Got back into riding

happygolucky

Male 30 London Suburbs
Jun 24, 2006
20
0
1
London Suburbs
Hi

I got back to riding recently after a huge break (10 years or more). This time I've put the effort in to have lessons weekly, which I'm currently have a 30 minute private at a small local stables.

I had my first fall at the start of December due to as the horse cantered straight at the arena wall and turned at the last second and I lost balance. I hadn't cantered before but was very much demanded/encouraged to use the stick, which spooked the horse. The issue is my left leg has either no strength or wont provide any power when giving aids, my right is stronger but also not that effective. I've regressed a lot over the last ten lessons or so, as the aids aren't working, the horse begins to do as it pleases, weaving and turning when it feels like it, which saps my confidence.

I'm now at a point where due to the fall, and having broken a bone in my spine five years ago - I'm extremely cautious, and I'm really wanting to avoid using the stick. My teacher is very old school and doesn't allow much room for excuses or perceived lack of effort. Each lesson has dragged my confidence down to nothing

As a last resort I've come back to this site on the off chance someone has advice or tips that may help? I've been looking at the simulator which I believe can be done at Wimbledon, but don't know how much this may help with leg aids?

Thanks in advance for any help
 
Hi, this sounds like a difficult dilemma. I would consider sitting down with your instructor if you haven't already done so, and explaining how you are feeling. Sometimes, though, one just doesn't click with an instructor. I've recently moved between instructors at the same RS, and have found one of them in particular overwhelmingly more empathetic both towards me and the horse. I haven't ridden on a simulator - I'd like to do so one day, but they mostly appear to have weight limits a few pounds under what I weigh... anyhow, I can't but think it would be an interesting experience, particularly given your physical requirements.

I also prefer to avoid using a whip, but it does have its place and need not be used harshly. Has your RI ever explained how to use it appropriately? I find that many riders have never been told how to use it.

Last (and as a former suburban London rider myself) I know it can be very hard to find a good school, horse and instructor combination. I returned to riding two years ago, having stopped in part from having lost my confidence from a fall at canter : my first canter back was unscheduled and rather terrifying. My canter has gotten slowly better, and although riding sometimes feels like one step forward and one (or more) back, progress is possible, particularly in areas like one's seat. If I could get to Wimbledon I'd also be attracted to their Equicise programme, or another form of exercise or body awareness tailored specifically towards riders, such as equestrian pilates or Alexander. I recently had a Feldenkrais for riders session, which I found quite beneficial for my posture and evenness.
 
Hi, this sounds like a difficult dilemma. I would consider sitting down with your instructor if you haven't already done so, and explaining how you are feeling. Sometimes, though, one just doesn't click with an instructor. I've recently moved between instructors at the same RS, and have found one of them in particular overwhelmingly more empathetic both towards me and the horse. I haven't ridden on a simulator - I'd like to do so one day, but they mostly appear to have weight limits a few pounds under what I weigh... anyhow, I can't but think it would be an interesting experience, particularly given your physical requirements.

I also prefer to avoid using a whip, but it does have its place and need not be used harshly. Has your RI ever explained how to use it appropriately? I find that many riders have never been told how to use it.

Last (and as a former suburban London rider myself) I know it can be very hard to find a good school, horse and instructor combination. I returned to riding two years ago, having stopped in part from having lost my confidence from a fall at canter : my first canter back was unscheduled and rather terrifying. My canter has gotten slowly better, and although riding sometimes feels like one step forward and one (or more) back, progress is possible, particularly in areas like one's seat. If I could get to Wimbledon I'd also be attracted to their Equicise programme, or another form of exercise or body awareness tailored specifically towards riders, such as equestrian pilates or Alexander. I recently had a Feldenkrais for riders session, which I found quite beneficial for my posture and evenness.

Thanks for your reply, my current instructor runs the school from a livery and there aren't any other around - its convenient as I can go on a lunch break once a week as its close to my office. Shes very archetype riding instructor, she bellows and has little empathy during the lesson so a different style may suit me, I need to visualise and break down everything to understand what I need to do, and her approach is very much get on and go and no excuses.

I may have to think about a change or approach in terms of school as per your advice in order to see if that helps my progress
 
This sounds difficult. Convenience is .. well, convenient, particularly if there's nothing else nearby.

However, I won't be bellowed at. I pay a lot for my lessons, as I am sure you do too (particularly in London). While I am happy to do as I am told by a professional who knows what they are doing (and who is responsible for my and the horse's wellbeing) that trust has to be built-up and it has to achieve results for it to be worthwhile, in my opinion. That's why I have asked if I can specifically book lessons with my new instructor, and won't be going back to the previous one unless the former's not available.

That's just me, though, and I wouldn't dream of judging the pros and cons of your situation. Many of us RS riders make these kinds of tradeoffs, just in order to ride at all. We just need to be careful it doesn't take all the enjoyment out of it, as well as our hard-earned cash! Have you explained to your RI about your learning style, though? She may not know how you prefer to be taught. Consider also supplementing your lessons with books and videos that break things down in the way that suits you.
 
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I would look elsewhere for lessons. If your confidence is dwindling then you need an instructor that is helpful in re building it. Some of my early adult lessons knocked mine and I stopped enjoying it for a while. I appreciate how difficult it can be to find somewhere suitable. Personally, I'd rather find somewhere less convenient and make a day of it at weekend (you mentioned going in your lunch break) if it means getting back on track and enjoying it.
 
Whereabouts are you based? There are a couple of liveries at my yard who travel in from London. If my confidence was taking a battering each time I got on, I’d be looking elsewhere. And it wouldn’t matter if I had to travel a long way for it.

I have 4 instructors, I use them for different things and they operate in fundamentally different ways.

RI 1. She was the one who nurtured me and gave me confidence. Made me feel safe, and believe I could do it. Not overly technical though. Fantastic at basic riding skill.

RI 2. Head coach at my yard. Think PT drill instructor. Incredibly direct. But by God I learn a LOT in her lessons when I occasionally have them. Once I’ve got over the fact I’m not being told off - it’s just her directness, I’m fine. Very technical, but I need that in small doses.

RI 3. Dressage instructor. I learned a lot in a couple of private lessons but in a firm, gentle, direct way. Again, very technical, but in a different way.

RI 4. Visiting dressage instructor, down to earth, lovely, memorable. Hilariously earthy language, but it makes me remember stuff!

All great instructors, all at same yard. I learn different things from each of them in a different way. :)

By far the biggest thing I did to gain confidence: loaned myself a horse for a week. I could then put everything the RI had been teaching me into practice in my own time outside of the lesson and practice practice practice. My riding got better in that one week - mainly my confidence actually rather than skill - more that the price of 3 lessons (£80 for a week’s loan of an ex-racehorse. I still love him, even though I have my own horse now).
 
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Whereabouts are you based? There are a couple of liveries at my yard who travel in from London. If my confidence was taking a battering each time I got on, I’d be looking elsewhere. And it wouldn’t matter if I had to travel a long way for it.

I have 4 instructors, I use them for different things and they operate in fundamentally different ways.

RI 1. She was the one who nurtured me and gave me confidence. Made me feel safe, and believe I could do it. Not overly technical though. Fantastic at basic riding skill.

RI 2. Head coach at my yard. Think PT drill instructor. Incredibly direct. But by God I learn a LOT in her lessons when I occasionally have them. Once I’ve got over the fact I’m not being told off - it’s just her directness, I’m fine. Very technical, but I need that in small doses.

RI 3. Dressage instructor. I learned a lot in a couple of private lessons but in a firm, gentle, direct way. Again, very technical, but in a different way.

RI 4. Visiting dressage instructor, down to earth, lovely, memorable. Hilariously earthy language, but it makes me remember stuff!

All great instructors, all at same yard. I learn different things from each of them in a different way. :)

By far the biggest thing I did to gain confidence: loaned myself a horse for a week. I could then put everything the RI had been teaching me into practice in my own time outside of the lesson and practice practice practice. My riding got better in that one week - mainly my confidence actually rather than skill - more that the price of 3 lessons (£80 for a week’s loan of an ex-racehorse. I still love him, even though I have my own horse now).

I'm based near Windsor, just on the m25 corridor. I ride in Maidenhead, but I can travel. I agree I need to move and will need to begin to look to find somewhere very quickly

My instructor is probably most like RI2 but because I'm a beginner I haven't seen the technicalities.. I'm analytical so I break things down in my head, if I'm being told about heels, I forget to look up, I accidentally shorten the reins, I guess I make those beginner mistakes

Unfortunately I can't seem to generate control with my legs and it progressively gets worse to the point if I try to move the horse to the edges of the arena, she just turns and goes back to the teacher... then the shouting and directness begins and confidence seeps out of me
 
I’m only in Reading. Windsor isn’t far. Can recommend my instructor and a great group lesson on a Sunday afternoon.
Also, my boy is working livery at the yard and he would look after you. Very well- mannered with a floaty trot and a canter like an armchair.
 
if I'm being told about heels, I forget to look up, I accidentally shorten the reins, I guess I make those beginner mistakes

Me too! Riding requires an extraordinary degree of coordination, between parts of your body with parts of the horse, and between the two of you as whole, thinking and feeling creatures. That's one of the things that's unique and special about it.

The good news, is that a lot of that coordination comes with practice alone, and eventually settles into your muscle memory. The verbal language (which is often rather obscure) then becomes a description of what your body just knows how to do. Yesterday, I found myself half-halting and asking for a transition without really thinking about which part of my body was meant to do what.

However, you do need a sympathetic and alert instructor to tell you when you've done these things! Being videoed is also a good way of tracking your progress, and so building your confidence.
 
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Dear all, are there any top quality dressage barns with FT or PT livery within 20 minutes of central London?
 
Hello @jduncanm . You may find you get a better response if you post a new thread, rather than attaching your question to an old one - this thread hasn't been active for 5 years. Also, can you be a bit more specific? Are you looking for a yard to keep your horse where the facilities are good (eg indoor school, lights, Olympic size arena), where tuition is available? When you say "20 minutes from central London" do you mean driving, and if so, what is Central London to you? Tell us a bit more and we can be more helpful :)
 
@jduncanm you might find it better to go on a dressage specific forum to ask this, or look at the BD website and see if they have details of yards or trainers. You may find it helpful to specify the facilities you want and the level you're at too,
 
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