Almost on a weekly basis, I'll have this question come up from a rider or parent wondering about the advancing steps in horseback riding. I've nailed my politically correct and really quite true answer down pat. My response usually sounds like this: "Well, horseback riding is just like any other hobby or sport you take up. It requires dedication, practice, physical fitness, a positive aptitude to learn and a passion for the horse itself. Riding once a week is awesome from a recreational stand point, but to truely advance, its not quite enough."
Often I will then ask the rider/parent if they have any other hobbies, such as a musical instrument or other sport that they play. How often do you practice? Usually the resounding answer is between 4-7 times per week!
Now lets add into the equation that we are working with another living, breathing, feeling animal. A horse is a prey animal, whose natural instinct is to be wary of every living, moving, crouching, breathing thing.
Horseback riding is as much a behavior in ourselves, as it is a skill. We must learn to think, move & act like a prey animal. We must be aware of every movement, shape and piece of our horses body to understand the full picture of how they are feeling and what they need. Equally as important, we must be aware of the shapes and language our own body is conveying to our horse. Just like any hobby or sport, this takes practice.
So my questions back to you are: What kind of rider do you want to be? What are your short term goals? What do you eventually want to be able to do in horseback riding? Is this your passion or pass-time?
From here, together, we will create an ever evolving plan to help you towards your riding goals. We will talk about your current riding skill, physical fitness (yes, this is a contentious issue! BUT - if we expect our horses to be athletic, we must be working towards that goal, too!), your financial ability to look at options of another weekly lesson, leasing or even the potential of your own horse.
The possibilities are endless!
Do you crave more from your riding experience? Then let's talk!