My feed

to access all these features

Discuss horse riding and ownership on our Horse forum.

The tack room

Any horse owners subsequently ridden at a riding school?

17 replies

fishoutofchlorinatedwater · 12/06/2013 20:12

I've been a life long horse owner, but recently had to put my beloved old horse to sleep. He had been retired for a few years so I haven't done much riding recently - just a few hacks on borrowed horses (couldn't really afford to keep 2 for me). Now I am horseless (other than the DCs pony) and personal circumstances (young DCs, potentially another baby at some point) mean that it would be sensible to stay that way for a few years.

I wondered about taking lessons at a riding school until I have my own horse again. I'm not sure how this would be though. There is a riding school near us that has a good reputation, but I've only ever had private lessons on my own horse, and have then worked with the horse in my own time to build on what we have learned, so the concept of turning up to ride whichever horse I'm allocated on the day is a bit new to me. I'm not an advanced rider though despite having ridden all of my life- mainly a happy hacker / a bit of RC / local shows pre-DCs stuff. I'm just an experienced novice! I could definitely do with working on my riding and as I get older the idea of dressage (which I've never seriously done) is starting to appeal.

Thoughts are welcome. Another option might be a share, but really I think I need to focus my time and energy on the non-horsey aspects of my life in the short term, so I wouldn't be able to make too much of a commitment, and as I still have the DCs' pony I don't want to have to spend too much time on someone else's yard.

OP posts:
Pixel · 12/06/2013 21:16

I was in the same position as you some years ago (elderly pony, couldn't afford to keep two) and didn't get to ride for years. I did try some riding school lessons but didn't really enjoy them as there wasn't time to get to know the horse or the teacher in such a short time. I didn't feel it was money well-spent. (Maybe if I'd carried on for longer I would have but then I got pregnant with ds!) It was strangely unsatisfying, turning up for my half hour lesson as an anonymous 'face' and then going home again, I guess because I was used to hanging round the yard gossiping Blush.

Now I have lessons from a freelance instructor. She was recommended to me after I got newly-backed dhorse when I'd lost my old boy. I do have lessons on him but as we have nowhere decent to school I also have lessons on her horses at the yard where she keeps them on DIY. It's so much better, if I could have the previous time again this is what I would do from the start. I have the challenge of riding different types of horse (she has 4, one of them I refuse to get on but I ride the other 3) but I also get to form a relationship and get to know them so I feel like I've made some good progress.

fishoutofchlorinatedwater · 12/06/2013 21:44

Thanks Pixel. That was what I was concerned about re a riding school, that it would seem a bit odd to just turn up, ride a random horse, then leave, when part of the enjoyment for me has always been the "hanging about", and learning with a horse, not just "on" a horse.

The scenario with your instructor sounds ideal. I haven't heard of anyone doing similar here, but you've reminded me that my old instructor used to teach on her own horses a bit too- I know that she's not doing this just now, but you have inspired me to give her a call and see if she knows anyone who would. Desperately trying to keep my sensible hat on and not just buy another horse.

OP posts:
Littlebigbum · 13/06/2013 12:01

In theory YES great idea, but alot of money and you will be riding a half dead pony taught by a bored teenager.
So do give it ago, every horse has something to teach you.
Good luck!

Lasvegas · 13/06/2013 13:33

Have you thought about sharing a horse? you obviously have the stable management experience.

carabos · 13/06/2013 16:40

Its very hard to improve your riding when you don't have an "on the ground" relationship with the horse. I second the sharing idea, or offer to exercise for someone short of time, where you would get time to hang out and mooch around with the horse.

newfavouritething · 13/06/2013 17:20

I'm sure if you ask around you'll be able to find a horse to ride regularly. Would love someone to ride mine, but I can't find someone like you with experience, just people who've had riding school lessons for a year or two and think they know it all. Where do you live?

fishoutofchlorinatedwater · 13/06/2013 21:22

Thank you, I think you're confirming my reservations about a riding school. I suspect asking around will be the way forward (am in SE Scotland), I have a few friends with nice horses but a lack of time, and I wonder if they'd be happy for me to ride / maybe even have occasional private lessons on their horses. I have reservations about a formal share as I still have the DCs' pony to look after, so don't really want to be spending lots of time on another yard (and there's nothing really appealing to share on the yard we are at, although plenty of ponies / horses I could borrow for the odd hack). It's hard, ideally I want something just like my old boy - well schooled, forward going, up for anything but ultimately very safe too, and I spent years (15 years!) building up a relationship with him so the thought off starting again with a different horse, and especially riding a horse I don't know, is daunting.

OP posts:
mousetours · 14/06/2013 00:43

As someone who has never had the opportunity to own a horse I would like to defend the riding schools a little. I can only ride once a week but I am welcome to go up early to do some grooming and other stuff. I also join in with turning out and other stuff around the yard. i need to add that i am not a teenager and have been riding for over 30 years!
I get to ride the same horse every week. I have been riding the same horse for 3 years now so we have a bond. Probably not as strong as if he was my own horse but we know each other well. I didn't want people to read the above and think its not worth going to a riding school because all the horses are half dead and you never ride the same horse!

LittleFeileFooFoo · 14/06/2013 00:47

As someone who has a horse, but grew up riding whatever with 4 legs was available, I'd like to say that riding different horses will help you more than riding the same one all the time.

Bonding with a horse is great, of course, but riding a sensitive, responsive horse one week, then a dead sided lump another week will teach you more about your flaws as a rider than anything else!

It will teach you how to coax a spooky horse and energize a slug. It can e really rewarding.

Ponks · 14/06/2013 22:43

fish I have been in much the same position as you and since selling my horse last year I have had some lessons at a riding school. I was lucky though and clicked with a great instructor there, who was very supportive. The good thing about it has been trying lots of different types and sizes of horse and working out what I really do want when I get another. The downside is that sometimes you ride something that you really don't get on with. My DH says you learn something from every horse you ride, that may be true but sometimes what you learn is that you never want to ride that horse again!

Agree with "Littlefeile" - you find out your flaws as a rider! I didn't realise how much my horses must have helped me in the past! Half the time I can't even get canter on some of the horses - I have been used to giving hardly any aid and find it difficult and unbalancing to use a lot of leg Blush.

Pixel · 14/06/2013 23:20

Mousetours I didn't mean to imply that there was something wrong with the riding school I went to, or their horses, the ones I rode were lovely. Just that personally I found it to be a bit lonely. I suppose it makes a difference if you are a regular there and get to know people, but I couldn't really afford that whilst I still had my old boy to keep and two young children so I only had lessons now and again. Funnily enough I go trekking on holiday and don't find it lonely in the least. I think because everyone is in the same boat I don't feel left out and always find someone to chat to.
I do agree that riding different horses is good for you, but I've always done that anyway (our own and various friends' ones over the years), it's just that I haven't had lessons on them. Yesterday I rode my sister's 14hh 24 yo pony and today I rode my 15.2hh 'green' 8 yo cob. They are like chalk and cheese in every way (a bit like me and my sister Grin).

mrslaughan · 15/06/2013 11:32

I'd like to defend riding schools.... And you may to hunt around to find one you like.
But the one I go to - I have been going too for 18months. I now have a share at the yard. Unless it is absolutely huge , you will end up on a lot if the same horses, also got to know a lot of people on the yard.
My share has had a sore back, so I have been lunging her, but have had a few lessons on school horses..... Each one has taught me different things and has subsequently improved my riding.
I think if you find the right school it could be a great way to keep a hand in, but also if a livery yard is attached , you may become aware of suitable shares.......
Or if you are a really good rider people may ask you to ride there horses for you, once they know u.

fishoutofchlorinatedwater · 15/06/2013 14:27

Thanks to those of you putting the case for riding schools too. I'm not a good rider at all, I was lucky to just "click" with my last, fantastic horse (who had been beautifully schooled by someone else), so I have had a very easy time of it for a long time (and suspect I'd be really quite rubbish if I tried to do anything too advanced on a different horse!). I think my main concern is that the relationship with a riding school horse will be such a different one from what I've been used to (not bad, just different) and I still think that I might find that strange - or even annoying (I can't, e.g., imagine working on something for a half hour lesson and then not having the opportunity to go away and practise it on my own through the week; nor can I imagine riding a horse when I didn't know exactly what else he'd done that week, how tired he was likely to be, whether I'd overdone the schooling and he might be getting bored etc). But it's food for thought, I won't rule out riding schools. Have managed to borrow a cracking pony so that i can hack out with DS tomorrow (and not trail him round in my trainers!) so that's a first step back into the saddle.

OP posts:
bonzo77 · 15/06/2013 15:12

I've never owned a horse. But have done shares and really cannot go back to riding schools. The formality, the supervision, the lack of freedom, just not for me. Now with 2 small children, very little spare cash or time, riding schools and sharing are not practical. I happened to chance on someone with four fabulous, sharp horses who lets me ride any of them whenever I want in return for a few quid when I have it and doing a few chores. The only downsides are that there's no school or on site access to lessons, and the horses compete so are unavailable when they're at competition.

pleiadianpony · 15/06/2013 19:51

Find a share or a loan. You will get frustrated with Riding School. Last time i went to a riding school, I had the joy of spending 25 quid to basically school someones horse. ..I've got a horse to share if you like!!

OldRider · 15/06/2013 22:25

I would like to defend riding schools too. I have been a horse owner, had an accident and totally lost my nerve. After a few years 'off' I missed it so much I booked a lesson and haven't looked back. I started on a cob I had to kick to move forward and am now on a lovely whizzy 14hh pony! It has taken a long time...I had private lessons to start with but am now in a class with 4 others. Our teacher is wonderful and gets us to do just that bit more than we think we can do. Lots of laughs when we go wrong, and I know I can graduate to a 'better' horse when I am ready..or back to a steady Eddy. I now have none of the heart ache and anxiety of being a horse owner, no vets bills, and have learned so much from riding lots of different horses and certainly works for me. I must add that I have tried a few riding establishments, and they do vary with quality of equines lessons so it helps to shop around. Good luck.

dappleton · 17/06/2013 12:34

Hope you had fun riding the pony over the weekend.

I have owned horses, then just rode at a RS then went back to owning when circumstances allowed. I've enjoyed it all. The key to riding at a RS is to find a great teacher, I went to 3 schools before I settled on one with a fantastic teacher and a horse I clicked with - one school was overly safety concious and you couldn't do anything, another (supposedly very good RS) had lessons taught by a teenage girl with less experience than me and finally I found the RS I was searchng for, they taught me so much in the 2yrs I was horse-less and I applied it all to schooling the new horses I now own. Well worth it.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.