How do I get more knowledgeable on horses? || Returning rider

yunaverse

New Member
May 17, 2024
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Hi! I'm new here, so I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but it seems like the most fitting area!
When I was younger (around 7-9), I took riding lessons very frequently and loved it. Unfortunately, I had things going on in my life and started riding less and less until I fully stopped. Over the years leading up until now I would occasionally go on a hack every one or two months, but I've never actually ridden 'properly' in forever. I feel so strongly about horses and riding, and it never seemed to ever fully leave my life. I'm 15 now and I've decided that I want to properly start riding again. I want to take lessons and learn everything from the basics. However, I really want to learn more than just riding. I want to learn about basic horse care and tack, etc. I want to be knowledgeable on the entire aspect of the equine industry. But here's the problem: I'm not sure where to really learn any of this? My riding school literally just sits you on an already tacked up horse, hosts the lesson and that's the end of it. They don't introduce you to the horse, teach you how to tack up or groom a horse. Does anyone know where or how I could get experience like this? Thank you!
 
Many riding schools will offer ‘own a pony’ days during the school holidays, where you do everything from feeding, mucking out, grooming, leading, tacking etc. for your pony that day, it’s definitely worth asking them if they will be doing that, bear in mind they may have a different name for it.
 
As well as @Jessey 's suggestion a lot of schools, particularly smaller ones, will have helpers. It's unpaid work but it does get you time with the horses and you will be shown how to do things. Or is there a local rescue charity or RDA group near you which would like some help? The work is never all horse contact - there's stable work and poo picking fields - but it's all an insight. As for being knowledgeable on the entire aspect of the equine industry, it's not going to happen because it's huge and very varied - a top class jockey would be a complete novice in top class dressage, an international show jumper wouldn't have much clue when it came to international endurance riding, and most of us would at best have only patchy theoretical knowledge of any high level discipline and certainly not the practical skills to apply it.
 
15 is a difficult age as you may be too old for regular Pony Club and their tests, but too young for the BHS Stage exams.
You best bet is to consult your riding school about "stable management lessons" and to read (or look things up in) the Pony Club Handbook. That is still my go to reference book. In my first year when there was no available class, I paid for two lessons. First on picking up the feet and ground handling and taking off and putting on a rug. The other on tacking up and grooming.
After that I helped out on a teacher's yard, unpaid one afternoon a week. It was very boring to start with: cleaning tack and filling water buckets. But I gradually did more and more.
 
Many riding schools will offer ‘own a pony’ days during the school holidays, where you do everything from feeding, mucking out, grooming, leading, tacking etc. for your pony that day, it’s definitely worth asking them if they will be doing that, bear in mind they may have a different name for it.
Thank you!
 
As well as @Jessey 's suggestion a lot of schools, particularly smaller ones, will have helpers. It's unpaid work but it does get you time with the horses and you will be shown how to do things. Or is there a local rescue charity or RDA group near you which would like some help? The work is never all horse contact - there's stable work and poo picking fields - but it's all an insight. As for being knowledgeable on the entire aspect of the equine industry, it's not going to happen because it's huge and very varied - a top class jockey would be a complete novice in top class dressage, an international show jumper wouldn't have much clue when it came to international endurance riding, and most of us would at best have only patchy theoretical knowledge of any high level discipline and certainly not the practical skills to apply it.
Thanks!
 
15 is a difficult age as you may be too old for regular Pony Club and their tests, but too young for the BHS Stage exams.
You best bet is to consult your riding school about "stable management lessons" and to read (or look things up in) the Pony Club Handbook. That is still my go to reference book. In my first year when there was no available class, I paid for two lessons. First on picking up the feet and ground handling and taking off and putting on a rug. The other on tacking up and grooming.
After that I helped out on a teacher's yard, unpaid one afternoon a week. It was very boring to start with: cleaning tack and filling water buckets. But I gradually did more and more.
Thank you!
 
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