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The tack room

Returning Rider Lost Direction

17 replies

LostRider · 07/06/2023 16:53

Hi thought this would be a good place to talk. Im an adult returning rider nearing 30 (previous rode from age 5). I've been back riding for a year and a half and found a share (had for 1 year). I feel like my riding has no direction and due to the way the arrangement is, last minute changing of days etc. Its hard to arrange any consistent lessons (arena is small so have to hire nearby in advance). I have been lucky to have the chance to enter a local show and 30cm jumping comp which went great but now the owner seems reluctant to letting me do more than hacking (in company - the horse naps alone) and pottering in the small school which is getting a bit dull. I went to look at a different loan horse which I had no control over (needed riding with seat only) and ran away with me and now I feel like maybe I would get more enjoyment going back to a riding school ...

OP posts:
Lastqueenofscotland2 · 07/06/2023 17:26

Honestly that share arrangement sounds rubbish.
I’d look for a good riding school and discuss with your instructor your goals and try and work toward that within a set timeframe

maxelly · 07/06/2023 19:03

Yes it does sound as though the share is maybe not working for you any more, tbf a lot of owners will prefer you to hack and do light schooling mainly but even within this you should have goals and aspirations for yourself and the horse and be able to have lessons from a good teacher to help achieve this. I think the ideal would be a share at a yard/with an owner that's better set up for this e.g. facilities to easily have lessons on share horse but failing that lessons at a good school would be next best. But do choose your school carefully, there are excellent ones out there but loads of mediocre places and so many really aren't set up for adults once you're out of the absolute beginner phase, or they do have good horses and teachers will make you 'prove yourself' with weeks on end of expensive lessons doing circles on a kickalong cob before you 'unlock' the good stuff which can make you feel as though you're going backwards. It's worth shopping around to find somewhere that suits you and perhaps being willing to travel further afield...

twistyizzy · 07/06/2023 19:59

To echo what yhe others have said, it doesn't sound like this is the right share for you. 100% go back to a riding school for lessons while you find another share but also choose your school carefully and make sure that they are able to push you to develop your riding. When looking for your next share make sure you are picky so that it matches what your ambitions are, explain this to owners up front to ensure a good match and so that they understand what you want to get out of it from the start.

However remember that someone a riding school would class as being an advanced rider will not be as capable at riding a privately owned horse as they are generally more sensitive and you have to adapt your riding to suit them rather than them figuring out what you are asking them to do.

Keep going and remember you never stop learning or needing lessons, after 35 years I'm still learning and still having lessons even though I compete and am pretty competent. The more you know the more you realise you have a lot to learn 😁

LostRider · 08/06/2023 09:55

That was the issue with the first riding school I was at, once I got a basic understanding I was paying £30 a pop to canter in circles and trot serpentines for 30 mins. There is another potentially better set up school further away. Im tempted to drop down days so still get some horse cuddles in as it can be jarring how you just hand them back after riding no grooming etc and the try some lessons there aswell. I absolutely would class myself as a confident novice and have much to learn so very much missing the instruction and want to improve so I can one day ride the horse who needs only riding with seat or something more forward (and core muscle to build!)

Other option would be to buy but I don't feel quite there yet and know how horses have a habit of taking over your life (every day in winter mucking out)

OP posts:
Lastqueenofscotland2 · 08/06/2023 10:15

Honestly I wouldn’t buy now.
I’d go to the better school further away even if it meant less frequently and get a plan in place with an instructor to say, jump a course, go XC or do a decent prelim test etc

AnonyMenOhPee · 08/06/2023 10:18

I would find a riding school but I would find one that lets you tack up / untack your horse and spend time grooming it if that’s what you want to do. I used to do it at my old school when I was riding

twistyizzy · 08/06/2023 10:22

LostRider · 08/06/2023 09:55

That was the issue with the first riding school I was at, once I got a basic understanding I was paying £30 a pop to canter in circles and trot serpentines for 30 mins. There is another potentially better set up school further away. Im tempted to drop down days so still get some horse cuddles in as it can be jarring how you just hand them back after riding no grooming etc and the try some lessons there aswell. I absolutely would class myself as a confident novice and have much to learn so very much missing the instruction and want to improve so I can one day ride the horse who needs only riding with seat or something more forward (and core muscle to build!)

Other option would be to buy but I don't feel quite there yet and know how horses have a habit of taking over your life (every day in winter mucking out)

Definitely don't buy at the moment until you have progressed with your riding and you have taken stable management lessons.
A good BHS yard will progress you especially if they offer the BHS Stages as you can work up through them with an instructor.
You could also look at doing a horsey holiday week at a good yard to combine a holiday with riding, these are great at pushing your riding forwards as they mix hacking with formal riding lessons + stable management lessons.
Horses 100% do take over your life: you have to see to them on Xmas Day, every day of the year etc and that doesn't even touch on the cost 🤣. They are definitely a lifestyle: I get up at 5am every day to do mine before work and then I'm back after work every night.

PJRules · 08/06/2023 10:23

Definitely a different share. Could you do a full loan instead? I'd expect you to have more autonomy with a full loan.

Have more of a think about your aspirations and make this clear when looking at horses. Most horses suitable for semi_serious competition will already be doing that with their owner and won't be available, although might be some available due to maternity or going to uni etc.

Can you find a riding school which is also a riding club and you have an opportunity to compete their horses? Then you can have lessons with a goal and probably be paired with a particular horse or two.

Polkadotties · 08/06/2023 10:42

If you can afford full livery then you could buy one now. Or do part livery where it’s 5 day full and then DIY at the weekend.

horseymum · 08/06/2023 10:52

Doesn't sound like you are quite ready to buy yet as any horse will take advantage of a novice. Maybe going back to a riding school where you can ride a variety of horses would help if you can find a good one. Maybe having some defined goals would help too eg you said you have done a 30 cm jump course, what about a 50 cm course in canter, changing legs in correct places or an intro BD dressage test with 65 percent. If you stay with your share horse you could do dressage anywhere tests to give yourself a focus. Maybe buy a couple of horse magazines to improve your horse care knowledge and work on some different exercises. You could work towards some BHS horse care tests. Enjoy and hope you are able to get out of the rut. If you are looking for a great place to go for a few lessons I would suggest Ingestre.

LostRider · 08/06/2023 10:55

Thanks all.
I've just contacted the riding school to see how well they can accommodate for adults, they seem to have in house dressage, jumping arena and a cross country field see if this satisfies my horsey needs first, they're going to get back with availibility. I think full livery would be a stretch on my budget with all the extras, saddle fitters, farrier, physio then lessons on top.

I will keep an eye out for another ideal share, but it seems to be either a plod for hacking/schooling or full on competition quirky horses that no one wants to get on around me

OP posts:
twistyizzy · 08/06/2023 11:03

@LostRider that does tend to be the problem with sharing options unfortunately but hang on in there, a new riding school may bring new opportunities.
Ingestre as per previous poster suggested is excellent and I'm sure they do horsey breaks that you can tailor to suit you. Also Freerein in Wales do great hacking trips, we've done it twice and loved it! That would really help develop you as a rider.
Even for DIY livery you are looking at around £500 per month inclusive of everything + livery fees. I budget 7K per year and that barely covers it all.

horseymum · 08/06/2023 11:04

Sounds like it would be great if they have those facilities, you can get a bit of experience for a few months then look at another share. You might make contacts there. All my shares have been through friends.

Welliehead · 08/06/2023 11:08

I rang a few riding schools and said my goal is to go xc. Eventually I found one, it took 6 months of lessons over the winter but because I'd made it very clear what I wanted to do then we all had that in mind. I did a 60cm hunter trial in March just before all the rain and had one stop but apart from that it was one of the best things I've ever done.

Unbridezilla · 08/06/2023 11:09

You need a better riding school.

The one I go to pushes me all the time and I have goals which keep me going despite having been there years. They also have a range of standard riding school ponies and owner horses that are restricted to experienced rider lessons. I go up early, groom tack up and unpack at the end. It take a while of getting to know the yard staff & owners that I was allowed to do this though, they need to be careful for insurance reasons.

For me, I can't own, and previous shares have resulted in the owner having all the fun and me being restricted to just pottering so not really learning anything.

I'd look for a school with lots of adult riders (at mine there is 1 or 2 adult classes every day they are open), highly qualified instructors who also have a name for themselves outside of the riding school (but not necessarily just coaching: my best instructor is one who is also a equine physio, she really understands how the horse & rider should work together). I have to travel past a few other schools to ride there, but I don't care because it is so worth it.

LostRider · 08/06/2023 11:16

Yes I expect around £500 a month though livery is cheap in my area. In a way its been good for me having tried the inappropriate share - as I've realised there are important gaps in my ability/education. I mean, sure, there are worse riders on my yard who own but I want to learn to ride effectively and correctly. We have done one intro with a 64 score and use elements to create schooling but the owner does low level competitively this so is not an option competitively, also they aren't comfortable with the horse jumping higher. And I honestly would be most comfortable pushing myself with instruction to do this. Fingers crossed the school can fit me in

OP posts:
twistyizzy · 08/06/2023 11:18

@LostRider it is great that you want to work on improving and any future horse will thank you for that. Good luck with the school and hopefully you will find what you are looking for.

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