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Back in the saddle - returning to riding chat. Come and join the pony mad pals!

(87 Posts)
SeventeenTwoChestnutMare Sun 17-Sep-17 01:57:55

Inspired by another thread, this is a chat thread for those returning to riding after a long break.

If you're new to the thread, why not tell us a bit about yourself, your experience and what stage of your return you're at. If you were on the other thread, a quick recap for the benefit of any new pals joining this one would be fab.

(Consider a horsey name change for 'The tack room' topic if you don't want to out yourself under your usual MN username.)

RidingMyPony Sun 17-Sep-17 02:11:28

Oh good! Thanks for the thread - just the motivation I need.

I was a late starter and picked up riding after uni to play polo and generally muck around; I've ridden quite a lot and am happy on pretty much anything but I don't have much/ any formal horsey education.

I'd love to have my own horse and I'd love my kids to ride - we live on a small farm, so very possible once they're a bit older - but am a bit lost for how to go about it!

SeventeenTwoChestnutMare Sun 17-Sep-17 02:12:17

So, let me introduce myself again to start us off.

I'm Seventeen (I'm actually 40 years old, but I'm 17.2hh unshod), and I'm in south London.

I started riding at seven and had stopped by the time I was 21, so a break of nearly two decades.

My experience was a mix of basic lessons, hacking and general larking about, mainly on riding school ponies; it'd be fair to say my confidence and enthusiasm were greater than my technical abilities.

Though I've thought about returning over the years, two small DC have kept me busy for the last eight. Then DD (7) asked to start lessons and after some time considering the risks to my PFB, and a lot of "Mummy, pleeease!", I went to have a look at our only local school.

I won't need to explain why, as soon as I was around the horses, I knew I'd be riding again too. I'm planning to be more technique-focused this time, not least because charging around the countryside isn't really sensible any more an option.

My one-hour private lesson is booked for the week after next and a copy of The Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship is on its way grin

SeventeenTwoChestnutMare Sun 17-Sep-17 02:15:37

Haha, you beat me to it, RidingMyPony. At gone 2am! smile

RidingMyPony Sun 17-Sep-17 02:22:46

I was actually hoping to find work on a yard that I could swap for some riding/ the odd lesson, rather than shelling out on actual lessons, partly because I want to learn how to look after horses more than anything. There seems to be a big gap between being able to ride and knowing what to do with your own horse!

I'd be happy exercising other people's horses, but I can't really add any value other than wearing them out so not sure that's exactly what I'm looking for.

All a bit pie in the sky at the minute because I'm heavily pregnant and my toddler DD is shouting at me quite loudly as I type. But it's fun to think about it and look forward to it - I really miss horses!

Which stable are you going to seventeen?

RidingMyPony Sun 17-Sep-17 02:23:08

Ah whoops! Yes, we're in a different time zone smile

Frouby Sun 17-Sep-17 08:23:25

Ooh thanks for the thread.

I spent from being 10 to 21ish at the local riding school. Yard owner was a big of a dragon but took me under her wing. By the time I was 12 I was riding after school every night exercising the riding school ponies over winter. I was a year older than her dd and we were mates and to make it easier to get to the yard I was staying at their house all weekend.

By the time I was 14 I was staying 5 nights a week and all the holidays. Things weren't great at home and it was my escape.

When I was 15 my younger sister was bought a pony by my then stepdad as she had asked for one. hmm. Obviously I had begged and pleaded since I could talk but I obviously didn't get one.

Riding school owner promptly went and picked up her retired event pony from stud before they could cover her and gave her me! Love that woman.

I sold my last horse when I was 21 as he was a bit of a thug and I was working full time and no one would ride him apart from me. Which meant I spent many weekends getting tanked around with and it just wasn't worth it.

Had about 8 years off horses. Bought dd a little welsh pony off my mate when dd was 1, bought her another when she was 7 and then had ds.

Dd isnt actually that interested. She likes in hand showing. Not bothered about riding and is pretty windy.

So instead of buying her another bigger pony when she outgrew the little ones I bought myself a 2 year old highland filly. She is 4 now. Just started lunging her and she is very sweet and very calm which I will.need.

Keep leaning on her after I have lunged her and am desperate to swing my leg over.

Will be taking dd for her weekly lesson at riding school on Wednesday and will book myself a lesson for the week after. Excited very muchly!

Frouby Sun 17-Sep-17 08:26:23

My pony. Luffs her.

Frouby Sun 17-Sep-17 08:28:56

This is the dcs pony. That is ds on him for only the 3rd time. He is a natural and very keen.

Frouby Sun 17-Sep-17 08:34:21

And this was my old girl who I had pts in june this year. She had a lot of health issues and just wasn't doing well. Loved the bones of this pony. We had her 12 years and I still get choked up when I think about her.

RidingMyPony Sun 17-Sep-17 08:56:09

Oooh frouby! Any tips for getting ready to encourage kids into riding? Mine are still really little but I'm determined to be in a position to help them but the time they're able to...

Frouby Sun 17-Sep-17 11:54:46

I don't think you can Riding.

Dd is 13 now. Had a pony since she was 1. Been around her and my mates ponies all her life. Been to big, county shows. Been to little pony club shows. Had every opportunity I never had. All the gear. The pony. The lessons and tuition.

She is just not that interested. She rides once a week at the riding school I went to. Never interested in riding her first pony. Was a bit better on the second pony but it has always been me suggesting it. She only has the riding lessons because she likes the instructors and likes being picked up from school. And won't admit she doesn't actually like it much.

She doesn't like being outside. Is very girly. Likes make up and clothes. Doesn't like mud and shit.

Ds is completely different even at 3. He is very confident (too confident!) around the ponies. Loves his little rides. Loves his pony. Loves my pony. Likes being outside and doesn't mind the shit lol.

They are either interested or they aren't. If they are it's like a disease and will break you emotionally, physically and financially.

I don't encourage ds. I would rather have a pony for me and him do something else so I get a bit of an escape. But I will no doubt have to share mine when he outgrows his pony.

Dd probably won't be riding much longer. Ds starts ft school next year and finishes later than her so she will have to swap her lesson to weekends over winter and she won't want that.

Unless she clicks with mine when I break her in which is a possibility I am not discounting.

My advice is wait until they are old enough to express an opinion. And if distraction doesnt work have lessons for a minimum of 3 years at a riding school.

RidingMyPony Sun 17-Sep-17 12:16:18

Whoops, sorry, worded badly. I didn't mean how do you encourage kids to ride, I meant how could I be in a position to help them if they're interested by the time they're old enough? Sort of how much would I need to know and how to go about getting that knowledge? My mum is the real expert but she's a long way away sadly and no longer riding.

I guess the best place to start for children is riding lessons for them somewhere decent? And then if they're keen, presumably riding schools will help you find a decent pony? I've never had my own horse, backed a horse or brought a horse on tho have ridden plenty of fairly green horses.

I don't want to force them into it, just give them the opportunity. Tbh if they're not interested, I'll probably stick with riding other people's horses and not worry about having my own becaus of the time commitment etc.

TIA!

RidingMyPony Sun 17-Sep-17 12:21:27

Ps. we live on a small farm outside the UK so not the same physical or financial outlay required here for horses - we have our own grazing/ shelter, as do 99.9% of horsey people and all horses here live out year round etc. unless on box rest. Big part of the appeal! I won't comment on the emotional side of things but we're animal people in general, so not unaware smile

iveburntthetoast Sun 17-Sep-17 13:01:24

I'm back riding after a 20 year break. I don't know why I left it so long!

I started riding at 11 with my younger sister--the local Army base gave riding lessons to local children. The 'lessons' focussed upon bombing around the cross country course and galloping around the huge airfield. My dad was very poorly during this time and he had to stop working--it left my parents barely able to pay the mortgage, but they kept paying for our lessons & I'm eternally grateful for that. It was cheap even then @ £2.50 an hour.

When I was about 14, I started exercising a Fell pony that belonged to a local family, and my sister exercised their Caspian pony. When they moved away from the village, they gave the ponies to us. My parents could not afford anything towards them so we both did paper rounds and mucked out at a local racehorse stables. Every penny (including Christmas and birthday money) went towards keeping them.We used a farmer's local field for £10 a month, plus we helped with his horses.

We had such good fun. We were in the middle of the Yorkshire countryside and would go on picnic rides during the summer---we'd be out all day, and ride for miles. I was thinking recently that my parents had no idea where we were--this was before the days of mobiles. Anyway, I put my pony on loan when I went to uni in 1994. I didnt ride again for years.

My oldest daughter started riding and few years ago, and it was then that I started riding again. I'm loving it & enjoying the more technical aspects of it (which weren't really a part of being taught by solders!)

I would love to get a horse and a pony for DD1, but there's no way we could afford it right now.

Frouby Sun 17-Sep-17 13:37:18

Ah I see what you mean Riding. Definetly a riding school. Lots of them do pony days or pony lease days or weeks.

And then if you are getting to them wanting their own I would probably recommend loaning an older been there, done that pony.

Both my kids ponies I broke myself. Current pony was sent away for riding away as I am too fat these days to do that bit.

But having a pony that knows it's job is invaluable really. It's hard work schooling them in when you can't pop on and do ot your self.

Plus dcs grow like weeds. So you have the prospect of selling one to get another and the heartbreak that goes with it.

We are rubbish at selling. Thats why I ended up with 2 small ponies instead of 1. At least with a loan pony it usually goes back to its owner at some point. Be that when they lose interest or need a bigger pony!

Toast that sounds a fab way to learn to ride to me! I learnt mainly from riding naughty ponies and horses and mucking about with my mate after school.

yikes76 Sun 17-Sep-17 14:14:44

Great thread smile
I rode in a local riding school from about age 11 to 18 and loved helping out at the RS. I then went to uni and couldn't afford to continue lessons. I started working in my early 20s and hacked out from time to time. We then moved to France in 2003 and I was to nervous to go riding here.(Don't know why really!) Since living in France I have had two daughters. I found a local RS and took my daughters for lessons and realised that I missed horses and riding. I also have a friend who has a livery and she is encouaging me to get back in the saddle so I can ride with her. I have had 9 lessons and enjoying every minute. The vocabulary is sometimes difficult but I have a very patient instructor smile.

yikes76 Sun 17-Sep-17 14:14:44

Great thread smile
I rode in a local riding school from about age 11 to 18 and loved helping out at the RS. I then went to uni and couldn't afford to continue lessons. I started working in my early 20s and hacked out from time to time. We then moved to France in 2003 and I was to nervous to go riding here.(Don't know why really!) Since living in France I have had two daughters. I found a local RS and took my daughters for lessons and realised that I missed horses and riding. I also have a friend who has a livery and she is encouaging me to get back in the saddle so I can ride with her. I have had 9 lessons and enjoying every minute. The vocabulary is sometimes difficult but I have a very patient instructor smile.

yikes76 Sun 17-Sep-17 14:27:53

Oooppss I have added my message twice!

Seventeen - our stories are quite similar. Enjoy your lessons. I find I am less flexible (old bones lol) at 40 but I concentrate more and have a let's have a go attitude.
Riding my pony - my daughters both started lessons at a local RS. One of them loves it and the other has stopped as she was scared and it wasn't worth her getting stressed every week. The RS is very good here and all riders have to catch, groom and prepare the ponies/horses and turn them out afterwards. There are also courses during the holidays to learn stable management, theory etc...
Fouby - beautiful photos. You are very lucky smile
I hope you all enjoy your next lessons. I am going again on Friday.

iveburntthetoast Sun 17-Sep-17 17:32:19

One problem I have with DD1 is that she's not been getting any opportunities to handle ponies. She tacks and untacks them when she has lessons, but her current place doesn't do any stable management type events at all.

I've looked at a few other riding stables around us, but I've been really unimpressed. They've been poorly organised/poor teaching/much more expensive.

yikes76 Sun 17-Sep-17 20:46:11

Toast - how old is your daughter? Could she help out at the riding school? I learnt loads by helping out when I was younger.

RidingMyPony Mon 18-Sep-17 05:09:55

Thanks frouby - very helpful! Good to know I don't need to be an expert.

toast that really does sound idyllic! Exactly what I'm hoping for for my kids, really - I'm not so worried about formal disciplines, more keen that they get to bomb around the very lovely countryside here. Fingers crossed!

KingLooieCatz Tue 19-Sep-17 13:30:41

Frouby how come you got my dream pony? She's gorgeous, very jealous, although in truth even if I was a great rider and had more spare cash, I still wouldn't have the time to own a pony.

I helped out and had riding lessons as a teenager, to start with because some school friends dragged me into helping out and a riding holiday. Stopped when I went to uni. Briefly got back into it after uni when I had a riding holiday in Spain, had a few 1:1 lessons so I'd enjoy the holiday more but somehow the bug didn't get me that time.

Not that long ago I finally got rid of the riding hat and the great boots I got for that holiday, thinking "I'll not need them again". Within weeks an old school friend got in touch to suggest a riding holiday, and I thought "That could be a good excuse to get some time away", thinking I wasn't fussed about the riding element. Old school friend organized a lesson for us both and with one lungful of horsey smell I was back in the game, more so than after the last riding holiday.

I was never a confident rider before but now I think I just value my time and money too much to have a horse piss about not doing what it's told for an hour.

I've been fantasizing about when DS (8) will be tall and strong enough to share a Highland with me. DS has not expressed any interest in riding, except to recommend I don't wear tracksuit bottoms because they'll tickle the horse.

Seventeen has the Pony Club Manual arrived and would you recommend?

Frouby Tue 19-Sep-17 19:02:52

King I waited 5 years for her! They don't come cheap even as babies. Saved up enough for a baby one. Finally found a stud that had a filly foal that I liked AND they were prepared to sell.

Then found out I was pregnant after 4 years ttc. Obviously couldn't commit to a baby pony at that point so had to give her a miss.

Wasn't really looking as ds was only 18 mnths old but she popped up on a fb page. Absolutely loved her and when I.looked at her breeding she was by the full brother of the filly I originally wanted. So phoned and enquired, saw a couple of videos and bought her unseen as she was in Scotland and I was in south yorkshire.

I was more nervous of her arriving on the transporters lorry than the elcs of both dcs!

She is an absolute angel tho. Have.long reined her today and she has done very well for her first time. No drama. Can highly recommend them as a breed and her temperament is to die for.

Broached the subject of riding lessons with dd (13) last night and said I would join in on hers. She wasn't impressed and I am not to. Sigh. Am phoning tomorrow to book me in next week. Excited muchly!

KingLooieCatz Wed 20-Sep-17 11:27:29

Frouby she does sound lovely. Owning a pony is a pipe dream for now and probably a while to come. I used to ride Highlands when I was young but I doubt very much they were that valuable so maybe they were "Highland type" and not pure bred. The ones I used to ride tended to be quite ploddy but I suspect that has more to do with being a riding school or trekking pony than the breed. They certainly weren't prone to spooking or any of that sort of nonsense, really steady.

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