Can we have an adult re-rider support group?

Maybe we already do, in which case, sorry! :slight_smile:

I have had a rough week and I’m possibly over-analysing this, but I’m sure other re-riders have had these feelings too.

I’m a working mom, and I have a fabulous, diamond-in-the-rough OTTB, who is green but learning EVERY day and is just a gem. He’s awesome. We’re working on straightness, doing some canter work, and cross-rails for fun. He’s really smart, in a very good way. You tell him what you want and he goes “ok!”.

The thing is? I don’t know HOW to tell him. I’m a capable rider, but have lost so much coordination and that instinct of what to do, that I’m basically starting over, when he is too.

Thankfully, I have a really great trainer who is extremely sympathetic and helpful.

Part of me is like WTF was I thinking getting this green horse. Another is like WTF is wrong with me, and maybe I’ll never get better. Another is why am I even bothering trying to improve?

I know this horse will be amazing. And he’s ridden 4x/week by other people under trainer supervision and is doing amazing. So even if I can only ride him once a week, he’s better every time I do. So that’s a +1.

The thing with me is, I can ride my other horse fine. I rode him yesterday, took him over a 2’3"/2’6" jump, no problem and no getting ahead (my big problem).

Try to trot a X-rail on the new horse and I’m flopping around like a fish. My weakness is really made obvious with smaller, trot fences.

I’ve really been thinking that I need to get my core in shape and I think that will help me. But WHEN? I have a 3 year old, a job, a house, and the horses. Oh, and a husband too. lol

Sorry, I’m rambling. I know what I want, but I feel like I don’t have the time, and I don’t have the ability! I would love to know that I’m not the only one going through this!!!

I did enjoy reading other re-rider threads, and knowing I’m not the only one, and that there’s no shame in entering the long-stirrups for awhile to get my feet wet!

Hi there,

I totally understand the constraints of adult life and limited time, coupled with a green horse and feeling like you used to be a better rider when you were younger!

After a few “breaks” from riding in my 20s (college, grad school, jobs, etc.) I finally purchased my own horse in my early 30s. He was unstarted but very easy and now goes pretty well on the flat but is still fairly green over fences. Coming back to riding on a more regular basis, I think I have lost some of the “feel” I had on the flat, as well as some of the “eye” I had (for distances, etc.) over fences. (Weirdly, though, I think I “get” riding and its mechanics much better now in a sort of intellectual sense than I did when I was younger, but it doesn’t come as naturally when the time comes to actually use my body.) I do think this is sometimes compounded by my horse’s greenness–if he is unbalanced or something, and he is sort of still learning how to find his spots, our weaknesses can feed off of each other. I wonder if this is what you are experiencing, too, with your off-the-track horse.

Anyway, in the past month or so I’ve really taken to gymnastics with him. I have Jimmy Wofford’s gymnastics book and I decided I’m going to start at the beginning and go as far as I can with it. The book is obviously geared towards eventers, but I would recommend it to anyone working over fences. It has made a world of difference with my horse, who was pretty timid over fences when he first started jumping (which of course made my riding worse because I would worry before the fences and “fiddle” too much). Once he is “in” the gymnastic, I’ve found, he’s going through them; he doesn’t really have time to think about getting nervous and he just goes. The gymnastics keep him straight, and forward, and rhythmic. As a result, it has already made him a lot more confident over fences. The distances are figured out for us by the gymnastics themselves, and so I just sit there and keep him straight and let him do his thing. As a result, I am reacquiring my eye and my feel for over fences work, while my horse is figuring out how to keep his rhythm, where his spots are, etc.

Also, I don’t think you could really jump ahead of the horse through a gymnastic. I mean, you could, but it would really encourage you not to–it would help correct that habit. And you can set them up as little trot fences (the earlier gymnastics in the Wofford book all have trotting poles leading into them to establish rhythm, etc.), so you could work on that, too.

The only problem, of course, is time. This can be time consuming because you have to set the jumps! But if you can carve out the time even once per week, I bet it would really help. (And it is probably ultimately less time consuming than carving out time to go to the gym–not that I’m discouraging that at all, but speaking for myself: I am much more likely to carve out the time to set jumps than do crunches.)

Plus, gymnastic jumping is super fun. I haven’t left one gymnastic jumping session frustrated with myself (yet). From one adult rider on a green horse to another: Let’s hear it for fun!

I’m a 53 yr old rerider who ONLY rides green OTTBs! I can’t remember what it is like to ride a made horse or one who just carries me instead of me trying to make him carry himself. I too “get” good riding in themental sense, but on a greenie it is just difficult to maintain. However, when the light comes on and a greenie has an “ah-ha” moment, what a great feeling that is. I’m hoping to keep my chosen OTTB as a forever horse - after a year of work he is finally getting it and is less work to ride correctly. I know this process has made me a better rider, but damn it’s work!!!

Another adult re-rider on a green horse with busy job. Yup. I know what you are going through. I remember being VERY out of shape when I first started back about 2 years ago and wondering how I was going to fit it all in. I think it took me a year and a half to start feeling like I was back to where I was skill-wise when I left. Part of it was due to the fact that I was riding a green horse who was progressing with me. I did (and do) spend some time in the gym (and should spend more), but most of what got me in shape was riding.

As for the green horse? Its great you have another horse to work with to help you get your riding solid and keep your confidence in your abilities. It also sounds like you have a great support group for your green horse. It sounds like you’re on the right track. It does take time, but you will get there!

Cowboy clinic

Just took my OTTB to a clinic lead by a Ray Hunt type clinician. Best weekend I’ve spent with horses in a very long time. Did lots of groundwork, saddle work. At first both my mare and I were nervous, but we both left with a much higher level of confidence in each other. And I now have lots of new tools to use if I need them.
I think it’s a great way to knock off the rust.

Thanks guys! Its nice to know I’m not alone!

My trainer told me yesterday I think too much. I really don’t think many people would say that about me, lol. But I think what she meant was that the younger students do as requested. The adults overanalyse it.

I’m looking into a pilates class to get myself stronger. I have a useless gym membership but I hardly have time to go! Early in the morning means I have to wake my kid up and drag her along, later at night means I have no time for anything else (aka, real life!)

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I just sold my OTTB mare last october :frowning:

My vent is finding a lesson barn for adults. Around here, most are swarmed with small kids, and/or are overcrowded.

I cannot have a horse of my own right now as hubby is going into the air force, but would like to take this time to work on ME on a good lesson horse.

I’ve always ridden greenies and so my seat has suffered as I was focusing on them and not myself. I’d like to get back into riding shape and really be able to focus on myself. I’m not interested in showing anymore except maybe a schoolie here or there. I mostly foxhunt nowadays when I can catch a ride.

It’s just finding a quiet lesson barn where an adult can go ride without kids on ponies careening around the arena or feeling like the trainers don’t have time for a non-showing adult.

/end vent.


Rx - I think the key is finding a time that kids AREN’T there. So weeknights are probably out.

Right that’s an option too… IF I wasn’t a 9-5er :frowning:

My turn to hold the Rant Stick!

Not only am I a SENIOR re-rider, but since I lost my Steady-Eddie (well, for me he was) Hunter I had for 20 years & acquired a rescued GP Jumper, I have totally learned what OP means about riding one fine, no prob, then the polar opposite.

My last rated show was in 1999.
Since then I’ve done a couple schooling shows and a handful of clinics. Mainly focused on dressage.

But I have this wonderful new guy who will do dressage - actually he knows more than me, has gears I haven’t tested yet :smiley:
But I thought I’d see how he was O/F.

Thanks to a COTHer who trains nearby, I was able to see how he liked jumping.
Him? Yay! Whee!!!
Me? :no:
1 -Could not find his center &
2 -learned how vast is the abyss between Hunter & Jumper &
3 -Missed my old guy - we sure knew each other, I could file my nails & jump a course on him all at the same time :sadsmile:

If I could retire tomorrow…and win the lottery… then I could really see what is possible for me & New Guy to do together :yes:
Sandwiching him in between work & scraping together the finances to get the occasional lesson just S-U-X :cry:

So hang in there, OP.
It sounds like you have a great support system at your barn.
As you get fitter, your horse will get better-trained & some day the 2 of you will Click & end up on the same page at the same time :cool:
Patience, Little Grasshopper.

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Rx, sorry, I am with ya. I’m limited to weekends for lessons for the most part.
Thanks 2Dogs, Its so nice to know we’re in the same boat.

Thanks for talking me down. I’m not a pity kind of person but I keep forgetting I’m not 20 anymore! :slight_smile:

I find that the main sucky part about being an adult rider who is funding the enterprise is this – being limited to weekends due to work commitments (for the most part) means the progress is slower than we’d like. I always think about how much better I would be if I could routinely ride 4 times a week rather than 2.

Right there with you on that one…i’m not a re-rider…never really took a break, but I feel your pain, OP regarding the mental “get it” and the physical “body won’t do it!”

Tarheel, you are so right on the money. If I had the time I could probably progress SO much faster. But age, time, all work against you.

Slow and steady, I suppose. I’m setting a goal of a few schooling shows on him next summer.

This goes for me as well. Even the once a week lessons sometimes get rescheduled due to my work. Although I am hoping that maybe 1/2 leasing a school horse next year would give me enough flexibility that I could go out and ride when I have some unscheduled downtime.

(It also doesn’t help that my barn is in the opposite direction of my work … by 1.5 hours.)

Hang in there! It takes time, especially with the family and the full time job. I started re-re-riding three years ago, and even though my progress hasn’t been fast, it’s been steady. I got the green bargain TB, but I took lessons and rode, rode, rode. Pilates was a big help, especially at first. If you’re into the process and not just the end result, you’ll get where you want to go and love every minute of it!


Question - I don’t want to start a whole new thread for this…at what level/capacity did you take your horse to a clinic? I think it would be really beneficial to take my new horse to a clinic (and would give me some motivation), but I’m not sure he’s skilled enough yet to get alot out of it.

I’ve seen that question posed on here quite a few times, with lots of replies of people who did it, and really felt better taking their greenie rather than their old schoolie. I think it really depends on who you want to focus on for that clinic, you, or your horse?

Oh my goodness I could have written this thread! I don’t have any suggestions but plenty of empathy. I am finished with an absolutely miserable show season (ie: didn’t finish one course of eight jumps during the season). Trainer thinks its time to shop for a new horse. I am not convinced that four, lousy, local shows means send my horse packing. Tried to explain that as an adult who spends 50 hours a week working and 20 hours a week commuting to work, barn, home and back again I just have some simple limitations. I have a green OTTB too with gobs of talent - more than I will ever utilize I imagine. No answers for you, OP, however I hear where you are coming from and I second all of your thoughts!

I agree that I think a lot of us adults are in the same boat! I’m not a re-rider (I picked up riding as an adult) and progress has been sloooooooow. But, some days I just have to give myself some perspective and realize that I’m doing this for fun. There are no real time constraints to reach my goals, I have no dreams of doing this for a living, so it takes a lot of pressure off myself.

But yes, if I didn’t have this pesky 9-5 job taking up all my time, I imagine I would be advancing and be much more adaptable in new situations! But its such a catch 22-without the job, wouldn’t have the horse! LOL