Thursday, October 25, 2007

' Square One'

Maturity has its advantages, and now you have some well deserved 'me' time that you have earned. For whatever reason, you have decided to take up riding.

Whether you are a beginner who has never ridden before or a returning rider who rode as a child and want to come back to riding after years away, you may be wondering where to start. First, take the time to think what your riding preferences are. Do you prefer English hunter,jumper,equitation,pleasure or dressage? Are you interested in trail riding,hunter pacing or fox hunting? Do you want to compete or ride for personal enjoyment or fulfillment.

Gathering informative background on your desired discipline is a good first step. Search the Internet, research books in the library, and rent some videos. These are all good jumping off points, to get a basic knowledge about what is involved for the discipline you prefer. Keep in mind though there is no substitute for one on one training. Researching will provide you with invaluable insights, which may help you set the goals and achievements you want to accomplish with your riding.

In addition, stop by the local tack shops; they usually have newsletters and flyers with information about the barns in the vicinity. Ask for prize lists for up coming shows where you can be a spectator.

Take a few weekends and go to as many horse shows as you can. Horse shows are a perfect place to be unobtrusive.Watch how the trainers interact with their students and vice versa. Walk back where the trailers are parked, see how the horses are being groomed and prepared for show time. If you feel comfortable, approach someone and strike up a conversation, explaining why you are there, and ask questions. Most horse people love to talk about their horses and all things horse-related. This should be a learning experience where you can get an idea about what is involved interacting with horses. In addition, you will get a feel for which trainers and stables in your area you feel compatible with, and which you'd rather avoid.

You will also want to see if there are people near your age group competing, unless your greatest desire is to be in a show barn with pony kids or teenagers you might want to check out this aspect. Personally, I would prefer to be in a barn with a more mature crowd. We are a little less fit,usually weigh more than a pitchfork and we are a lot stiffer than we used to be... The younger crowd just does not understand the aging process, yet.

Finally,look for barns that seem to be having fun. After all, if your riding were not going to be enjoyable, why would you want to do it in the first place? Riding is an extremely personal commitment, especially as we age;I know you are up for the challenge, and welcome you to comment below with personal stories, experiences and insights on this subject.

Until next time.

Quote for Today:
Fear almost always arises - in horses as well as in people - from concern about what might happen, and much more
rarely from what is happening."
Mary Wanless, For the Good of the Horse

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It's so nice of you to take the time to visit. I appreciate your stopping by and commenting on what I've written. Even though I sometimes don't have the time to reply to each comment, I do enjoy reading them.