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The tack room

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

86 replies

SeventeenTwoChestnutMare · 17/09/2017 01:57

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.)

OP posts:

Frouby · 20/09/2017 22:21

King you could have had her for 10 bob and a conker this morning. After previously been an angel she was 'difficult' this morning to lunge. Apparantly highlands have a stubborn streak. Yep. They do. She didn't fancy it today. Knew she didn't fancy it as soon as I brought her in.

She can have a day off tomorrow to think about things ๐Ÿ˜‚.

The trekking ponies are usually pure bred highlands to be fair. Garrons they tend to call them which means they are big, mainland types. The smaller, lighter types were bred on the islands to less resources to beef them up and the smaller types survived the harsh winters.

As a breed they are on the endangered species list, as at risk I think. But they do seem to be gaining in popularity as good all rounders so hopefully will stabilise a bit. The problem is that there aren't a lot of breeders around. My friend wanted to have her mare put in foal but couldn't find a stallion within 200 miles and AI was prohibitively expensive.

Lovely breed to have though. Would definetly recommend them despite her halo slipping slightly this morning.

squirrel if you don't eat or sleep you will definetly lose weight. And possibly height. Therefore you won't need a horse a pony will do and they are cheaper to keep. Win win really ๐Ÿ˜.

I really need to book a lesson or 2. Definetly. Just need to pluck up the courage and possibly double up on my jpiny supplements for a week or so first.


Squirrel26 · 21/09/2017 07:52

Good point! I'll be on a Shetland before I know it. Then he can live in the garden. Grin


KingLooieCatz · 21/09/2017 08:06

Don't think I'll be able to keep even a Shetland in the back garden, the people on the other flats might not be happy. They were a bit reticent when we asked if a climbing frame was acceptable, so a pony is probably pushing it.


Squirrel26 · 21/09/2017 11:25

Do it Frouby! I love my lessons. Turns out dressage is not a tedious waste of time that could be better spent charging around out of control at top speed, it's actually really interesting!


yikes76 · 23/09/2017 07:51

HI, how are you all? Who has had a lesson this week? How did it go?
Squirrel - I agree completely with you. I'm working on dressage and really enjoying it and find it interesting though bloody hard work.


yikes76 · 23/09/2017 07:53

Sorry sent the message too soon......

I had a really good lesson yesterday trying to get the horse on the bit. Managed to get him on the bit but keeping him there is a completely different story... Any tips?

Have fun!


Frouby · 23/09/2017 08:06

Morning all

Still haven't booked a lesson. But did sit on baby pony yesterday!

She was laid down when I got there so sat on her. Expected her to get up so had both feet on the floor ready to move but she just nuzzled my knee. So took feet off floor so had all my weight on her and she wasn't at all fazed.

So I did get back in the saddle. Except I didn't have a saddle. She also redeemed herself from her difficult behaviour on Wednesday. And am still clambering around at the side of her from my feed bowl mounting block.

A horse being 'on the bit' usually comes from behind yikes. So you need the horse working well through its back end. Lots of forwards impulsion without just going faster and faster. Nice soft contact through your hands, self carriage in front. So the horse shouldn't be leaning on the bit and heavy in your hands. But it shouldn't be backing off the contact either and going too light.

That probably makes no sense whatsoever. I can (or could) ride stuff but it's hard to explain to someone else which is why I am not a riding instructor. And why I can't teach dd. I used to end up physically trying to ride on an imaginary horse what I wanted her to do to think about what I was actually doing so I could tell her.

Anyone watching would have thought it was very odd.


ememem84 · 23/09/2017 08:10


I started riding again when I was 29 after falling when I was 11 and losing my nerve. I'm now almost 33. But have taken the last 3 months away from lessons as am due baby no 1 In a week. Am itching to get back in the saddle though. There's certainly something addictive about it!

In the 3/4 years I've been back riding I've been broken down started from basics and have been building up to jumps again. I rode once a week in a group with two other "oldies" and a few kids.

Hurry up baby so mama can start healing and get back on the pony!


yikes76 · 23/09/2017 08:28

Frouby - thanks for the advice. I get the whole impulsion thing. I think I need to get my legs stronger. It's was only my tenth lesson after a very long break. I was working on a 20m circle so had a lot to think about ;) I can concentrate on one thing and then something else isn't great. Think it will take time, patience and practice. Important thing is that I'm really enjoying being back in the saddle :)

ememem - I bet you can't wait to ride again.


KingLooieCatz · 23/09/2017 08:35

No lesson this week due to DHs shifts. Countdown on for next week's. I'm not sure I'd know if the horse was on the bit. Wish I could get 1:1 lessons, but the local riding school only does them while I'm at work.


Squirrel26 · 23/09/2017 08:58

My instructor often pretends she's riding a horse to demonstrate what she means. Sometimes she pretends to be the horse Grin

We were working on collection this week. OMFG my legs hurt the next day!


Frouby · 23/09/2017 09:02

yikes I will definetly struggle with strength when I get back on. I didn't realise how fit you were riding daily until I got back on after a couple of years break. You have to relearn everything as your balance goes as you end up doing pony club kicks rather than squeezing and riding through your seat bones.

Pilates is supposed to complement riding as it's based on core strength which you definitely need to sit well.

Trouble is finding the time and money to do everything!


Loosemoose28 · 23/09/2017 09:17

This is my mare.
Im 10 weeks pregnant and we have our last party tomorrow- endurance. Shes only 14.1 and I am already a size14-16 and the reality is I am only going to get bigger. Not sure when I will stop hacking but I am stopping jumping and fast work in groups from tomorrow. Hoping to find a sharer to tick her over but everyone is wanting school masters or plods, she is neither. So reality is setting in I may have to turn her away when I can no longer ride.

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

Frouby · 23/09/2017 12:20

Aww she is lovely!

Look at that little pink snuffly nose Grin.


Fireinthegrate · 23/09/2017 17:28

Here's my mare Florence. She is just over 15hh and I took her on loan last May.
I had had a 3 yr break because my daughter went to Uni and I didn't want to keep a horse just for myself, my daughter and I shared before that.
History: rode at an RS from 12 to 18. By then I had a job and bought my first pony, a 14.1 gelding. After him I bought an SJ mare. I had her for about 7 years and then fell pregnant with my first daughter so had to sell her.
I then didn't ride again for about 7/8 years, but I started my girls having riding lessons and went myself for a hack twice a month.
We moved to the countryside and happened to move right next door to a private livery yard! So a 13.2 pony was purchased for my girls and I rode him too. Eventually my younger daughter gave up, but the elder one was keen, so we had various ponies and horses, for PC, SJ and hunting.
As I said, when she went to Uni I had a break, but just couldn't keep away and now I have Flo. Her owner has just gone to Uni so potentially I could have her for 3 years.
I just like to hack. Flo isn't a plod at all! But is safe in most traffic. She can get a bit excited sometimes which I do worry about, but actually when I really think about it she doesn't do anything or go anywhere, just speed walks or dances a bit.
I think I need to stop thinking! But it's hard when you're 'old' not to think of the consequences if I fall off!
Anyway I'm enjoying reading other people's stories.

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

Frouby · 24/09/2017 07:52

Another lovely squidgy nose.


Squirrel26 · 24/09/2017 10:41

Aww, they are both lovely!

Totally get what you mean about 'consequences' of falling off. It's so boring having to be a grown up!


SeventeenTwoChestnutMare · 24/09/2017 13:55

Very happy to see the thread gathering pals.

yikes, regarding your post on the other thread, 10/10 for ambition. Start how you mean to go on, I say (attitude-wise, not so much the falling off Grin)

I was thinking about the challenge of equestrian French yesterday, having gone to sports store, Decathlon, to buy boots for myself and DD. Checking the reviews online, they're mainly in French, with some German. Google Translate is only so good. Nevertheless, j'ai une paire de bottes splendides.

The hats are more bother and will necessitate a tediously long journey to somewhere where they'll fit them properly. It's the one bit of kit it's unwise to take chances on and I'm not confident I'll get it right myself.

Frouby, your pony is gorgeous (as was your old pony - what a sweetie and how sad to have to say goodbye Sad).

Bless your little DS, he does look a natural. I'd love my DS (3.5) to start but where we're riding they won't take them until they're 6.

Your story was really interesting, and you clearly know your stuff so I'm sure we'll all learn a lot from you.

toast, wow, all that freedom! My early experience wasn't quite as exciting but still a degree of freedom that I suspect if I let my kids have now, questions would be asked!

Looie, The Pony Club Manual is a bit much for DD yet, so I'm reading it what a shame. It was somewhere-not-where-I-left-it the other day, so she's been reading too, but it's quite a lot to take in for a seven-year-old beginner and lots of new vocabulary. I would recommend it though.

Squirrel, I've been eyeing our suburban back garden lately. Just need to take out the bloody great yew tree and hope the council doesn't find out. (Just kidding, Southwark tree protection officer!)

I liked this, by the way:

Sometimes she pretends to be the horse

I am going to try to be the horse Grin

ememem, come back and let us know when you foal?

moose and Fire, you lucky things - what beautiful girls you've both got. I don't get much use out of this one, but > Envy

OP posts:

mateysmum · 24/09/2017 14:03

On Tuesday I have my first riding lesson for about 20 years! I rode every day from more or less 8-18 when I had my own horse and then kept it up spasmodically until DS began to take up most of my spare time.
Now he's fled the nest and despite DH thinking horses are the devil's work, I have decided to get riding again, so have booked a starter course at my local riding stables. I have rooted out my old kit. (joddies require a bit of a breathe in) as I don't want to spend a lot till I know if I want to continue.
In my head I still know how to ride to a decent standard - I suspect my muscles may disagree, but really looking forward to it.


SeventeenTwoChestnutMare · 24/09/2017 14:54

mateysmum, tomorrow morning I've got my first lesson (first riding, in fact) after 20 years. Let's compare notes on Tuesday evening!

In the intervening years, I've got quite disciplined about going to gym classes so have reasonable general fitness. I'm not convinced the inner thigh muscles riding uses get worked that much though.

One thing I have learned is that stretching is my friend, so I'll be scuttling home and doing every leg stretch I can think of.

It's interesting thinking about what you remember, or think you don't remember. DD was on her own at the end of her lesson yesterday, so I went over to help her dismount (she was on a relatively big pony and, from the look on her face, I could see she thought it was a long way down). Then I ran up the stirrups. Just a little thing, but a thing I'd consciously forgotten was a thing, yet still remembered to do. With any luck, there's more stored away where that came from because I'm slightly worried I'll struggle to mount.

OP posts:

Gottogetbackon · 24/09/2017 15:09

Angry I typed a really long post and it's vanished!
Basically I am gearing myself up to get back on my thug after not riding for 3 years due to confidence issues. I'm shitting myself!
In awe of all you ladies returning to riding - how were your nerves? Will try and add pics. Have my big lad and dd's well outgrown shitbag Shetland.

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

SeventeenTwoChestnutMare · 24/09/2017 15:23

It's annoying when that happens. I type my longer posts in a note on my phone, then copy and paste in.

He is a big lad! Difficult to tell exactly how big without knowing how tall you are.

How did you lose your confidence? An accident or just time passing?

I should feel some nerves, but the excitement is winning Grin

OP posts:

Gottogetbackon · 24/09/2017 17:42

Thank you he's 16.1hh so not massive but he's built a bit like an outside toilet with big shoulders and bum so looks bigger than he actually is.
It was a bad human relationship believe it or not, I've never been the most confident rider, and horse isn't the easiest but we got along fine. Ex sapped all my self confidence and horse was out on loan for a period of time and now he's back I just daren't get back on. I let it slide and I need to get back on asap because I love it and it will help me so much.
He's got a bit of attitude but he's no where near as bad as some of the nutjobs I rode as a teen.
I don't know if it's because the expectation has changed but when I was a kid all the ponies seemed to be a lot naughtier than they are now and there wasn't the expectation to school them out of it, it just was and you got better or got bucked off! Aaah happy days Grin


SeventeenTwoChestnutMare · 24/09/2017 18:00

Have you given handsome DHorse a hug and explained it all to him? You never know, it might help Smile

OP posts:

Frouby · 24/09/2017 18:24

Aww I feel your pain Ineed. One of the reasons I haven't sent dpony away for breaking is because when she comes home I would have to get on. And that seems more scary than doing her myself bizarrely.

How long have you had him home? Have you let him go flat and unfit? I would be doing that. Cut any hard feed out if possible, out at grass and drop his belly and then establish a working relationship on the ground. So lunge and long rein. Start him like a baby again, then start with a 5 minute walk around the school. And just take it really slowly. Can you stretch to a couple of lessons maybe? Either on him or a school master at a riding school.

And if he is too much or too thuggish remember it is supposed to be fun. Nothing wrong with selling or loaning out again.

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