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[Riding] Horsie horsie horsie!

As some of you know, I decided to actually start taking riding lessons. The school I'm at insists that caring for the horses is as important as riding (a position I can respect!) and so you also have a half hour before lesson and a half hour after lesson to groom the horse, clean tack, check on stables and stuff like that. They also insist that you pay for one single lesson as an assessment (both for them to see if you'll work out, and for you to see if you're still interested).

So, anyway, this evening was my assessment lesson. Drove out to the riding school. They have a lot of horses; there's 11 school horses, and then also horses being boarded or trained. Met with my instructor, who I'd also met earlier in the week, and met the horse I was riding tonight, Desi. Learned proper grooming, where all the tack was, how to put on bridle and saddle and all of that, went out for my first lesson, then came back in and groomed him again before putting him away.

It was a /blast/. I do not have the hang of two-point posture yet (ow), but by the end of the lesson I could at least get Desi where I wanted to go. And I could /make/ him trot, even if I couldn't post properly during it. (Did I mention 'ow'?) Even just grooming Desi was fun. (And this despite the fact that he tried to eat my jacket, among other things, as a way of making a point that he /really/ wanted his feed /now/ thank you very much.)

Anyway, it worked out well, and I signed up for the actual monthly rate for lessons on the spot and made my first month's payment once we were back in the office and had put away Desi. And though I'm already starting to feel the 'ow' factor overall, the ache that I know I'm going to feel fully tomorrow, I still cannot wait until next week. :)


The mood icon there is priceless. :D
I need to fill out my mood icon set more. I like that one, too. Though my favorites are:




I agree!

Tis so darn cute! :)
Get some epson salts if you don't have any, and take a bath with them after your lesson if you want to help stop some of the achey-owness at first. It usually only lasts a few weeks though. :)

This next thing is coming as advice from someone who's been around horses for.. I think I decided 11 years now. *considers how best to put it* Horses are flesh and blood creatures just like us. And they act like us more than you might realize. If something would annoy you, chances are- it would annoy a horse too. If something would make you angry, chances are it would make them angry too. That kind of thing. The only real exception to that rule is when it comes to you hurting them- you're so much smaller that a swat on the rump or neck or nose or side isn't going to do much to them 'cause they're so darn big.

Treat them with respect, and you'll not find many horses you can't work with. If you take the time to watch them and understand why they do things, you'll find your time with them far more enjoyable and much easier. :) I dunno what the policy is with your stable, but if you can just go spend time in the pasture with the horses for a little bit- you'll learn more in an hour that way than you would in an hour on their back. :)

Two quick knowledge tid-bits to start you off, too. #1- When you first come up to a horse, if they raise their nose to your face or to your hands and blow at you- not really snorting or anything.. but if you watch their nostrils and they flare out and you can feel a breath- the horse is saying hello. However, with other horses they do it nose to nose so that the other horse can blow back. If a horse does that to you, just blow lightly back into their nose and you've said hello back. :) Its fun to do that to a horse that's never gotten that response from a human, because there's typically something of surprise in their eyes after. Head carriage too.

#2- After awhile, once you've gotten comfortable with a horse (or sometimes they start doing it right away) they start to sort of nibble at you. It comes across as biting, because they'll probably grab your clothes (usually around your shoulders and your neck, sometimes down your back too), and sometimes they'll lightly get your skin. Its not a lot of pressure, but it can KINDA hurt just a touch- but it wont leave a bruise or break skin or anything. Just a little pinch. That's not them trying to bite you. It isn't anything of ill intent at ALL. Don't swat 'em for it. What they're doing is kind of preening, its what they do to other horses in their herd. Its actually a sign of respect if a horse does it to you, because that means they've accepted you as one of the herd. You can choose to either just let it be (unless it hurts a little too much, then just push their nose away and don't let them do it- they don't realize that you don't have as thick of skin as they do) or if you reach your hand out and pinch around their shoulder and neck, its kind of a reciprocal motion.

Those are two really basic behavior things that I've discovered... and it helps the partnership a lot if you understand (particularly that last one). Hope they help you some!
Aaaah. Speaking Equus. :)

Either of you seen "The Real Horse Whisperer", the BBC special on Monty Roberts? Has a lot to say about working with horses.... and about people, too.

Haven't seen the Sparks-san this bouncy in a long time. It's good to see.
I haven't seen that, actually. :) It might be interesting to watch.

Horses and people aren't as different as some would have you beleive. You just gotta open your eyes and accept what you see.
A lot of critters aren't as different from people as most folk think... cats, for instance.... I know several cats who seem to understand a lot more English than you'd think.... and as for opening one's eyes... that applies to a LOT of stuff. :)
Well, few animals actually lack the capacity for communication.

Offhand, I can't think of any that don't.
...you just gotta open your eyes...

Except when the horse sneezes in your face. Then closing your eyes seems like a REALLY GOOD idea. ;)
I'll add this as good, practical advice. Furthermore, it can be applied to any animal which has snot.

Yes, yes. You wear glasses though, right? Those are your first line of defense against total grossness!

That is some really interesting, awesome advice! I'm going to try and remember that if I ever get to be around horsies.
Before you are done, two-point will OWN YOU. :p But it does get better. Eventually. Though even after years and years, if I did English stuff for too long I was sore as heck the next day.

Posting starts to work better once you get comfortable enough to not feel like you have to do so much work. Takes awhile, but hey - you're gonna have killer legs!

Glad you liked it. ;) It's making me all nostalgic!
Oh I had an instructor who was SO mean sometimes! (She did it out of love though, really. I think.)

I had to do 4 minutes of posting at a walk without stirrups once, 5-6 minutes of 2 point at a trot without stirrups.. longer for both of those things if I'd earned my stirrups. And posting at the canter. That was hard for a completely different reason!

I do not miss the pain that those lessons caused at all.. but man, I know how you feel about the nostalgia. Sniffle. I miss riding on a regular basis.
I haven't ridden in years.

Of course, one of the last times I did, the saddle wasn't tight enough, so I fell off and landed on a pine tree. The painful way.

Ah well. Glad you had fun. :)

That's -so- awesome that you're taking lessons. I really want to someday. :p Congrats!

Do you think that it will take much longer for you to get used to it if you only go once a week? Would they like, let you ride a few days in a row so you can get over initial pain?
I'm totally ignorant on how all this works...
It takes a while to build up the muscles, since riding -- especially English -- uses muscles you don't normally use. I could ride a few days a week, but I'd need to sign up for more lessons. ;)

But the instructor did give a few exercises which you can do outside of class to build up those muscles, so I'll be doing that.
But the instructor did give a few exercises which you can do outside of class to build up those muscles, so I'll be doing that.

That's awesome. I'm so glad you have the opportunity and funds to ride!
I am too, honestly. I was sort of concerned that I wouldn't find the grooming part enjoyable or whatever, but really I enjoyed all of it. And despite the fact that I ache in places I didn't previously know I /could/ ache, I feel better today than I have in a long, long time. I think this filled some niché for me which was not previously filled.
Some day I might take riding lessons. As it is, I manage... not to fall off. I'm mostly impressed with myself for managing to stay on when one of my uncle's horses was trying to knock me off and bouncing. A lot.

I was also told once that if they lean on you, they like you. If that's the base the 16-hand blue roan my uncle had at one point liked me, because he'd walk up and leeeeeaaaaan.
I'm envious Sparks!

(Hi. Long time no see, btw. :)
*peers, trying to figure out who this is* :)
Pookzilla from the old IRC days. You know, the batshit crazy one. :)
Pook! Wow, it /has/ been a long time. Years, literally! How have you been, anyway? :)
Things have been good. I work for IBM now on the Eclipse project. This grants me OSS cred which I use for... well, I havn't figured that out yet. I've also become addicted to tattoos to a distressing degree. I am White Trash. How about you?