Whereabouts on the riding spectrum do you sit?


Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2009
There are so many different things we can do with our horses that give us pleasure, I think it must be one of the most versatile sports there is.

When I got Raf my only wish was to be a happy hacker and didn't know much about anything else, but I ended up with a YO that shows and have been pretty gobsmacked to learn what goes on - make-up, extensions, horses having their forelocks or tails cut off by rivals etc. YO travels far and wide to shows, stays away, spends a fortune on travelling, stabling, entry fees etc. Sometimes she comes back happy and sometimes disappointed because her pony 'wrong legged' it or the judge put inferior ponies in the line above better ones etc. TBH nothing I have heard about showing fills me with any desire to have a go (not that we could with Raf's sticky out toes!)

Then after getting Raf I saw a video of me riding him and thought, eurgh I better have some lessons, which kind of dragged me reluctantly into appreciating the benefits of schooling, enough to have a well behaved horse, even if I was 'just' hacking. After a while I got tempted to try some dressage and now doing a little bit of jumping. I find the dressage and jumping competitors varied - some are like me and just want to have fun and improve themselves a little and some are very serious and competitive - and very focused on having the 'right' tack and attire. On the whole I've found the jumping scene to be friendlier than the dressage, but that might be because the jumping competitions I go to last all day with the easy classes early on so I don't see much of the serious folks.

Then there's endurance - I think of that as being the 'hippy' side of the sport. Endurance riders seem to go out of their way to have 'alternative' tack and clothing. I feel a bit out of place with my normal leather bridle, treed saddle and riding boots, although I'm comfy and I think that's what counts? Anyway, endurance is the friendliest sport I've partaken in. I just don't feel the urge to compete, nor to do the long rides where you repeat the route, the whole point for me is to explore somewhere new and enjoy it. I've just got the WEG endurance on the tv and many of the riders have their heels up, hands anywhere - being a technically correct rider certainly isn't something to be worried about.

I've been away on a x-country camp and was rather over-awed by the very serious horsey folk there - I thought I was obsessed but they talked incessantly about conformation, breeding, rides and jockeys - I was definitely out of place with my one horse (and an Arab to boot) and just me to ride. Had great fun though, it was certainly an experience.

I don't know anything about Western (although I'd love to try cutting), racing, driving etc.

I'm just not sure where I fit in - I think distance riding would be my forte but that's something I haven't been able to try and never will unless I manage to reach retirement age in reasonable health!


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
Good thread! I first set out as an adult rider returning to lessons after a very very long gap (and even then, I hadn't had many lessons as a child / teen) I just wanted to hack. Well, what a throw away statement ! I find hacking difficult, because anything can happen and you can meet all kinds of things. I had regular lessons and began enjoying the dressage side, but then bought a bouncing connie that loved speedy jumping! Fortunately for me, OH obliged her jumping wishes and I only had to endure the odd session! Lol. I did enjoy the small jumps, and it did wonders for my confidence, but I don't think I could ever see us doing comps. Showing is not something that appeals to me personally, but, I do love to see smartly turned out show ponies etc and on my old yard there were lots of showing classes held and it was great to have a nosey and admire the efforts of people. XC is waaaaay out of my league and again I used to watch at old yard as they had a course and held comps, but I was under no illusions about my capabilities!
I guess on the whole I sort of sit / fit into the adore / live,breathe, worship horses category. But not a very good rider, just a very happy and easily pleased one. I'm not a competitive person in general. Just being around them is enough with a bit of easy riding thrown in.
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Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2006
Not sure where I fit either!!

I love a good funride, love hacking, love a bit of basic schooling, love doing some small jumps.

I would love love love to see an improvement enough in our schooling to take dressage seriously, but I honestly just can't see it happening.

We will never take SJ seriously as we are limited to very small heights due to Moëts old lameness issues.

We wouldn't do endurance either, just not our thing.....

Soooo we fit quite nicely into leisure rider/horse I think, I don't class myself as a horsey person either which is odd as pretty much all my interests and time is spent reading/looking at horse things!

Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
Visit site
We fit into the 'allrounder but at a very, very low level' category. We both enjoy jumping, and I am happy going round a 2ft course with the very occassional 2ft 3 fence. Ben is a very big heavy horse and I don't think that it is good for him to jump higher. We jump about once or twice a week, and go to a clinic or a show about once a month.

We attempt to do dressage but always come low in the placings. Ben has nice paces but fundamentally is lazy (which is why i love him!). I don't want to change him into a whizzy flashy horse - to me he is perfect as he is. I really enjoy being part of the dressage scene but spend far longer chatting than I do warming up. We just go for the social part really.

I do enjoy showing and Ben does very well in the showring. It's hard work but very rewarding when the judges say nice things about him. We have done 3 showing shows this year with another 2 planned for the next few months.

We have a private lesson every 2 weeks and also attend riding club clinics. We both enjoy the 'drill rides' put on by the riding club, and they also do flatwork and jumping clinics which we attend.

We 'hack' in our private fields and woodlands, but I will never find this easy. I have given up beating myself up about it. I am nervous hacking and cannot see that changing, but I think that Ben has enough variety in his working life for this not to matter. We have really big fields that we often have a good fast canter round, but this is as far as the hacking will go for us. I never understand people who say that they are 'only' a happy hacker. Do these people not realise how hard hacking is?

Other than that I spend hours and hours grooming Ben. I love being with him and we easily spend 3 times longer grooming than I do riding.


With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
Humm. I brought chanter to hack he was awful but amazing at dressage. When he would not do it anymore I got ginger. His flat is hit and miss but he is a great hack.

I love the challenge of flat work and the frill of getting some thing right and seeing us improve as a pair and then seeing that trust and partnerships cross over to jumping and even hacking.

He jump 70cm tracks now but only clear rounds for fun. We do dressage at novice which I love but don't ever feel like we fit in with all the big moving wb.

Endurance nope not for me nor le trec.

So not to sure but I know I love my boys and spend minute with or thinking about them.


Gracie's mum
Jul 31, 2005
Yes, I suppose I strive to cover everything under the "all rounder" umbrella. I'd love to progress clicker training with Albi. I'd love him to learn to do tricks and stunts (no rearing!), I'd love to teach him to drive (not a car!!).
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Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2004
I'd still class myself as fairly novicey - I'm confident to hack out and school more or less anything but my flatwork schooling leaves a lot to be desired. I'm a nervous jumper too, but id aspire to be an eventer. I just fall off too much!

Show jumping I'll happily jump Gem to about 75cm, providing it's not a stretchy tap 75cm. I also wouldn't jump that high at certain centres. If the course isn't too bad, I may even toy with jumping the 80cm this Sunday or next Sunday.

XC - I can drop into and step out of water confidently, do normal steps, and logs etc. but I prefer small fences, nothing too wide. Gems not confidence Xc either so it doesn't make for a nice ride really, but I do enjoy it.

My hacking is country roads into woodland (forestry commission) so I know I'm very lucky. I'm confident even on D to go for a w/t/c and pop a small log (bigger on Gem as she's older!) and do gates etc. D we've been cantering in an open field regularly and pulling up without an issue in company. Leading or behind.


Luso Loopy!
Sep 10, 2001
West Essex / Herts border uk
I love dressage, it's my "thing" but I haven't competed since 2008 when my girl started breaking down. I also jumped her up to small open (3'3")
I've started 5 youngsters since - two for other people, three of my own and I still can't bring myself to take one out no matter how good they are as my heart just isn't in it competitively anymore
So I have two youngsters now gone on - one sold on, one back to her owner the first one at prelim level of schooling the other at novice when they left.
As for my own three all bought unstarted or unbacked - I have one abused (Parelli / Clinton anderson style) horse that I brought as an unbroken prospective dressage pony that will never compete. He's too far gone in the head, they absolutely destroyed his mind. We are working at novice / ele tackless on a non escalating pressure / +R path
Then there's the allrounder who is awful on the flat but pretty nifty over fences and a fabulous unflappable hack. He's been a doddle to back and bring on, but I find him a little frustrating to school as he's very backwards and unbalanced compared to the usual hothead Iberians
The latest addition could be a dressage superstar. She is absolutely amazing, fabulous paces, very trainable and that fabby Luso mare 'tude but I am just not prepared to do the hothousing required to push her competitively.
So basically I have three quality horses I trundle around on at home :oops:


Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2013
I've only had Roxy 6 weeks so not sure yet! I'd like to do a bit of everything. At the moment, I am excited about getting out hacking on her. I want to do some local shows - showing doesn't appeal but I think me and Rox could have a go at most other things (she says confidently, I haven't jumped her yet as I've been too lazy to get the jumps out!) My aim for next year is to do sponsored rides and some dressage and jumping but until then, we'll probably just potter about, really.


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
I'm confident and enjoy riding but that's not to say I'm great at it :rolleyes: I've been going 30 years so unless I win the lottery and can afford to have some serious lessons I don't see that changing.
I do however like a challenge, so we will try anything we get the chance to, Jess has really excelled at the distance work, if I had transport I might even throw her into some endurance. I plan on teaching her to jump so we can go and play on the local XC, and might even try and take her out for some clear rounds, she's good at most western but we've had saddle issues so staying away from that for now. She will hold her own at low level dressage and a friend suggested I should take her showing so that might be a project for next year and I want to get out to some fun rides too next year.
All in all we are happy hackers who will have a crack at what ever we get the opportunity to but being porpers with no transport that not a lot at the moment, I do miss competing, more for the social side though.


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
I got Ziggy (and Mattie) to hack, and that's what we do, though I've never been on a longer hack than 12 miles or so. We'll do anything out hacking except jumping, because it frightens ZIggy. I'd love to do fun ride but with no transport I can't achieve much.

We have regular lessons and my riding keeps on improving. We'll do little local showing shows: we've entered two, and at the first one I got 3 rosettes and at the second one we came last in everything! It's just fun being out with him for the day.

I'm a very on and off rider, other things get in the way a lot. Ziggy is my pet really I suppose!
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Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
Is there a spectrum? I am possibly a Jack of all trades and a master of none. By that I mean unless I enjoy it, my horse enjoys it and its fun I doubt I will be doing it.

I often wonder if I had started riding at another school would it mean I would be a different rider, or, is it a bit like nature verses nature and you are what you are wherever you start. You slide into what you enjoy/are good at/what you ride?

I started hacking out which I enjoyed but that's all they did. So I moved to riding school that was also a stunt school, these days you wouldn't let an eager 13 year old do what I did. But I did gymnastics and was very persuasive!

I have dipped my toe in most things over the years, showing, dressage to music, jumping, fun rides, hunting, trec, mounted games, side saddle, fun classes fancy dress, handy pony that kind of low key thing.
I think I have done half a dozen camps, Pontispool twice.
Being on an ex racing yard I got to ride on the gallops.
I have ridden on the beach, on Dartmoor, just not been to town. :)
I am different anyway, more English/western hybrid. Let's face it I have a white bridle.

I think the horses in your life are your teachers and you may find yourself doing activities you hadn't even considered. If it wasn't for this lil guy and his bucking, we wouldn't have a website on saddles!
2013-02-22 19.37.00.jpg
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Owned by Ponies!
Nov 16, 2009
I pity bought womble as a field ornament. Now though we do a little bit of jumping and hacking and we're working on schooling me to help him.

Our goals have changed and he will be my pony for the forseeable, id like to be in the allrounder club. Jump a 85cm course. Make it round a xc course. So a few dressage tests to a decent standard.

Our yard does alot of horseball but you know, I doubt cob would approve of that in our plans.
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Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
I have included horses I have had on loan or ridden for others. I competed a friends in Trec, it was a great opportunity since I don't have transport.

Every horse I have met/ridden has helped or hindered in shaping me as a rider. I still remember the name of the first one who took off and threw me.


Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2004
Its interesting how everyone apart from me is only talking about their current horse/pony.
My previous horses just set me back, why should I include them in a niceish post... One was dangerous, the other a total idiot. The dangerous 1 has since been PTS by another owner.
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