you been riding your computer or your truck more than your horse? Has an injury
or surgery prevented you from riding? Maybe you've had a brutal winter or scorching
summer and six months zipped past without a ride. If it's time for you to get
back in the saddle, with a little preparation you can make a smooth re-entry to
After riding most of my life
and teaching and judging many riders, I've seen that certain attributes can help
or hinder a rider. Whether you are getting back to riding or taking it up for
the first time, you should evaluate your attitude, confidence, relaxation, balance,
flexibility, coordination, durability, strength, and fitness. Next month's newsletter
will contain tips on how to improve areas that need work.
good attitude is made of motivation, optimism, diligence, patience, and honesty.
TEST: Answer Yes or No to these five
1. You get up
an hour earlier every morning so you have extra time to ride.
2. You see
something ahead that might spook your horse. You alter your course to avoid the
3. Your horse moves 3 small steps when you are mounting. You
"let it go".
4. You want to smooth out your horse's lope but after
several weeks you don't see a change. You start looking for another horse.
5. When your instructor/trainer says, "Work with your horse every day to
improve your riding", you say, "I do!"
to #1 shows motivation.
No to #2 shows a positive attitude that you can overcome
your horse's fears.
No to #3 shows diligence to work on small things to make
the whole better.
No to #4 means you don't give up quickly; training takes
Yes to #5 either means you are a rare person that can work with your
horse every day OR your definition of "work" includes grooming, petting
and feeding treats OR you just say "I do" to your instructor to keep
from getting a lecture. To improve, you first must make an honest evaluation.
comes from knowledge, training, and experience.
Answer Yes or No to these questions:
Have you had your horse handling and riding skills evaluated by a professional
2. Do you take regular lessons?
3. Do you know safe practices
for handling and riding horses?
4. Do you work with a well-trained, experienced
horse that can "show you the ropes"?
5. Do you know how to stop
a runaway horse?
answered YES to these five questions, you have set yourself up to be confident.
Read these other articles
in the Back In The Saddle series:
Part One: Evaluation
Part Two: Improvement