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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Friday, March 19, 2010

Confession and a secret

There's something I haven't told you all. I may have hinted at it, kinda suggested it but never really full on came right out and said it.
And it makes me feel like a bit of a... hmm... a fraud.
I tell y'all about my barrel racing, team sorting, team penning and trail riding. And I think that sometimes some of my readers think I must know a lot more than I do.
But the truth is that I'm not much of a rider. I've never really learned the "fancy" stuff, the more advanced stuff. To put it plain and simple I consider myself a beginner with a LOT of experience (about 20 years of experience lol)
You see I did not grow up with a horsey family. I grew up in a small town with parents that loved me like crazy but just didn't have the money to put toward my horse obsession.
(plus like most parents of girls they thought I'd eventually get over horses and focus on boys)
So instead when Kimfer and I turned 15 we started taking riding lessons. I paid for my lessons out of my babysitting money. There was really only one place in our area that gave Western lessons so that's where we went. I took all they offered: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Don't read too much into that though. The Advanced would today be considered a high level beginner/low level intermediate.
Anything more technical/advanced "fancy" would be available through 4-H or private lessons. Both were out of the question for me. Instead I rode anything I could, anytime I could. And I read.
I have always been a big reader. All through school I read way above my grade's reading level. And I read anything horse I could - fiction, non fiction, books, magazines.
Its always bothered me that I didn't know the more technical aspect of riding. Of course I'd read what I could and try to apply it but I wasn't always sure I was getting it right. So for awhile now I've been looking for someone to take lessons with.
As some of you know my schedule is a bit odd. So to find someone that was close enough, that would fit my schedule, that was affordable AND that I clicked with... well it took awhile.
But it happened! :) For about a month now I've been getting my butt kicked Thursday afternoons for about an hour and a half.
My lessons are not event specific, although there are definitely things that will improve my barrel racing and my cow work. Instead we are working on general horsemanship and fixing small flaws as well as working toward those more technical things. I've made a few small changes and have noticed an improvement in my riding as well as my confidence.
NC's is a fairly short haul from where I board. I've been taking Voodoo and using him for the lessons but in awhile I plan to swap out and use Applejack (who could really use the extra exercise lol). Probably do a few lessons on him and swap back, and continue switching horses every 4-8 weeks. NC is on board with that idea.
I like her style of teaching, she's quick to correct mistakes and make suggestions but has a positive way of doing it... and no comments like "you're too fat to show" lol And she also points out the good things about my riding. One thing I knew going in was that I was too much of a 'hands' rider. I don't use my legs enough, partly because I'm not always sure of exactly how I should. On the plus side though, NC says I have very good hands. And that while I may rely on using my hands more than I should I also don't pick at my horse's face.
I've filled her in on my riding goals/dreams. Now to see what I can achieve this year! :)

17 comments:

  1. Cdn-That's fantastic!!

    But don't ever consider yourself a fraud! You have achieved a lot and I just can't imagine you ever doing anything to harm your horses. That in itself makes you a fine horsewoman.

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  2. I'm another one that grew up in a poor household, with no money to buy horses, I was lucky enough to get my dollar a week to go ride Herb Harrop's horses. I learned to ride the hard way, by trial and lots of errors, and didn't take any formal lessons. I was into my thirties before I ever took a clinic, and what a blessing that was!
    Wonderful that you've found a teacher that you click with, it makes learning easier. Have fun!

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  3. All I have to say is,
    YOU GO GIRL!!!!!!!!

    Sometimes, some of the self taught riders turn out to be the better horsemen ;)

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  4. You are in now way a fraud - that's just how you've ridden and learned. I think a lot of self-taught riders often have good fundamentals, because they have to - there are a lot of "fancy" riders out there on fancy show horses who don't really know much about riding effectively.

    But it's great that you're taking some lessons - it's good to have someone look at your position and aids and what can be improved.

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  5. Like you, I've learned from riding any horse available and trial and error...BUT, I also will read or watch anything I can get my hands on to learn more about horsemanship. Nothing wrong with that IMO. Good luck with the lessons!

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  6. Hey that's awesome! I feel the same as you. I've been riding since I was 5 but never learned technically advanced methods. I mean, I can stay on a horse, I can ride just about anything, but I'm not really trained at what I'm doing. I guess it kinda comes natural. In fact, just in the last few years I've learned so much from my husband, who actually does know technical stuff.

    I would LOVE to take lessons again. That's great that you found a great trainer and are making the time!

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  7. Whooooot!!! I grew up the same way and also didnt grow out of horses...it is awesome that you are taking lessons, a lot of people who have the experience you do are unwilling to keep their mind open and continue to learn. Koodos!

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  8. If you're calling yourself a 'beginner with a lot of experience' I think you know a lot more than people who call themselves experts after 20 years of riding.

    shoot i've been riding endurance now for about 10 years and the more i ride the less I know, and my horses teach me (and humble me) on every ride!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

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  9. Nope, not a fraud. To me the fraud is out there actively selling themself as something they are not.

    We all have a lot to learn and will never have learned it all. I think a true horseman/horsewoman is a person brave enough to admit what he/she doesn't know and out there seeking that knowledge.

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  10. You are still my hero -- I could never think of you as a fraud!! You have a lot of experience, and a lot of heart. The "technical" stuff can be overrated (said the woman who knows less about horses than anyone she blogs with!!). Good luck with your lessons -- I am sure you will do well.

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  11. That's great that you've found a place to take lessons! I'm sure you will do well...

    I think you have more experience and skill than you give yourself credit for. :-)

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  12. I thought I knew nothing! Now I`m convinced I now nothing at all! I love this blog!
    Honest too. I like that. Not many like that anymore. I started when I was 16 years old, got bit, got back on.
    Got chucked off, got back on. There is nothing so honest as a horse! And they make me feel at peace.

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  13. I've been with the same trainer since the day I started riding almost 4 years ago, and I just started working with a different trainer once a week in a ladies group lesson. The new trainer has already pointed out a couple of bad habits that, when I remember to correct them, have made a huge difference! You are not a fraud, you are still learning.

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  14. A fraud you are not. You have more experience than alot of people. I think you're just modest actually. Not a bad trait to have at all. But you should show off your 'shiny buttons' sometimes, too.
    I'm excited about your lessons. And I hope they are a gret help to you. I hope to take more lessons this year, too. But mostly I just can;t wait to ride my new horse out on the trails some more.

    ~Lisa

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  15. I'm pretty sure that the majority of my riding know-how comes from reading the Thoroughbred series as a kid :).

    No shame.

    I've cobbled together a decent riding background and understanding through sporadic riding lessons, lots of reading, and lots and lots of rogue riding. And hey, if we can talk the talk and walk the walk, more power to us for being able to accomplish it without years of expensive horses and trainers.

    Not a fraud at all.

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  16. Ah. Far as I'm concerned, lessons are overrated. You can have someone that's "trained" to the hilt and can't ride a rocking horse, and you can have someone that's never had a formal lesson in their life but is a natural. If you can barrel race and do cow work, then you've got a good seat, so don't underestimate yourself. We can/should ALL continue learning - IMO we can never know enough! Glad you're building up your confidence with the lessons though!

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  17. All we can do is keep taking advantage of the opportunities that come our way. I'm getting old ( had horses for 40 years) and have never had the chance to take more than a small handful of lessons but I've tried to keep learning where ever and from who ever I could. (Even if it was only how not to do things). I think wanting to learn is the secret. Like Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) says; "When the learner is ready, the teacher will appear." My best teachers have been my horses. It's a lucky woman that has the opportunity to learn what a good horse can teach you.

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