Final Furlong Forum

Off Topic => Anything Goes => Topic started by: Hilda with Clicker on April 16, 2017, 06:02:01 AM

Title: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on April 16, 2017, 06:02:01 AM
Thought I'll share a story with you as we wait till Shanthi can come back to the game ;)
So next Monday I'm going to my first horse ride after five (?) years of not being around horses almost at all! A friend of mine started to work as a riding instructor at a new stable, so I thought I'll visit. Before I've been everywhere from trails to competitions to riding racehorses (very briefly as it wasn't the best example of a racetrack...). I was very "radically" into natural horsemanship too - riding bitless, bridlelless, barefoot, etc., and finally not riding at all while having a horse ;)
I also fell off a friend's horse breaking a collarbone, and I've been clicker training horses and other animals (hence my weird stable name here).
I feel like it will be a "comeback year" for me regarding horses, even though I'm not as ambitious as I used to be; a trail ride now and then is my goal :) my favourite type of horse is a hucul pony even though my horse was of a different breed, as everyone around believed that huculs are for kids. But I think they're great for lightweight adults (which I am) and also very intelligent, and built somewhat like Iberian horses (ok they're far from Iberian horses... but a little bit similar ::) ). So I'll find a nice & friendly stable that has some, but first I'm going to ride where my friend is teaching, because I know her for years and I know that she's a great instructor. :)

Happy Easter everyone!
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: willagrey on April 16, 2017, 11:01:30 PM
That's awesome!

I'm currently taking a break as my location is not really horse friendly. I've gone from riding at a local stable, to riding & training on my own with my own 2 horses, taking a break again, working student positions, another break and on to actually being an assistant trainer & barn manager for a small hunter jumper farm in my area.

Hoping to get back to it soon!

Good luck at your lesson!!
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on April 17, 2017, 12:31:48 PM
I'm currently taking a break as my location is not really horse friendly.

Same here, in general; small (and boring) paddocks, small boxes, small everything... while I only like small riding arenas, especially if they are square and carefully maintained (have yet to see one like this in my area). But recently I found two new stables which look promising, so we'll see. The local racetrack has changed a lot recently, but I'm not sure if in the right direction - they've just added more entertainment for random people who don't know how to spend a weekend, so there is a miniature "western city", children's playground, fast foods, etc. But the horse facilities are more or less the same. The racetrack is surrounded by an old park which could be a wonderful getaway for riders and all kinds of people, but it seems to be a bit neglected.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on April 25, 2017, 03:00:56 PM
I did it! I wanted to ride the pony that they have for kids ;) but instead I got a huge (and a beautiful dapple grey) ex-showjumper! :o But he was a lovely horse, one of those "calm giants". The stable was a boarding stable mainly, with people doing everything from rollkur to jumping to "classical dressage"... and it had a nice large indoor arena but it was a windy day so the roof was making a lot of noise. Horse had no problem with that and I enjoyed the ride a lot! Next time I will probably try another place which is closer to my area and is not so focused on sports (which means that there is more kids around... but if I have to choose between lots of kids and looking at rollkur, I'd prefer the kids ;) ).
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: imagine on April 25, 2017, 03:25:08 PM
Glad you enjoyed it 😊. I'm off for my weekly session tonight - wish I could go more often.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: kierangallagher on April 28, 2017, 01:48:18 PM
Congrats on getting back into it!

I haven't ridden much in years as my pony is not presently rideable (severe skin issues, can't tolerate the girth; need to get my hands on one of those shoulder-relief girths to see if it works). He's also a rescue who was abused and has a lot of anxiety issues, so just this week I got myself a clicker to see if some positive reinforcement training helps his poor terrified brain. Maybe I'll become Kieran with Clicker before long, lol.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on April 29, 2017, 05:13:08 AM
Maybe I'll become Kieran with Clicker before long, lol.

Haha good luck! Me and a lot of my friends have actually stopped riding once they got a horse - having a horse makes you so busy that you simply don't have the time to ride ;)
There is a good book by Alexandra Kurland, "The Click That Teaches. Riding with the Clicker". She also has a lot of DVDs and other books. I think I had that book about riding, but there was a lot about groundwork.

Emma, I'll probably ride not more than once a month, but I'm still happy to be back to it!
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: ivycreekfarm on April 30, 2017, 01:14:41 AM
I'm so glad to hear you're getting back into it!  I live in a pretty large city, but in the middle of the US (so nearer to lots and lots of rural areas), so while there are very few opportunities nearby, there are tons within miles.  I moved into my house (typical suburbia, small little things), and met my fabulous neighbors across the street.  Later, I learned that they had 6 horses that they kept about an hour's drive from our house, at her sister's ranch.  I FINALLY got to get back into riding, and they offered me a free lease on one of their horses, a gorgeous pinto Arabian (3/4), so I could go out whenever I wanted regardless of whether they were there.  ...And then I found out I was pregnant.  Darn the timing!  I now have two daughters (2.5 and 1).  I've managed to take the 2 year old riding for the first time last fall, just around the arena (and the neighbors have moved, but now have their own ranch about 45 mins from my house, with their horses on-site).  I'm hoping to be able to get back into it as my daughters get older...and with any luck, drag them into the horse world, too.  ;)

Here's a photo from last fall's ride: https://www.instagram.com/p/BLFLwM4DbYK/ (https://www.instagram.com/p/BLFLwM4DbYK/)

The kiddos also explain my sudden drop in activity within FF.  :P  I'm hoping that picks up as they get older/more independent, too!
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Equestriana on May 01, 2017, 01:02:00 AM
I'm just getting back into it too. I stopped riding about 5 years ago because it got too expensive with school and I was too busy with work.

I've contacted a couple stables for some lessons; going to give it a try again. I can't wait!
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: ivycreekfarm on May 01, 2017, 01:49:38 AM
Hooray for ending horseless hiatuses!
Let us know how it goes!!!
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on May 01, 2017, 08:58:02 AM
Yay, more of us!
Beautiful photo Alyssa :) and kids too!

I will probably go again to that stable this month, because I discovered that a friend lives in that area so I'll visit her. But I also found another one closer to my place (by some mutual friends) and it looks interesting too - a couple who owns some ponies for trail riding mainly, and they also have a small boarding stable. What is interesting is that their son made a career as a jockey at a very young age - he started as 15yo - and now he's hired in the Arab Emirates. His parents do not own racehorses but they follow his racing career.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on May 21, 2017, 11:29:02 AM
So I had my "May ride" about a week ago ;) and it was at the same place again, because I had some friends to visit in that area. And I got the same horse, so it was walk/trot again, and some cavaletti. He was very laid back as usual, which I enjoyed, but eventually I agreed to take a whip because he was leaning to the walls of the arena - so that my stirrup was touching the wall quite often. It was probably because the ground was levelled a few days before so he thought that he's supposed to go like that - the whip helped and it also made him more alive ;)
Here you can see a video of him when he was still a showjumper, under his owner:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSodJ0rzxxk
I think his laid back attitude was already showing three years ago :D and she is around my height so he is really "a little" taller than I wanted... but of course personality matters!
I do like this horse but next time I'll probably try one of the two stables that are closer to my home.

There were two other women riding with me, who also "came back after a long break"... and all of us had some scary stories to share, including the instructor... incredible how this stuff is building up over the years. Note to self: *do not ride crazy ponies at wrong places owned by people who don't care*... haha... which is why I quit riding for five years, and I'm back to it only because I found some good places now.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: ivycreekfarm on May 21, 2017, 01:10:17 PM
What a lovely horse!  It sounds like you had a great experience.
When I used to take dressage lessons, I always had to fight the ponies to TRY to get them to hug the walls instead of cutting corners.  It's funny what personality can do!
Your comments have me curious as to what your bad experience was.  I can definitely see how that could ruin things.

I'm excited because I am supposed to go on an all day ride (haven't done that in YEARS) on Saturday as part of my belated bachlorette/hen party (since we only had a little over 2 months to plan and a party just never lined up with everyone's schedules).  Thankfully, it will be on horses I've ridden before as it is up at my friend's new home (same place/horses as the photo I shared).
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on May 21, 2017, 04:53:01 PM
As for my bad experience - there were a few, including falling off a horse and breaking a collarbone, dealing with a horse that was trying to kill everyone around her (but she was lovely when ridden...), seeing horses abused by others (e.g. lungeing in the midday summer heat until the horse almost fainted, or making a horse canter in circles for so long that he was unable to get up the next morning), and I also tried to volunteer for some organizations which seemed to have a hoarding problem... buying lots and lots of horses (saving them all from slaughter) but then being unable to care for them properly... and blaming everyone else for not offering enough help.
Also stables where horses had very little or no turnout... (while being given high energy food if it was a "sport stable"), bad hooves, old/dirty/broken/harsh equipment... riding very young or very old horses... usually because of too much or not enough money ;) and misinformation :P

I've been also strongly into natural horsemanship for a while, which was keeping me from riding and more into groundwork. But after that I had no contact with horses at all. Now I'm back because I found these nice stables, but I still think that most horses don't get enough groundwork, and many people don't know how to do it, or they try to rush it. Even Dolgano - this horse that I was riding recently - could benefit from some groundwork as he doesn't like having his girth fastened. It's not a big issue but a few sessions could make him really relaxed about it.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Equestriana on May 22, 2017, 01:01:22 AM
Sounds like you are having a great time getting back into it!

I went 2 times in the past couple of weeks, first time in about 6 years. The instructors were really great and so willing to work with my difficult schedule (I work out of town alot). They've decided to put me on a different horse every lesson so that I can just call and ride if one of those horses are available. They have quite a large lesson string, all the horses have beautiful turnouts, lots of space, all looked quite healthy and happy.

I worked on my W/T/C, positioning, 2-point, etc. I want to start jumping and cross country again. Loved it! I've got 2 more lessons booked and can't wait :)
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: willagrey on May 25, 2017, 03:07:01 PM
Well I didn't have an actual lesson, but I went riding on the beach last week in Cozumel! It was so fun. The guys were going to let us gallop on the beach butttt I didn't have a helmet so I didn't really feel comfortable doing that. 1 bucket list item is complete. Next time I'll bring my helmet, don some hunter princess hair, and gallop on the beach lol
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on September 23, 2017, 07:06:33 PM
I feel like making an update; of course my plan to ride once a month didn't quite work out. I had no time for horse riding during entire summer (is it really over already?!). But a month ago I went with a friend to a stud farm that breeds Icelandic horses. Because I've been to Iceland for a week where I had no chance to ride, but the horses were *everywhere*.
So I found this farm and I convinced a friend (who is afraid of horses) that she really wants to go there with me ;)
It seems that tölting around on Icelandic horse is the most hipster thing to do in the horse world... and it's a strange feeling too, because although tölt is faster than walk, it's actually more comfortable. However, I was more impressed by the personality of those horses, than by their gaits. They really seem to be happy about everything, relaxed and easy going, but very lively when riding. They are bred to endure very harsh conditions, such as Icelandic winter, but seem surprisingly fragile; no one can bring any used riding equipment to Iceland, because they're afraid of diseases, and all riding horses are always shod on all four. I would expect their hooves to be strong enough to go barefoot, but I don't know if it's the hooves or people's opinion about the matter.
Another good thing is, that the stud farm had 150 horses and all of them were small ;)
I rode twice; once when we arrived and again the next day, when my friend also went for a short walk in hand. I'd love to visit more stud farms that are focused on specific breed or type, especially of it's a more natural breeding (when horses are kept in family groups). For now I'm just following some instagram accounts of lucky owners of Icelandic horses ;) like this one:
https://www.instagram.com/kaplahestar/
the horses are also popular everywhere around the world, and of the 150 horses that "our" stud farm had, not even one was brought straight from Iceland, because the owner said that it would be too expensive; they all came from the Netherlands.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Shanthi on November 19, 2017, 12:39:53 PM
I can finally contribute here - I rode yesterday! I've known about the local stable here since before we moved, but it took 3 months to find someone there to talk to about lessons. The bonus to that was that I got to have a ride on my birthday. :) Very basic, just testing the waters to see how my body reacts to real physical exertion (so far so good, ignoring massively sore muscles and a complete lack of energy yesterday post-ride), so I'm hoping that I can have lessons regularly now and get back in the swing of things.

(Seems a shame to live in a country with gorgeous horses everywhere and not actually ride any.)
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: ivycreekfarm on November 19, 2017, 08:12:01 PM
I didn't realize you weren't riding out there! I'm so glad to hear you're getting back into the swing of it (hopefully), though. It feels good, doesn't it? At least for the soul, not so much for the out-of-practice muscles.  ;)

I'm hoping to try to get my oldest into it next spring (she'll be 3 1/2 by then). She already told me she's asking Santa for a "real horse and a real giraffe" this Christmas.  8)  We're lucky to have friends who are a few miles away with horses and an "open invitation" to come out and ride. I just hate to feel like we're imposing!
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: willagrey on November 19, 2017, 09:21:56 PM
Shelbie and I had a lesson in August! We met up with some horse friends in the DC area, where our friend Liz is an instructor.
I was SOOO out of shape but I had a really good lesson, on an adorable pony named Strawberry Shortcake (https://scontent.fmem1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/21543901_10155770475463408_4975734393284901458_o.jpg?oh=9bd377aca122c7eddc6452f6147e67b3&oe=5AA6E83E)! She was so cute & fun! (https://scontent.fmem1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/21034338_10155725569353408_8652938806965790871_n.jpg?oh=ec32eeb3ddefb4fa47a5f7054aa0ce76&oe=5A8B6CE3)

I was sore for like a week though. I life in such a non-horsey area, so I cannot wait to move!
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Shanthi on November 20, 2017, 09:39:44 AM
I didn't realize you weren't riding out there! I'm so glad to hear you're getting back into the swing of it (hopefully), though. It feels good, doesn't it? At least for the soul, not so much for the out-of-practice muscles.  ;)

I know, such a shame! I forced my husband to take lessons for a bit prior to us getting married (when I had delusions that we'd go on a horsey honeymoon, haha - turns out we skipped a honeymoon entirely), so I rode a bit in England, but haven't really ridden regularly since I left the US.

I rode basically my dream horse - dark dapple grey, cute, willing, not a slowpoke. Chunky, so I'm guessing he's an Irish Sport Horse. Nothing fancy, but I'll take cute/willing (and grey!). ;-)


Willa, Strawberry Shortcake is adorable.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Shelbie on November 20, 2017, 04:32:04 PM
Haha, I had the old-as-dirt-and-could-care-less Warmblood gelding who would periodically decide he was done with this trotting nonsense and come to a dead stop. But overall survived! Alas riding lessons in my area is extremely expensive and I can't make it a regular occurrence.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Shanthi on November 20, 2017, 09:22:40 PM
Haha, that's hilarious Shelbie.

One nice thing about living in the (relative) middle of nowhere Ireland - horse things seem really cheap here. This seems like a pretty fancy barn (they have an indoor, they have some form of cross-country course, etc), and board is...wait for it...€300/mo.

I paid more than that for pasture-only board in the DC suburbs. Crazy.
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Hilda with Clicker on November 27, 2017, 10:21:14 AM
Yay we're riding!

I rode yesterday! I was travelling for a week, doing strange activities ;) and I didn't take my horse riding stuff with, so I had to improvise. But I rode at my favourite horsey place, where all horses are barefoot, on a "paddock paradise" kind of turnout, 24/7, and they are all pony-size. All bridles are bitless (dr Cook type) and all saddles are treeless (western type). My horse was a 26 years old hucul pony. He was first used as a breeding stallion before they started riding him (at a stud farm where he was born) so maybe this is why he's still in good shape - really a lot of horse power inside! He even raced past three other horses when we galloped across a meadow (and uphill!). Picture below - he lost his left eye which is now white and doesn't see anything:

(http://najlepiej.blox.pl/resource/periperi2.jpg)
Title: Re: Horse riding again
Post by: Shanthi on November 27, 2017, 10:36:43 AM
Aw he's cute!

I rode the same horse again - made a bit more progress this time getting him to actually take contact. Super basic stuff, but I'm totally out of shape, so that's to be expected I guess.

Booked in for next week, so I think riding regularly is a part of my life again. \o/