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Old hand restarting after years out. Advice please!

12 replies

MyBeloved · 24/06/2018 17:38

I used to have my own pony from the age of 11 to 16, but have not ridden since. I am desperate to get back in the saddle with a view to share loaning once I feel confident enough but am worried I'm going to cripple myself in the process - it's been well over 20 years Grin

Any advice as to how to plan my re-entry into riding in the gentlest and least damaging way possible?

Thanks in advance.

OP posts:
Rollingdinosaur · 25/06/2018 09:57

There is no easy way. You just need to get on and get some lessons and accept it's going to hurt. Grin

It will be worth the pain though.

ExConstance · 25/06/2018 10:10

I have a little experience of this, and this year resolved to get back in the saddle and enjoy it. I've been going on the BHS scheme HOOF course at m local riding school, this is especially for lapsed riders. I'm now just about ready - and have enough confidence- to move up a bit, though I'll miss the lovely people in my present group.
The thing that helped my confidence enormously was going on the "Lady Anne Trail" holiday with Stonetail riding in the Yorkshire Dales. There was a group of 5 of us, all a little nervous. Alison who runs the centre gave us all so much help and advice that the nerves that had bugged me for years simply went away. The horses there are mainly Fell and Dales crosses, very kind and friendly and totally not the types to tank off with you, yet still pleasantly forward going.
I'm 62 this year so it really is now or never for me.

ExConstance · 25/06/2018 10:11

Sorry "Stonetrail"

maxelly · 25/06/2018 12:53

Welcome back to the world of horses, I'm sure you won't regret it (though your muscles and bank balance may say otherwise). I'm sure you'll regain the knack in no time having ridden regularly as a child.

I definitely think some lessons at a good riding school are the best way to start, after that the world's your oyster, riding holidays, riding clubs, a loan/share or even your own horse or pony are all options!

The most important thing is to pick a good riding school for your initial lessons. Start with the British Horse Society (BHS)'s list of approved schools on their website. Ideally you want a school that is large enough to cater for adult beginners, but not so large you just feel like a number to them. Some smaller schools mainly deal with children so will only have a few horses suitable for adult novices, and/or will stick you in with the tots for your first classes, not good! A place that runs an specific adults returning to riding course as Constance describes is ideal as you can make friends with your group this way too. But otherwise a 'package' of private lessons starting off on a lunge or lead rein and building up to walk, trot and canter independently and then perhaps progressing to group classes would be fine. If you don't mind posting where in the country you are posters here might have a recommendation for you?

I would highly recommend you visit a few schools before making your selection. Personally I don't mind if the place isn't super-smart, slightly muddy ponies, scruffy tack and flaky paintwork are par for the course at many excellent schools, but the animals should look happy and well-cared for, and the tack and general condition of the yard should be safe. Try and observe a few lessons and see how the instructors interact with the clients - it's important to find an instructor you get along with and not all instructors, however well qualified, have the gift of teaching beginners!

All the best with it OP...

pinkpolo · 25/06/2018 15:15

I've just started adult beginner/return to riding group lessons at a local riding school (North West). I've actually been a "happy hacker" for years (took on rescues during this time) and having just bought a 4 year old, I thought I'd better scrub up on my schooling ability so I can help my DD out!

I absolutely love my lessons, although I didn't think I would. The school is relaxed yet professional, and the instructor really understands what it's like to be nervous/lack confidence etc. Being part of a group really helps as everyone encourages each other. I ride a lovely 14.3 chunky cob so I don't feel overwhelmed, and he can carry me fine (5ft 7).

Hope you enjoy your return to the equestrian world! I couldn't be without it, I wouldn't know what to do with myself 😊

pinkpolo · 25/06/2018 15:18

Forgot to add, I also do a Pilates class once a week to help with core strength for riding. Good luck!

Retrainingaracehorse · 25/06/2018 15:37

I went back to riding three years ago after a 12 year break originally so that I could ride when on holiday! I actually went to a “large” riding school which trains to the highest level as I was a pretty competent rider and wanted the opportunity to have top instruction on advanced schoolmasters. I never felt like a number it’s a family run centre and everyone in very friendly. I swore blind I’d never own again, too much heart ache, but after while I started looking for a share found one but it just wasn’t really working for me so I decided owning was the only way forward now ..... welllook at my user name I’m still at the same yard.
What surprised and relieved me is how quickly everything came back, by the end of the first lesson I was almost back to where I was when I stopped. Two or three lessons in it’s was if I’d never stopped.
As the cliche goes “we only have one live it”.

ExConstance · 25/06/2018 16:09

Oh, yes, general fitness does help. I do yoga bootcamp and weights and this time round I've found I have not had so much stiffness and muscle ache after riding.

MyBeloved · 25/06/2018 17:24

Thanks for all your replies everyone! I live rurally and there's a nice little equestrian centre down the road from me. Visited yesterday and the people are veey friendly there.

I might book some private half hour sessions to begin with - do you think this is a good idea?

I like the sound of the HOOF course though so will look into the nearest centre to me that offers it.

My inner thighs are already aching just thinking about it Grin

OP posts:
ImBrian · 29/06/2018 06:47

I’ve done almost the exact same thing. I had riding lessons/a pony from 8-16 and then didn’t ride for years. At the beginning of last year I deceived I wanted to ride again so had a couple of lessons and the bug well and truly bit. Within a few weeks I bought myself a quiet happy hacking type thinking that’s all I’d ever do and then realised that’s I loved jumping. So after 8 month I got a new horse and were now out competing and hope to affiliate. It’s been a brillliant year Grin

SaltySeaBird · 29/06/2018 07:06

I’ve been considering the same thing! I had my own ponies as a child and a horse until I was 30. I competed on him to a fairly high level when I was in my late teens, stopped when I went to uni but kept him, evolving through to being happy hackers. He wasn’t an easy horse and at some point I rather lost my confidence and became quite nervous. It’s been 15 years out the saddle and I’m wondering if I could get back into it and regain my confidence - some great tips on this thread!

iveburntthetoast · 29/06/2018 12:42

I was in a similar situation to you when I returned to riding a couple of years ago (aged 40). It was because DD1 had started lessons I don't know why I didn't think about doing it earlier. It took me a couple of lessons, but I got back into it quite easily, except that I'm far more nervous when it comes to jumping than I was as a teenager! I'm having some private lessons at the moment to try to get over it. It's daftI can do it, no problem. But I get so worked up about it & don't know why. Confused

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