Learning to Ride a Horse is on my Bucket List

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cat nap cat nap do you think you'll sign up for lessons soon?

I'm wondering if riding schools provide vests? You may have to purchase your own helmet.
Hi Furballsmom Furballsmom ...no not yet.

The weather here is still kind of cold. It was warm and sunny for the first and second weekends in May, but now has gone down to about 14*C (57*F) as the high, and half of that as the nightly lows,..plus more cloudy than sunny. Rainy weather.

I'm thinking I want to do the lessons in the warmer months, and definitely outdoors.
But then again, ground work would probably all be done indoors,..so I guess my first steps should be to actually find a few stables, for lessons, and drive to them, and just take a look.
(With me, it's all going to be 'baby steps'...I think.)

Not sure about if the riding schools provide any equipment for beginners, or trial periods, but it does look like most require boots with 1/4 or 1/2 inch heels, and yes, helmets, too.

So far, I've been watching some youtube videos, and find the ones by Chris Irwin (horse whisperer guy) that S silent meowlook mentioned,..very, very, interesting and fascinating.
Of course they are for established and experienced riders, but still the different horses, saddles and riders are amazing to watch.


I don't actually see any 'cat-like' properties...in any of the horses, at all, so I guess I'll take hybriseris hybriseris and Norachan Norachan 's word for it.
I think they may be seeing things, in horses, with the ears and tails,...that are just too fast for me to notice.
I keep looking at the legs, muscles, and head, and not necessarily the ears.

I did have a few more questions, if anyone can answer:

1) What is the difference between English riding and Western riding?
Is it the saddle, and the way you use your legs and body, with a horse?
Which one is easier?

2) How much leg work, are you actually using, to ride a horse,...and is it true, that at first, you will be sore from finding out you have muscles that you never knew you had?

3) For those of you who remember doing 'ground work'...was it a 'gradual process' with the same horse?
Until a person becomes comfortable near the horse?
 

hybriseris

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I'm thinking I want to do the lessons in the warmer months, and definitely outdoors.
But then again, ground work would probably all be done indoors,..so I guess my first steps should be to actually find a few stables, for lessons, and drive to them, and just take a look.
Groundwork can absolutely be done outdoors if you feel more comfortable starting to learn with handling! I would call first and ask for a tour/info about the lesson program, and specify you'd like lessons on handling the horses first. Any good barn will be happy to hear your thoughtfulness!

(With me, it's all going to be 'baby steps'...I think.)
Hey, like you've said to me a dozen times - baby steps are okay, and going slow is key. 😄

Not sure about if the riding schools provide any equipment for beginners.
Most schools will provide some helmets for your first few lessons, but if you stick with it it's of course best to buy your own so it fits your head perfectly. I love Ovation helmets for a first time schooling brand. I wear a OneK which is fitted with MIPS technology, but that's not necessarily required.

1) What is the difference between English riding and Western riding?
Is it the saddle, and the way you use your legs and body, with a horse?
Which one is easier?
English and Western riding has a different saddle, you use the reins differently, and your position is often a little different. They historically come from different traditions. English riding is based off of European military movements (dressage) and historical events like hunting and pleasure riding. The saddle is smaller and "closer" to the horse, and you always ride with both hands. Western riding comes out of North American cowboy culture. The saddle is larger, and some horses are trained to neck rein (use one hand) or both reins. I would say one isn't easier than the other, but a lot of beginners feel more comfortable with Western because there is a horn on the saddle you can grab if you feel unsteady! Little bit of extra security. Most people seem to start with one or the other and then stick with what suits them best based on comfort and goals.

2) How much leg work, are you actually using, to ride a horse,...and is it true, that at first, you will be sore from finding out you have muscles that you never knew you had?
It is ALL in the leg and "seat" (butt). Riding is 90% leg and seat aids, and 10% hands. I spent a full month not being allowed to touch my reins as a junior rider, and there was many a time I had them taken away again if I was relying too much on my hands. A horse can feel a fly landing on their back, and the touch of your leg or a slight drop of weight in one hip will make them go, stop them, turn them, bend them. You can think of the reins as a way to "refine" what you're asking the horse for, but your main mode of communication is your legs and bum!

3) For those of you who remember doing 'ground work'...was it a 'gradual process' with the same horse?
Until a person becomes comfortable near the horse?
When I was a junior, there wasn't a huge emphasis on groundwork or teaching a new rider how to lead/move/"speak" to their horse. It was a lot of trial and error. Which is a shame because I could have avoided a lot if I'd been properly taught! I'd say go with your gut. You can discuss what you do or don't have interest in learning or feel comfortable with with your instructor, and work together to make it fun. And if you are having fun with one particular horse any good barn will accommodate that!
 

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I think they may be seeing things, in horses, with the ears and tails,...that are just too fast for me to notice.
I keep looking at the legs, muscles, and head, and not necessarily the ears.
Haha, fairly soon I'll be telling you you're not giving yourself enough credit, just like you tell me! But yes, it's hard not to look at the legs and head, just beautiful. A lot of the body language in the video you shared is subtle, and shows horses that are either interested in something, or calmly listening, so it's all fairly neutral. You'll learn to read them quickly, I promise!

If you're worried about annoyance/"back off", I attached a picture of a horse with their ears pinned. That's the hiss of the horse world, and if you don't listen it'll become the swat! But horses aren't malicious and will give you ample warning, and usually it's very easy to tell.

Here's a good video about general body language I like:
 

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Riding is all about balance, not leg muscles. So it doesn't matter if you have strong leg muscles or not. It is about the balance on top of the horse. You do need to have a strong core and an independent seat in order to ride well. Most important though is to be relaxed when up on a horse. Horses are very intune to body language and can feel the energy and emotions of people. So, you don't want to be near a horse if you are not in a good mind set.

Ground work is something that you always have to do with a horse. It is hard to learn to do it right but it is very important to the training and bonding with a horse.

Western and English are different and both equally as hard. There is no easy way to ride.

Chris Irwin is good but does overcomplicate things at times. I think I mentioned me and my mare filmed for his tv show pilot episode but were scratched when he couldn't fix her in 3 days. She didn't need fixing. She just needed understanding.
 

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Yay, horses! I own a horse, he's a 22 year old black tobiano American Paint Horse named Gambit. He's awesome and a lot of fun.

1) How old were they when they started? I started riding when I was about 27, I believe. 33 now! I definitely don't claim to be any sort of an expert, but I've taken Western lessons and know enough to do ground work and take Gambit on trail rides, which is all I really wanted. :)
2) How large/tall big are their horses? About 5 ft tall!
3) Has a horse ever stepped on them? Yep, several times. I didn't realize this when I bought him (neither did his previous owner), but Gambit is blind in one eye and was constantly stepping on my feet. The vet thinks he was always blind in that eye because he has no nerves in it and is completely comfortable with people on his blind side. I also got my foot stomped and kicked over by another horse. No terrible injuries, just some bruising.
4) Have they ever fallen off? Not yet, and I hope I don't!
 
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Yay, horses! I own a horse, he's a 22 year old black tobiano American Paint Horse named Gambit. He's awesome and a lot of fun.

1) How old were they when they started? I started riding when I was about 27, I believe. 33 now! I definitely don't claim to be any sort of an expert, but I've taken Western lessons and know enough to do ground work and take Gambit on trail rides, which is all I really wanted. :)
2) How large/tall big are their horses? About 5 ft tall!
3) Has a horse ever stepped on them? Yep, several times. I didn't realize this when I bought him (neither did his previous owner), but Gambit is blind in one eye and was constantly stepping on my feet. The vet thinks he was always blind in that eye because he has no nerves in it and is completely comfortable with people on his blind side. I also got my foot stomped and kicked over by another horse. No terrible injuries, just some bruising.
4) Have they ever fallen off? Not yet, and I hope I don't!
Thanks C Cataria ...about all this info. :thumbsup:
I had to look up what your horse actually looks like, since I have absolutely no idea, what a black tobiano American Paint Horse looks like.
Wow. They are just beautiful.
Feel free to post a photo of him if you like, since the ones online are all so different and unique. :)

With your horse Gambit being blind in one eye, when you actually do trail rides with him, do you have to be more aware of things on his blind side, or depth perception, or anything like that? Or since he's always had it, does he just compensate for it with his other eye, and you wouldn't even know the difference?

I really admire how the horse people here, take everything in stride, and kind of brush any mishaps off, like it's just, "another day at the office". (maybe horse people are a stronger bunch of people. idk. :blush:)

There was another question that I was curious about....(it won't apply to me, but I'm still curious about it.):

Do people choose their favourite breed of horse, based on what they have ridden before?
What I mean is, how does a person eventually decide on their favorites?

(With dogs, it's kind of easy to fall in love with a certain breed, or mixed breed,...so I'm just wondering how people fall in love with their favorite horses?) Size, health, habits, quirks, movements, etc.?
 
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Haha, fairly soon I'll be telling you you're not giving yourself enough credit, just like you tell me! But yes, it's hard not to look at the legs and head, just beautiful. A lot of the body language in the video you shared is subtle, and shows horses that are either interested in something, or calmly listening, so it's all fairly neutral. You'll learn to read them quickly, I promise!
Lol. It's different, though, with cat-to-cat intros...which are much easier when you videotape them, and watch them back.
Plus, at the slower speeds, the body language between cats...is very evident.
Cats can also be very dramatic, forceful, and silent at times, yet their eyes and bodies are so expressive...which is also easy to see in videos.

Thanks, for explaining the video I posted, though, since I didn't know it was neutral and subtle at all, and that the horses were calmly listening. Watching it back, helps me see what you mean.
If you're worried about annoyance/"back off", I attached a picture of a horse with their ears pinned. That's the hiss of the horse world, and if you don't listen it'll become the swat! But horses aren't malicious and will give you ample warning, and usually it's very easy to tell.

Here's a good video about general body language I like:
This is so good to know...so 'airplane ears on horses....means 'beware''....equals pinned back ears. :mad: :oops:

Thanks so much hybriseris hybriseris ..for posting this video. :)
I am so in love with her videos, right now. :blush:
She is such a positive and informative instructor...with a great sense of humour.
I hope I find someone like her.

Her horse Tucker is such a natural in front of the camera. I love the way Tucker...looks at the camera, and just knows the camera is there, filming him.
Tucker knows he's the star of the show.

The part where she mentions horse's snorting, and the horse's nostrils will be flared...at the 9:34 mark,...and then casually says, "well, okay, better get ready to fall off"...had me in stitches...since I love this type of attitude. It's like, "no worries, carry on".
Her positivity, and love for riding,...or teaching about horses and riding...really show through in this video.

I cannot stop watching them now. Of course, I've only now started with her 'funny videos' first...since they are a riot. :lol:
But I will move on to her more 'informative videos'...since they seem so helpful.
Thank you again, for posting the above video, and leading me into a 'binge watching journey'. :D :cloud9:
(better than any tv shows, that's for sure)
 

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Absolutely! :D This is Gambit!

gambit.jpeg


Honestly, Gambit does great, and I have had zero problems riding him with his one blind eye. I try to be a little cautious on one of the trails we go on because there's a ditch and I want to make sure he doesn't accidentally step into it when it is on his blind side, but that's been my biggest concern. Also, when I trail-ride with other people/horses, he prefers to have them on his blind side. Even when I walk him on the ground he likes me on his blind side, but he'll switch if I nag him.

I suspect a more experienced rider than me would notice other differences -- although I've rode other horses for about six months prior to getting him, he's really my first and only horse. Hard for me to know if he does certain things because he's half-blind or if he does them because he's Gambit. :D Funnily enough, two owners prior to me used him for jumping lessons!

My favorite horse is the Gypsy Vanner. I went to the Kentucky Horse Park once (before I ever got a horse) and they had a showing of different breeds and I thought they were just gorgeous! Admittedly, I know nothing of their personality, I just loved the one I met and looking at them in pictures. Gambit is the same color as the Vanner I saw.
 

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...I've been trying to figure out how to answer the question of my fav ... I'm a total horse nut, I don't think I can pin it down to one breed lol
 
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Absolutely! :D This is Gambit!

View attachment 421013

Honestly, Gambit does great, and I have had zero problems riding him with his one blind eye. I try to be a little cautious on one of the trails we go on because there's a ditch and I want to make sure he doesn't accidentally step into it when it is on his blind side, but that's been my biggest concern. Also, when I trail-ride with other people/horses, he prefers to have them on his blind side. Even when I walk him on the ground he likes me on his blind side, but he'll switch if I nag him.

I suspect a more experienced rider than me would notice other differences -- although I've rode other horses for about six months prior to getting him, he's really my first and only horse. Hard for me to know if he does certain things because he's half-blind or if he does them because he's Gambit. :D Funnily enough, two owners prior to me used him for jumping lessons!

My favorite horse is the Gypsy Vanner. I went to the Kentucky Horse Park once (before I ever got a horse) and they had a showing of different breeds and I thought they were just gorgeous! Admittedly, I know nothing of their personality, I just loved the one I met and looking at them in pictures. Gambit is the same color as the Vanner I saw.
Gambit is gorgeous !! 🥰
He has such beautiful markings, and that mane and tail...wow. :loveeyes:

Gambit sounds like he will do everything you want him to. :thumbsup:
He sounds like such a cool horse.

(I don't think I've noticed black and white horses, as much as I've noticed black and white cows, while driving through the countryside, and farmland. Now I'll try to keep my eyes on the lookout. Hopefully, I'll notice more. (southern, ontario, canada)
(Being a 'city person' has it's drawbacks, and when I was young, I did tell my parents that I think they should buy a farm, but I'm not a 'morning person,'...so they told me that it wouldn't be so good for the animals, if I couldn't get up with the birds, early enough to feed the animals. Ahh well, I think when we were all small kids, things seemed easy.)

Thanks for posting the photo. :)
And also mentioning the other type of horse, the Gypsy Vanner.
Huge. But yes, still pretty...and apparently gentle, too. (had to look them up...talk about one flowing mane.)
(reminds me of those large draft horses, Clydesdales, that pull the beer wagons)..because of size and strength.

...I've been trying to figure out how to answer the question of my fav ... I'm a total horse nut, I don't think I can pin it down to one breed lol
That's okay. Liking them all, and not having any particular favourites is fine. :thumbsup:
Being a 'total horse nut'...is fine, too. lol. :lol:
 
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