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Can anyone give me any horse riding tips? I can never make my horse stop!

40 replies

Tracheostomy · 15/07/2012 19:21

Had a few lessons, love it, got as far as rising trot and can usually direct my horse left/right successfully.

My issue is with stopping. 3 different horses I've ridden now where I just can't come to a halt unless the horse in front of me stops too. Even if I'm the only rider, sometimes I'll try to halt and my horse is like "nah, let's carry on!"

I went on my first hack today and really managed to piss off a woman who wanted to ride in front of me with her partner (he partner was already in front). My horse wouldn't stop to let her past and if she tried to trot past, mine raced her! and no protest from me made any difference.

So how do you stop a horse that just wants to carry on/follow the herd?

OP posts:
Alameda · 15/07/2012 19:40

use your seat and sit up very straight, squeeze your fingers round the reins, take your leg off, think 'STOP'

that's the theory I think? not great at stopping either Blush in real life I lean back and pull quite hard and swear and we eventually slow down a bit

IMcHunt · 15/07/2012 21:05

I think I'm on the other incarnation of this thread :)
Alameda, you need your leg ON to stop. It's just kind of different to the way you put it on to go - more like a drawstring closing round the horse's middle, with no allowance for the horse's movement, if you see what I mean. You basically stop 'flowing' with the horse, then leg wrapped round, sit down, stop your body, squeeze your fingers, applying progressively greater pressure until the horse stops. But not pulling, cos the horse'll just pull back. I find feeding my reins between my ring finger and little finger (the way I was taught, but not the way I've seen others taught more recently), rather than in a fist, makes it so much harder to pull on the reins...

Alameda · 15/07/2012 22:06

am paying special attention to this thread

I promise that once upon a time I did know how to ride, did my NVQ and BHS stages etc

(but these days I hide that very well)

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 16/07/2012 00:45

You just need a bit of patience. In time, you will learn. Miles in the saddle is my tip, just keep going. Everything will come with practice. You need to establish contact with your horse, through your hands, seat, legs and mind in able to make it do what you want, no amount of tips and pointers will make up for this. You sound like you are enthusiastic and confident. That's great, just don't forget you are riding a creature with a mind of its own that you need to know and understand.

klaritaf · 16/07/2012 00:57

what saggyoldclothcatpuss said is good. Do not think of legs as accelerator and reins as brakes! Try to establish a contact through your seat. I think a few lunge lessons are invaluable at any level.

AlpinePony · 16/07/2012 15:31

IMchunt I'm intrigued - how are people holding the reins these days?

OP, it will come - you've only had a few lessons. Whilst others are saying don't rely on the reins as brakes, I have to ask - are you using them at all? One mad sow I used to hack out with routinely overtook others (extremely poor form and dangerous) _ transpired she didn't want to use the reins because she didn't want to hurt her baybee.

bonzo77 · 16/07/2012 15:56

slightly concerned that your riding school will take you hacking with no brakes. I would change riding school to one that can teach you to halt and has a better concept of safety.

In your lessons does your instructor use the phrases "prepare to ...(halt)" then "and... (halt)". Do you understand about seat, leg, voice and rein aids? Have you learnt the half halt? The half halt is the "prepare to" part, to tell the horse that you are about to ask him do do something, an upward or downward transition, a turn or any other exercise like taking up collection or extension, fancy lateral movements, or a say "umm hang on, you're getting too fast".

klaritaf and saggy are bang on, its not as simple as legs=go faster, reins=slow down. If you drive a manual car, I'd say that you use legs like the accelerator and the reins like the brake, but none of it really works smoothly without your seat which is the clutch. And that's before you start trying to steer. So you need to develop a seat so you can use seat, legs and hands independently of each other. Lunge lessons are also my recommendation.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 16/07/2012 16:41

What Alpine says. It's bloody bad manners to overtake out hacking! You get a mouthful of abuse if you try that on our yard!

IMcHunt · 16/07/2012 17:27

Alpine, I've seen loads and loads of people holding them all the way across their palm, so sort of in a fist, like you hold rope when you're pulling it.

triplexxx · 16/07/2012 17:37

Can anyone recommend a book with this basic stuff in, please? I learnt to ride back in the Dark Ages and it all appears to have changed. Confused

tia most grateful

IMcHunt · 16/07/2012 17:39

"it's not as simple as legs=go faster, reins=slow down"
Apart from the fact that to achieve a balanced halt you need your leg on slightly, if you ever ride an ex-racer, you'll find out pretty sharpish that they tend to respond to increased rein pressure by ramping up the pace a bit...

triplexxx · 16/07/2012 17:40

Yeah...I've been galloped away with...thought I oculd ride...

Wilding · 16/07/2012 17:45

Like bonzo, I'd be a bit concerned about any riding school that's letting you hack out after only a few lessons, especially if you haven't quite mastered the halt yet. I wouldn't worry too much - riding is a skill like any other, and practice is the best thing, although I would probably stick to the school for now.

Are you having group lessons? If so, I would really recommend having a couple of additional private sessions with your instructor - that way you can really concentrate on the areas you're a bit shaky on.

IMcHunt · 16/07/2012 17:50

I guess if you get galloped away with, and you manage to stay on, and stop, you CAN ride...
Mine was many, many years ago. I was about 16. The horse was about 17 hands, which was huge to me then.
Apart from the utter terror I felt at the prospect of him having a go at the fence, which was 8ft with a sheer 30-odd foot drop to the river right behind it, it was quite funny in a way. My sister was on the laziest pony in the stables, and she (the pony) was apparently watching this whole display with an expression on her face that basically said 'ohh, shit, I don't have to do THAT do
(and for those who would say I should have tried circling him, he'd decided he wanted to run, and was bracing his neck, refusing to allow me to steer. I'd been riding 8 years at that point, had done most of the BHS and ABRS exams, and the only way I could stop him was to run him into a corner. Which was a tad humbling, to say the least...)

IMcHunt · 16/07/2012 17:55

that was to triplexxx by the way...

Fundamentally, tracheostomy, like everyone's said, you need to practise loads. Lots of downward transitions - walk-halt, trot-walk, trot-halt. Lots of lunging, without stirrups too. Learning to let go of your hips and release your leg down the horse's side. Learning to flow with the horse, so the horse can feel more easily whether you want it to stop or go (also helps the horse's confidence in its rider, which in turn helps control). It's painful initially, but like anything else, if you really want to continue to enjoy it, you need to learn to do it well enough so you CAN enjoy it. And sometimes that means having to do a bit of the less exciting nuts-and-boltsy stuff.

triplexxx · 16/07/2012 17:59

Didn't do none of that when I were a kid.


triplexxx · 16/07/2012 17:59

Can stay on, though. Grin

IMcHunt · 16/07/2012 18:01

Ha! Fundamentally, I was told once, the two most important things to learn, in order of importance, when riding, are a) how to fall off and b) how to stay on Grin

triplexxx · 16/07/2012 18:06

Seriously, though, is there a good way to fall off?

triplexxx · 16/07/2012 18:06

I need to know for a friend.

Windandsand · 16/07/2012 18:37

Do you always ride the same the same horse? Agee with all the comments about using your seat and closing your fingers- they don't need to back or yank. However riding school horses do tend to be a bit harder in the mouth. Also it's a bit rude to overtake a beginner who is likely to get into trouble- if she had got past and they set off at a canter, would you have been able to keep yours from following?

What does your instructor say?

IMcHunt · 16/07/2012 20:24

Triplexxx, it's all about trying to roll into a ball and get out of the horse's way, far as I can gather. Like jockeys do it, basically...

Alameda · 16/07/2012 20:40

I fell for the first time in ages recently, soared over his head and did a somersault and thought 'wow, am going to land on my feet!' but I landed on my head as usual :(

SaggyOldClothCatPuss · 16/07/2012 21:23

Lol! I have fallen off NJNF (nut job new forest) dozens of times. I have NEVER managed to arrange myself on the way down, into a ball or any other shape come to that! Confused I've landed on my head, my arse, my feet, my back, face down in a puddle....

triplexxx · 16/07/2012 21:42

Yes, I was thinking you must have to slow down time, in order to plan your landing neatly in a ball, safe from flying hooves. I do actually learn good riding tips on here. Thanks, OP, sorry for mini-hijack. Smile

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