Sounds like she just needs to be desensitized to the area. It’s always a process of repetition, working in short lessons, just introducing the horse to an area or object and then removing her from it. Walk her by hand and just let her take it all in, use treats and verbal encouragement to let her know it’s all okay. If she’s okay around other horses, try having a friend take another horse for her out with you so she feels more at ease and less flighty. I’m unclear on if you’re actually riding her yet or not, but if you are, you want to keep consistent contact (but keep it gentle and make sure you’re “giving”, you want her to enjoy the experience) and really engage her hind end as best you can so she’s occupied and you maintain control over her so you can keep her spook in check. Keep her straight and focused on you, as if you’re in a chute. When you have a spooky horse, you have to have twice the confidence to reinforce what you want. You have to be soft but strong so she fees your support…keep her in front of your leg and just let her relax by showing her that you’re relaxed. As she matures mentally (which will come as she gets used to your good care and starts to get more comfortable) she’ll be more willing to accept new things and will settle into the area. For now just be patient and forgiving. Good luck! :)
Hi! Pole work and hill work are two major things I’d do, so glad you’re starting that. Trotting is the gait that builds the most muscle in horses, so work mostly at that gait (long trotting is a good warmup exercise) with some slow cantering mixed in as well. Transitions, lateral work, circle patterns, collection, spirals, etc will all help build muscle. Also, try doing some belly lifts (or other abdominal stretches) with him before you ride. And of course, a healthy, balanced diet is a must :)
Hey, good for you for getting back into the saddle!
So first of all, these are some of my favorite exercises to do that target the muscles you use while riding— if you can add some of these in, it’ll make you a little more sore at first (just from using the muscles more often) but after a few times you’ll find it actually makes your riding easier. Unfortunately, oftentimes the best way to cure soreness is to just keep using those muscles regularly…as you continue riding, your soreness will subside. Also, try stretching before and after each ride. Work a calf stretch, hamstring stretch, quad stretch, and if you can, a hip abductor stretch. These will help open you up before your ride and alleviate some of the soreness after the ride. And of course, make sure you’re staying hydrated and are keeping your electrolyte count up. Good luck! :)
You can never go wrong with a nice polo shirt tucked into clean breeches— add a belt, clean boots, and a hairnet to keep your hair up and you’re set!
Depends on how close you are to the owners and how long the lease is for. For a short lease, most half leasers just share the tack the owners have for the horse, though if you’d be leasing for longer than 6 months I’d go ahead and get your own tack. That’s the biggest thing you have to work out, just talk to whoever is leasing you the horse (easy enough since they’ll have to be at the barn already for a half lease). Other than that, you’ll have to buy grooming supplies, a halter/lead rope, any “extra” stuff he requires like boots or polo wraps, blankets (depending on if your barn uses them/if it’s okay to use the ones the owner has), maybe a saddle pad or two, and possibly a first aid kit. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff haha but there you have it. Honestly, you can ask your trainer what she thinks you’ll need to buy so she can answer with a more personal perspective. Good luck! :)
Hey there! Don’t worry about it, that’s totally normal. You’re still a beginner, and as you’re learning it’s expected that you’ll be inconsistent (everyone is when they’re learning anything new). It’s great that you were able to have a nice canter at all, don’t worry about not being able to keep it for the whole lesson. Your trainer knows this, and I guarantee you didn’t waste anyone’s time. The movement will click with you soon and you won’t even have to think about it anymore— for now, just give it time and be patient with yourself.
Yeah, I know it’s tough when you have to think about switching barns! You don’t have to decide anything right away though, so don’t stress yourself out. What I would do is start doing some research into your options for jumping barns though, just to see what’s out there— visit a few places and compare facilities, training, and the atmosphere. If visiting one place in particular makes you more excited to start to get back into jumping, than I think you know what you have to do. It sounds like your current barn is pretty laid-back and all the people are nice, so you won’t be leaving on bad terms— you have to do what works for you, and your goals will change over time. This barn was just what you needed to get back into riding, but now you’re looking to refine your goals a little more and that’s normal. They should understand that, and there’s no reason you can’t continue to have a pleasant relationship with them (you may even be able to help out on occasion). If you don’t think it’s the right place for you right now, it’s probably not, so why wait until you possibly grow to resent it there? No decision is binding, but it’s better to be honest with yourself and with them, and end up doing what you really want to be doing. Good luck! :)
You’re probably bracing too much against the stirrup— you want your heels down, but think about sinking down into them as opposed to jamming them down. Don’t pinch with your knee, instead let your upper leg be a little loose and flexible while your lower leg grips the horse. Keep your hips open so you can go with the horse’s motion and adjust your leg angle. Try dropping your stirrups as you’re warming up, it automatically lets your leg hang in the correct, natural position and gives you a better feel for what you should be doing. Also, remember that you want your upper body angled slightly forward— your seat should be centered over the saddle but your upper body should be angled a bit so that your leg can come just under you rather than have you “waterskiing”.
About the lease situation, ask your trainer to look off-barn with you. She should have some connections, and you can do some separate research to show her some options as well. There are always horses for sale or for lease, going off-barn to look is pretty common! :)
It’s okay, some horses are just more sensitive skinned than others. For now, take the spurs off so the affected area can start to heal— use this time to really educate your leg (have your trainer help you) to be still and strong. Learn to only turn your toe out when you need the spur to touch his sides, and also work on getting your horse to respect your leg by itself (you can use a crop as a reinforcer). Treat the rubs daily with a topical product like Furazone, Corona, etc., and make sure they stay clean. Once the rubs have healed, I’d still advise against wearing spurs every time you ride just because it sounds like he has thin skin— if you really have to wear them, try “compromising” with yourself so that maybe you only wear them half the time, or only when you have a lesson. Also, I don’t know what kind you’re using, but consider changing to a pair that is a little rounder/duller….I have a horse who has the thinnest skin ever when it comes to spurs (courtesy of a way overly aggressive previous owner), and though I don’t use them very frequently I’ve only ever found one pair that doesn’t rub him at all but still gets a response. I forget the name, but I’ll find out tonight and make another post for you. Also, you can buy saddle pads with longer sides that help prevent rubs, or safety pin shipping wraps on your current pad for a little extra protection (personally, I felt that it was easier/better just to ride without the spurs, but this way works for some people). Good luck!
I show primarily in the jumpers! My biggest advice would be to ride smartly, not recklessly. A lot of young jumper riders tend to want to focus only on the speed, making for a sloppy course with bad distances and bad decisions. The best riders utilize both power and speed in every course. You want to go fast, obviously, but you need to analyze the course to plan for when you can gallop and when you need to turn or ride a more creative track. When you’re course walking, take note of everything— where you can make inside turns, where there’s an open stretch for you to make up time, where the footing starts to go slightly uphill and requires a little more push, etc. If you’re prepared, you can ride the best track, find your distances, and do really well. Also, always stay balanced in your own right, you never want to rely on the horse— stay shock absorbent in your legs, light with your upper body, and have your eyes on the next fence so you’re balanced for the landing. Watch a lot of the upper level jumpers ride as well, you really learn a lot! :)