Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Just Thinking.....

How Complicated Riding Actually Is....

I was recently watching a video of a riding lesson and remembering how many times in my riding life I heard some of the same comments the trainer was making. Simple things on the surface: "Turn him off the outside rein," "Don't rush, take your time," "Bring your arm closer to your body," "Start turning there, don't wait so long," "Keep the rhythm."

Oh, and one of my favorites from my first excellent trainer, "Don't let him do that!"  She would often tell me how, but just as often let me figure out the answer myself.

Riding is a complex sport as I suspect most sports are. But there is the added complication of working with a partner who does not speak the same language we do. It's our job, as riders, to find and establish a common language to communicate what we want to happen. And, in many cases, we need to adjust that language each time we swing into the saddle. (Or in my case, clamber and thunk into the saddle.)

Every thing we do with our legs, our seats, our arms, our hands, and even our eyes, can make a difference in how a ride progresses. Our balance, or evenness, our weight and every nuance of what we do with our bodies in the saddle can make a huge difference in what the horse does under us.

When people hear that I have been riding for some fifty years and then mention that I am going to take a riding lesson somewhere, they might say, "You've been riding that long and you still need lessons?"

I'd like to reply, "Absolutely, but I'm studying for my doctorate," but I know that would be a lie. No matter how many lessons I've had, there's always something new to learn or something old to unlearn. And every good trainer I've met has a slightly different perspective on the best way to achieve my goals.

As I look forward to getting back into the saddle--clamber and hoist--I remain humbled by how much I still can learn about this sport of ours. I'm not sure if I will get back into the competition arena again--been there, done that forever and it's lost much of its allure--but I do know I will never stop training myself and my horses with each and every outing.

Once that doctorate degree looms on the distant horizon, it's hard not to pursue it.


  1. I tell people that it's both an Art and a Science.

  2. Anonymous12:41 PM

    That's one of the best things about riding and working with horses - we're never done learning, and learning how to pay attention to the horse and what the horse is saying in reply to what we say.

  3. Loved this post. We never stop learning and our horses never stop teaching us. It's such a give and take on both our parts and that's what makes it so interesting and fun. In my opinion anyway.

    Hope you're doing better.

  4. My trainer also says, "Don't let him do that!". My response is always, "I'm not letting him do it, he's over-riding me!" LOL

    I often have to explain to people that even the trainers have trainers in this sport, but I don't think they really get it. That's the attraction for me, though. I like that there is no final point, it's always a work in progress. If it were something I could master, I'd get bored pretty quickly!

  5. always amazes me the people who say, oh i don't need lessons i can ride......
    i agree with others, we all keep learning