed to get into trot without holding the neck strap the past couple of lessons, and I'm working a lot more with my legs than with the rein than I used to when I had lessons years ago.
However, as soon as I get in trot my legs go forwards and my stirrup slips, just can't get the legs hanging right! I'm sure I'll get there, and had a few moments in the lesson today where it clicked for a couple of strides. Apparently my shoulders keep rolling forwards, so that's probably affecting my balance.
Just wish I could do it more than just every couple of weeks. I absolutely love it.
Suggest shortening your stirrups a bit and get your leg back and underneath you from your hip. When you rise, it's not up and down but think more of your hips coming out of the saddle at a 45 degree angle. Keep the weight down the back of your leg and relax. (Try not to force your heel down as this will encourage your lower leg to move forwards.) It's your lack of balance in your seat and legs that's cuaing you to tip forwards. Sit on your seat bones and keep your pelvis level, try to lift up through your diaphragm. The more you grip with your knee, the worse it will be. If you were lifted off the horse and placed on the ground ask yourself if you'd tip forwards or not. There are plenty of books out there to help you - have a look on Amazon.
Thanks Draughty! I'm very aware that I'm tensing up too, so going to try to relax more and get a bit more loose before hitting the trot next time. I'm overthinking all my positioning at the moment (because I haven't got it right yet), so that's making me tense. Once I have more strength, and muscle memory, it'll come (I hope!). Just going to try to be patient and not frustrated when I get it wrong.
I'd really like to learn more about horse behaviour and how to connect with them, does anyone know of any good resources?
Ask for a lesson or two on the lunge (no stirrups). It will sort your balance out.
Update: Had a great lesson today, trotting pretty much continuously, posture felt right, and started going over trotting poles, down centre line etc. If anyone is still watching this thread, could they advise on what progress should look like, I.e, the common steps and techniques you are taught and in what order? Also, what is there to achieve as an adult, qualification wise etc? I'm not interested in competing etc, but would like to have a list of things to aim towards. Comfortable in canter was my new years resolution, but other than that I'm a bit clueless!
In terms of aiming for something, try to aim for British Horse Society Stage 1. I second 50 bales lunge lesson. Best way to improve. Key steps, Heels down, deep seat, upright posture. Look between horses ears (not down). That's a start. Also, watch good riders & see how they hold themselves.
Aim to walk, trot and canter with ease on different horses. Do you ride the same one each time?
After that trotting and canter poles. 20m circles in trot and canter.
No stirrup sitting trot and canter.
My group is doing the BHS progressive riding tests www.bhs.org.uk/professionals/become-bhs-approved/approved-centres/progressive-riding-tests
The riding sections are quite easy but it includes stable management/horse care as well
- I've learned a lot.
OP here, with NC. Just to update that I had a brilliant lesson today, after a few weeks of struggling with getting into canter, I managed to do it! I was happily cantering round the school and keeping my leg on round corners, and really enjoying moving with the horse. I'm so happy to have made this progress and looking forward to what's next. I've really been enjoying my lessons, some round school, some lunge, some hacks (on a very reliable-slow- horse), and lots of schooling too, all on a really goo variety of horses. Only doing it 1/2 an hour once a week, but I love it.
Wish I'd started when I was younger!
Glad you're enjoying it - and it sounds like you've made fabulous progress! It's certainly always been my 'therapy'!
Small update, just for me really. I've been having group lessons for the past few weeks as the school is so busy with pony clubs etc. They have been really nice. It's been good to meet some others about my age who are also learning. And, I've been able to canter nicely a lot more, so my confidence was growing.
However, I was on a different horse today. He was lovely and much more responsive (tiny nudge into trot, really listening to leg aids to get him into corners etc), but when I asked for canter, I was TOTALLY thrown! I was expecting a lovely, smooth 1-2-3 motion, but what I got was a REALLY bumpy, quick running canter. I was told by my teacher that he used to be a driving pony, and I could feel that really high step and jogging tread he had. But, after that first go, I just couldn't get him to canter again at all, I was bouncing around all over him, he was cutting corners all over the place and i lost balance.
It's so frustrating when you think you're getting the hang of something but then you realise you're still such a beginner
Makemepretty - was the horse you were on a trotter? Was it pacing rather than cantering?
Don't feel bad. Quite honestly re-training a trotter to canter in a schooling situation can be pretty hard going even for an experienced person. Ask for a different horse next time.
I'm not really sure what pacing means, but when I asked him to canter he just sped up into a faster and faster trot. He did, the first time, start to canter, but only held it for a few strides before going down into a fast trot again. I'm actually quite keen to ride him again so we can try to communicate a bit better and I can try again. I really want to feel like I can canter on lots of different types of horses, rather than just on one, but I did feel a little annoyed at the school that they didn't tell me he had a funny canter before I tried it.
I think he might have been getting a bit fed up by the end of the lesson, and just didn't want to do any more. We'd done a lot of trotting and transitions and working going over trotting poles (sometimes he would go over fine, other times he would slow down), and all the way through he'd been really good and listening to me. but towards the end of the lesson he was beginning to pull on the reins a little bit to lower his neck and head to the ground, and not slow down to walk or halt as quickly as at first. When he pulled on the reins, I would pull him back and say no to get him to behave, but I wonder if actually I was pulling on his reins too hard? I was trying to stop him being cheeky by pulling back on them, but I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do. Is lowering the head to the ground to pull on the reins, or tugging on them generally a sign of the horse getting grumpy?
Wow, it's coming up to a year since I started riding. I hope my progress is going well. I'm pretty happy in canter on different horses, and my instructor introduced me to light seat and jumping position today.
So, I hope to start jumping soon. Exciting and nerve-wracking. Any tips to get over the fear of the first time? Or any exercises I can do when not riding to help with the positioning.
I'm still a bit wobbly in light seat, but had a few moments of it today when it felt right and my instructor said I had it.
Hi, I’ve found this thread and wanted to let you know I’ve found it really encouraging! Like you, i’ve been having half hour lessons every week, but i only started a couple of months ago. It’s been great to hear from you how much progress can be made over time. I’m loving it but I was wondering if it will be worth it - will I ever be a competent rider?! Reading your thread has helped me understand the journey a bit better. Thank you 😊
Really glad it has helped UpEarly. I certainly feel like I'm at the beginning of a journey and no idea where it will take me! Been having some really lovely lessons recently, especially today where I was happily cantering, changing diagonals in canter and really working on leg yield (I sound like I know what I'm talking about- I don't!). But my instructor said I was doing really well and seemed really pleased.
I've now got the issue of trying to control the canter when I'm in it, as when the horse is happily going forward, I find it difficult to get him to slow back to trot. Trying to think about pulling up tall, but not quite there yet.
Suffice it to say, I'm addicted and feel on a total high after a lesson. I wish I'd started when I was younger, it would have helped my confidence and mental health no end.
Brilliant! Keep going! My riding school insists we wear body protectors for jumping so maybe check out their rules
Before you slow down, do you give a half halt?
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