Diary of Nic - The Nervy Novice

New Rider Nic

Active Member
Jan 6, 2015
138
100
43
47
Motherwell, Scotland
I’ve been lurking around here for a while…mainly in a quest to calm my nerves before my first canter a couple of weeks ago. I was a wreck just thinking about it

So, I thought I’d start a diary to keep track of my progress.

I’ve been having half hour private lessons since October last year & am absolutely loving it – although I’m pretty much equal parts excited and terrified. I’m 41, so I’m much more of a scaredy cat than I would’ve been if I’d started as a youngster!
But I’ve definitely got the bug. I’ve become completely obsessed with it.
I’m paying for my 8 year old niece, Mya, to have lessons too and she’s fearless, of course.

I kind of wish I’d started a diary at the beginning of my journey as it would be nice to look back on the build up to my first canter. I was completely petrified, totally over-thought the whole thing.
I literally had sleepless nights imagining me flying off the horse with the first Canter transition. But, my RI told me I was ready and deep down I really wanted to, so a couple of weeks ago, I went for it.

And I loved it!! :D

I’ve now had 2 full canter lessons & one where I managed a brief canter at the end. Which in reality means I’ve managed a canter around half the school about 10 times and the rest is a lot of stop/starts & wobbles.
But on my last lesson, I managed the whole lesson without holding the pommel. And I managed a couple of (very) short canters which felt smooth and my bum actually stayed in the saddle (briefly) those little moments are just wonderful.

I also lost a stirrup and almost slid off sideways on a corner at one point and then I almost went over my horses head when he stopped suddenly…but hey, it’s all part of the learning. :eek:

I struggle with stopping my feet slipping through the stirrups and have to make a conscious effort to really push my heels down, some lessons it’s better than others. I wonder if the fact I wear heels a lot makes it harder for me? I’m probably too used to my feet going in the other direction.

I have my next lesson on Saturday, so hopefully it goes well, every lesson gets a tiny bit easier and right now my aim is to at least manage a canter round the whole school soon.

But 1st I just need to keep my heels down and keep my legs on and sit up straight and…well, not fall off hopefully. :confused:

So, we’ll see how that goes…

Nic x
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trewsers and Jessey

squidsin

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2013
5,149
2,125
113
I used to wear heels all the time and now only do if I'm going out, and actually, I think you could be right about the stirrups thing!
 

New Rider Nic

Active Member
Jan 6, 2015
138
100
43
47
Motherwell, Scotland
So don't worry too much about holding the front of the saddle:)

Good to know! I'm actually a bit less wobbly without holding on. I find I tense up more if I hold on to the saddle. Although he ALWAYS canters on the wrong lead when he's going left, which has me feeling like I'm about to fly off :eek:

I used to wear heels all the time and now only do if I'm going out, and actually, I think you could be right about the stirrups thing!

I live in heels, so much so that I walk on tip toes without realising it when I'm barefoot at home, ridiculous! My OH finds it hilarious that my online window shopping has changed from sparkly high heels to horsey gear since I took up riding :D
 

New Rider Nic

Active Member
Jan 6, 2015
138
100
43
47
Motherwell, Scotland
So, today felt like the lesson from hell & it’s really flattened me. My confidence has taken a real knock.

I was on a horse, Dalton - I’ve only been on once before, my previous lesson with him was my first attempt at canter – but I couldn’t manage to get him to do it at all then.
I knew I might have trouble again, but this time I did get him cantering. BUT…everything else went wrong.

The whole lesson was stop start, couldn’t keep him trotting, he stopped every time I did a 20 metre circle, he fought with me when I tried to change the rein. He bucked and stopped dead all through the lesson. I kept almost losing my stirrups. I felt like I’d gone back to the start, in fact it felt worse than when I first started learning.

I’ve never had a lesson like this, even at the start. I had a different RI today and she said throughout that she knew it wasn’t a fun lesson on this horse but that it was important to learn on difficult horses. She said he was moody, stubborn and lazy but that I was also doing a lot of things wrong like not using my legs in the right spot and squeezing my reins too much when trotting and that other horses ignored these things but that he was more sensitive.

The whole lesson felt like a fight between me and the horse, there was no pleasure in it…other than the times I got him cantering, that felt great. But as soon as he stopped, it was chaos again.

I’m really hoping it’s just a one off bad lesson but I keep thinking maybe I’ve been kidding myself that I’ve made progress and it’s just been docile school horses being very kind up until now.

No lesson next week as I’m away on business but if she tells me I’m on Dalton again when I go back, I might cry! I’m really hoping I get a decent lesson next time that doesn’t feel like a battle. I need some confidence back again. Feel like a complete failure at the moment
 

joosie

lifelong sufferer of restless brain syndrome
Oct 28, 2004
7,001
2,994
113
New Zealand
Can I let you into a little secret? We ALL have rides like that, whatever our level of experience. Even when you have been riding for years and years you can't get everything right all the time, and there are some days when nothing seems to go right at all! Don't feel like a failure, you are not "kidding yourself that you've made progress" just because you've had trouble with this one horse. I have to say I do agree with the RI that it is beneficial to ride more difficult horses - I believe that every horse has something to teach us, and I have ridden a lot of different horses but the ones who taught me the most were not necessarily the ones I enjoyed! I know it's easier said than done, but try to put this lesson behind you and just put it down to experience. I'm sure next time will be better.
 
  • Like
Reactions: New Rider Nic
It's true it doesn't matter what experience you've got. Everyone has rubbish rides. Put it behind you. If you're on him next time either go in all confident and I can do this! Or ask for another you're paying them money. Whilst your instructor is right he will probably teach you the most. There's no point in damaging your confidence at this point.
 
  • Like
Reactions: New Rider Nic

New Rider Nic

Active Member
Jan 6, 2015
138
100
43
47
Motherwell, Scotland
So I had my first lesson since the nightmare lesson 2 weeks ago and it was much better.

Still working on the canter, if only I could keep it going but I keep pulling on the reins without realising it! As soon as I feel wobbly, I pull on the reins and then have to start all over again. I was on Hector, who is my absolute favourite, but I felt sorry for him putting up with all my mixed signals. My leg position felt much better this week, no issues with the stirrups slipping. Its definitely better on some horses than others.

Annoyingly, I felt a bit nervous about cantering again and a bit wobbly on corners, which I thought I’d got over, hopefully it’s just because I missed a lesson.

The private lessons are great with the undivided attention of my RI, but they just don’t feel long enough. I feel as though I’m just starting to relax and get into it when the lesson finishes. My RI is also very laid back, I don’t feel I’m getting much information from her, her approach seems to be just keep riding until it comes together.

There’s an adult class on a Tuesday evening and they’re apparently at the same level as I am. I’m thinking of joining that to get the extra hours riding that would give me each week. It would also be good to work with a different instructor.

Only thing putting me off is the fact that the rest are all teenagers! My confidence isn’t great as it is, I’m worried I’d feel totally out of place in amongst a group of youngsters.
 

Jessey

Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
24,362
14,772
113
40
Suffolk, UK
Re your last bad lesson, I don't think its unfair at this stage to ask not to ride the horse you find very difficult, yes he will teach you tons, but I think when you are first learning to sort yourself out at canter trying to keep a difficult horse going too is asking a lot, also if your hands have a mind of their own, you could ask for a lunge lesson so that you just have to worry about you not the horse at all :D

There are some RI's out there who get a bit less enthusiastic (shall we say) about getting the most from each and every lesson, if you like her methods and get on with her perhaps having a chat with her about what you want to aim to be doing by the summer for eg might help her re-focus on getting more from each of your lessons, having said that you are obviously very enthusiastic and there is a degree of 'hours in the saddle' when you are learning so perhaps that extra group lesson will be good, and remember there are no age gaps in riding (check out the 'How old is an older rider' thread) so it really doesn't matter if they are teenagers.
 

joosie

lifelong sufferer of restless brain syndrome
Oct 28, 2004
7,001
2,994
113
New Zealand
I think you may find that joining a group lesson will actually be quite good for you! Riding with other people is not only fun but can also be a great confidence-booster because you kind of pull each other along. It's nice to have company and moral support, and if they ride at the same level as you I don't think their age will really come into it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trewsers

Trewsers

Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
54,821
15,761
113
52
On an island
Totally agree about mixed age groups and riding with them. Some of the BEST times I've ever had were when I rode with a mixed bag of people and what a laugh we had! Plus it really boosted my confidence and as there was another rider similar age to me we could egg each other on.
 

sophie33

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
1,637
387
83
50
London
I spent over a year in a weekly lesson with teenagers and I learnt loads from it. I was probably a bit annoying for them - as the most nervous and novice in the class - but they put up with me without complaint and I really enjoyed it. And some of their mums came to watch and were about the same age as me so I had a good laugh with them!
 

New Rider Nic

Active Member
Jan 6, 2015
138
100
43
47
Motherwell, Scotland
Thanks everyone.
I know it would probably be really good for me, but I’m shocked at my lack of confidence. 41 years old and confident in the rest of my daily life – but when it comes to riding – I seem to doubt myself constantly!

I’m back at my private lesson on Saturday, so I’m going to find out the details of the group class and put my name down for it.

Nothing ventured and all that. I just have this fear of all these sprightly teenagers hopping on and off their horses with ease and me hauling my old backside on from the mounting block.

But it’s an extra hour of riding each week and that’s the main thing. The half hour lesson just doesn’t feel like enough. I’ve also had one lesson with the RI who takes the class when she covered for mine and I really liked her.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jessey

squidsin

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2013
5,149
2,125
113
I did BHS Stage One lessons with a bunch of 17-year olds. I am 39. It was fine, although one girl did cry if she thought she was riding badly - there are definite advantages to being an adult, such as not thinking the whole world is conspiring against you when things go wrong!
 

New Rider Nic

Active Member
Jan 6, 2015
138
100
43
47
Motherwell, Scotland
I had a great lesson with Hector on Saturday and was on a total high afterwards.

I managed my longest canter yet – twice round the school without holding on to the saddle. My RI asked me afterwards how it felt and I told her it was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Which is true, it’s the strangest thing – loving something so much even though it’s scares you.

I just need to work on my foot position, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep my heels down and the stirrups on the ball of my foot. It’s driving me mad! I feel as though my heels are down as far as they can go and then my RI starts shouting “heels down!” We did a lot of work without stirrups in my last 2 lessons, but as soon as I get the stirrups back, my toes are pointing slightly down. So frustrating.

I also asked them if I could help untack as with our half hour lesson the horses are always just brought out and taken away for us. So I did that too – I cannot believe how heavy a saddle is!!

I asked about the adult class and it’s now full unfortunately, but my RI is going to check their other classes and see if there are any at my level that I could join for some extra riding. Half an hour a week just isn’t enough. I wish I could ride every day!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jessey and Trewsers

Kite_Rider

Cantering cabbage!
May 18, 2009
10,048
8,079
113
I too did my BHS stage 1 with a group of teenagers, to be honest I never once felt 'old' or out of place in any way. The young un's were great fun and we all had a fabulous time, great to ride different horses too as we all had a different horse each week.
You should just get yourself into another class regardless of the ages of everyone else and enjoy :) as long as you are of similar ability I can't imagine it will be a problem.
 

New Rider Nic

Active Member
Jan 6, 2015
138
100
43
47
Motherwell, Scotland
Had a really good, but really hard lesson today on a gorgeous black & white cob, Pip. She was stunning, her mane was incredible - so long & her tail touched the ground. Just stunning! I've never seen such a pretty horse.[emoji7]


Although the long mane confused me a bit for a moment because I usually glance down at the outside shoulder to check my diagonals & I couldn't see her shoulder.


It was actually good for me as it kind of got me out of the habit so I was doing it by feel alone.


She was very reluctant to do anything but a slow walk around the school though, so I had quite a workout!!


Took the 1st 15 minutes of my lesson to get her into a really good trot without having to constantly use my legs. But once she got going it was fab! Managed a few canters as well. Short bursts down the side of the school as I couldn't keep her going. But what a canter!! It just felt wonderful, so smooth. It's amazing how different it is on each horse.


I was disappointed I didn't manage a long canter on her as once I got going it just felt like flying.

Very chuffed though, because my RI said she'd wanted to test me by putting me on her but I'd done better than her student who'd had her in a lesson yesterday & had been riding for over a year. Especially pleased as my RI doesn't give much feedback! [emoji2]


Pip was a complete sweetheart after my lesson, plodded along happily beside me & when I stopped to chat to one of the girls, she kept kind of leaning her head against mine & was doing this thing where she was sniffing my face & then kind of blowing on me with her nostrils. Probably completely disgusting to non horse lovers & I've no clue what she was doing, but it felt like she was getting to know me


I've also finally booked myself into an adult class on Tuesday night. I'm nervous as hell about joining a group, but it's an extra hours riding each week!


I'm dead excited but anxious about it. I have all these ridiculous thoughts like what if I'm the worst rider there? What if they've all got to know each other & I'm the middle aged one crashing their wee group.


Mental...I know...I seriously need to give myself a kick in the bum! I feel like the new girl starting school [emoji15]
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jessey and Trewsers

eml

Moderator
Apr 29, 2002
12,796
1,206
113
Leicestershire
www.ivanhoeequestrian.net
You will love riding in group. Horses are herd animals so tend to follow each other, ours watch and often copy the horse in front and cantering is therefore much easier than when you are on your own in the school as the horse picks up on the fact that others have cantered so even if our aids are a bit confusing they know what you mean!

I did all my exams in my forties ( second career!) and so got used to riding with teens/twenties. What they gain through bravery and suppleness they lose through lacking an older persons dedication/determination to succeed.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Jane&Ziggy Sid's diary Members Diaries 165
Jane&Ziggy Charlie Charles's diary Members Diaries 30
domane Picture Diary of a Horse-fly Bite Cafe 16
N Does anyone else keep a work diary for their horses? Cafe 18
Jessey Dan's Diary Members Diaries 83
sophie33 Lesson diary 2018 Members Diaries 61
Prjsmk PRJ and his human's diary. Members Diaries 13
Jane&Ziggy Ziggy's hacking diary: lots of trots Hacking 0
Jane&Ziggy Ziggy's hacking diary: miles and miles Hacking 6
Jane&Ziggy Ziggy's hacking diary: I am BAD Hacking 1
Jane&Ziggy Ziggy's hacking diary returns Hacking 3
SeeingSpots Diary of a Pony Squisher Members Diaries 46
chev My lesson diary 2017... Members Diaries 35
Native Lover From fat to fit ( A plus size riders diary) Members Diaries 122
chunky monkey Keeping a diary of your rides Hacking 4
P My diary Members Diaries 10
Skib Dressage Diary - Medium Trot Cafe 3
domane Date for your diary! Cafe 36
Jane&Ziggy The return of Ziggy's hacking diary - Roman Temple day! Hacking 4
Cremola Foam Pedro's riding diary :) Members Diaries 5
Skib Dressage Lesson Diary Members Diaries 41
Jacob Wright Jacobs' Diary Members Diaries 48
Jessey My big ride diary and the first of the pics Cafe 20
KarinUS The Single Rancher Girl's Diary Members Diaries 54
P Pete's Diary: FatBoy to slim ... Members Diaries 20
Jane&Ziggy Ziggy's hacking diary: all those hills! Hacking 2
Cortrasna Dolly's soundness diary. Members Diaries 27
popularfurball Diary of a pony on steroids Members Diaries 16
chev A diary of lessons and my return to riding. Members Diaries 44
Jane&Ziggy Ziggy's diary - out on the long reins - pictures! Cafe 4
OwnedbyChanter Food diary - one for all of us Cafe 123
R Driving Diary Members Diaries 2
joosie just put an important appointment in Mouse's diary Cafe 8
Tina2011 My giving up smoking, getting fit diary Members Diaries 21
mystiquemalaika Diet diary? Cafe 21
joosie Joosie's pony diary 2013 Members Diaries 33
B Ups and Downs-Diary of a Menopausal Old Witch Members Diaries 57
T The Dizzy Daisy Doodle Diary Members Diaries 3
Mary Poppins Bens weightloss diary Members Diaries 59
Jane&Ziggy It's been ages! The return of Ziggy's hacking diary Hacking 7
Dark Storm Missing chunk of diary Cafe 3
liz_scarlet The stink free diary Members Diaries 15
Jane&Ziggy Ziggy's hacking diary Hacking 2
sjp1 Flipo's mum - where are your diary updates?!!! Cafe 4
sophie33 diary of a nervous novice's lessons Members Diaries 89
Rips My sarcoid diary! Veterinary,Injuries and Therapies 14
Ex-racer Demi's Diary Members Diaries 6
K Ace's bringing back into work diary Members Diaries 17
Dizzy Woo Dizzy and Daisy's diary Members Diaries 265
sjp1 Come on FM - Where are your diary updates? Cafe 7

Similar threads

newrider.com