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I love horses and want to learn to ride - but am also scared shitless of them.
8

CrazyUnderwear · 03/06/2012 18:45

I am frightened of horses whilst at the same time, thinking they're amazing creatures and wanting to ride. I plucked up the courage to start lessons last week and have so far had one, amazing lesson. As much as I loved it, I spent the entire lesson terrified that I would piss the horse off with pulling on the reins etc and in return, he quickly worked out that he was the one in charge. This resulted in him refusing to stop, walking quicker than he was supposed to and constantly lowering his head to the floor - dragging me with him.

Instructor promises that I will NOT piss off the horse by being firmer with him and says I must pull hard on the reins so that he KNOWS he has to stop when I say.

Please confirm this won't result in me being thrown off him!?

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ZeroFucksGivenForTheJubilee · 03/06/2012 18:57

  1. Dont pull hard on the reins, they go to his mouth. you will hurt him if you start yanking him in the teeth and gums. Gently does it.

  2. You need to forget the lessons for a while and do some groundwork. You need to be confident being in a stable with a horse, grooming and feeding them, leading them in and out.

    Get used to them, understand them, then take it from there. While you are nervous you are not going to learn anything.
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Ponders · 03/06/2012 19:13

no, you don't need to pull hard, just to maintain contact - don't let the reins go slack, but don't haul on them either, & just make them slightly tauter when he needs to stop (a polite well-trained horse will know what you mean Smile)

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Ponders · 03/06/2012 19:15

horses are lovely. Zero is right, spending more time around them (but not on one) will make you feel much more confident

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ZeroFucksGivenForTheJubilee · 03/06/2012 19:21

ideally you shouldnt ever need to pull, a good riding instructor will tell you its all in the seat.

Imagine you are holding your reins, like this then bring your little fingers back towards you and rotate your hands slightly while bringing them towards your body firmly, yet gently and slowly, that should be enough to stop a horse.

That along with sitting deeper in to your seat will tell the horse you want him to stop.

Smile

Do you know anyone with a horse you could help out for the day?

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Mirage · 03/06/2012 20:48

Agree with the posters who suggest groundwork.I handle the dds ponies on a daily basis,but haven't ridden properly for 33 years.Last week DD1 wasn't able to ride,so I took her pony out for a hack along the roads.Now I'm not a good rider by any stretch of the imagination,but that pony knows me and knows that I mean business,[we've had our battles in the past] and we had a lovely hack.

If you are nervous,the horse will be unsettled,there is an old saying 'from the brain,through the rein'.If you are confident they will be too,and less likely to try it on.

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Alameda · 03/06/2012 21:10

I wanted to be the one to say 'starts in the brain and goes through the rein' ! It's true. Well sometimes. Good luck, keep us posted!

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AllPastYears · 03/06/2012 21:22

Difficult to get groundwork if you don't have your own horse though, or friends with horses. Many riding schools these days don't let you help with the horses (insurance presumably).

But anyway, don't get scared - it's very unlikely that a horse will deliberately throw you, particularly a beginner's riding school horse. I've been riding for 30-odd years on and off, and I've fallen off a few times but never been deliberately thrown off.

As for pulling hard, you may think you are when you're not - it's hard to say without seeing you ride. You need to trust your instructor - and if you don't, find somewhere else to ride.

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Booboostoo · 03/06/2012 21:28

I appreciate everyone has their own opinion and it's tough to know who to listen to, but here's another approach: you should not be holding on to the reins until you learn to balance yourself. The reins go directly to the horse's mouth which is very sensitive and most beginners will at one time or another use them for balance. The way to learn to ride is to give over responsibility for the horse to someone else, i.e. either on the lunge or have someone lead you, while you focus on finding your balance.

Having said that, riding requires confidence because if you transmit your worries to the horse then things start going downhill. Why do you want to ride if it worries you so much? They are big, stupid animals afterall!

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