Posted in Riding/Horses

What Can I Say? I’m Not the Monogamous Type Anymore!

Many moons ago I took a few lessons with a crazy lady. Knowing what I do now, I wouldn’t have mounted up with them at all, but hindsight is 20/20 and all that. Anyway…back then I always felt bad for lesson horses. I’d throw my leg over a horse I didn’t know and have to ask it to work and I just had this deep seated feeling of being sorry to do so. Like it wasn’t fair for me to be working a horse who didn’t know me. Plus with a lot of lesson programs, you just never know what the care is like and how many times that horse has already been worked. It is actually what led to me purchasing Gemmie. I didn’t want to ride horses I barely knew – I wanted a relationship.

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Misty –  a new set of ears to look through Wednesday night

Flash forward seven years and my thought process has flipped 180 degrees.

Last night was a jump lesson (more details to come when I have more time to type it all up) and I was riding a new mount. As I groomed and tacked her up I was surprised to notice that I didn’t mind. Its not that I no longer care about the horse or that I want to use a horse as a means to an end, but I think owning Gem has taught me that it isn’t really so bad to ask a horse to do some work for an hour or so even if you don’t have that bond with them. As long as you are fair to the horse, act kindly and don’t ask more than they are capable of giving, it really can be a enjoyable experience for both.

My current situation is really different than any lesson barns I had known before. Maybe times have changed, maybe it is the regional difference of being in the south versus suburban north or maybe I just lucked into something great, but the lesson string of my past is nothing like my current trainer’s set up. The horses I ride are either her personal horses or a boarder’s who doesn’t mind allowing their horse to be used for a lesson from time to time. So these horses are being used judiciously, have a person who loves and cares for them and isn’t just being taken out to go around a ring all day long.

Whatever the reason, I am loving my new found infidelity. Not only am I being pared with horses that allow me to work on new skills and focus on me (you know instead of just trying to tame the beast beneath..umm…looking at you Gemmiecakes), but I am learning what it feels like to ride different horses and what suits me best. Gem will turn 19 this May and while she is in great shape and capable of being tortured by me for years to come, I know that in the nearer future I will be on the look out for a new main squeeze. Getting to ride different types of horses of various personalities and training levels is teaching me what I really want and need.

Being a one horse at a time type of gal and turning 35 soon means that if I get another horse in 3-5 years, it may very well be the last horse I purchase. That means that I want to get exactly what I am looking for.

In short, I am loving getting the chance to ride new things and learn what I want, need and enjoy. Of course, the better I become at my new found discipline of…well, I’m not really sure since I’m just working on beginner basics stuff but something english and arena/course based…what I want and need may change, but for now I am enjoying the variation quit a bit.

 

 

15 thoughts on “What Can I Say? I’m Not the Monogamous Type Anymore!

  1. Riding lesson horses is a great experience- especially when developing a new skill. It’s so much harder to learn and train at the same time. I’ve enjoyed lessons on trained horses but it was hard when I didn’t have my own. Now I can take it for what it is – a casual and open relationship 🙂

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    1. I think it also helps that I have no goals except to learn and have fun. If I was striving for a set show I would want to ride the same horse to become a team. For now, I’m enjoying selling myself out to anyone available 🙂

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  2. I am so glad you found this situation 🙂 It sounds like it’s so beneficial for you on so many different levels. Sometimes riding other horses is just what you need!

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      1. I have found that riding other horses makes me appreciate my own horses’ strong points. Learning new skills away from home can be inspiration for rides AT home, too. I’m enjoying reading about your lessons 🙂

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  3. Jumping is FUN! I don’t do it anymore because none of my current horses are really jumpers. I’m so glad you are able to take lessons and have been afforded an opportunity to do so with a “been-there done-that” mount!

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  4. Your lesson situation is the ideal scenario! I got hooked on dressage in South FL while riding with an upper level dressage rider and trainer that taught on her own horses. It was an amazing experience.

    For most of my life, I rode in the middle-ground scenario: a string of lesson horses managed by the barn manager/instructor that were owned by the school or by the barn manager/instructor herself, with the barn manager/instructor making sure that none of the horses were overworked. (Even the most even-keeled horses maybe got ridden 3x day a couple times a week. They always had several days off each week to just be horses.) I had the good fortune of being the person called in to “tune-up” the lesson horses in exchange for lessons: even with judicious riding, a lot of them would get sour or deadened in their responses after packing beginners around for weeks on end. It was refreshing for them to be ridden by someone with more experience. The reaction I often got was, “OMG, thank GOD for someone that knows what they’re doing!” It was a ton of fun for both them and me, and then I got to learn on horses that were happy to carry me around and teach me in turn. I was quite the equestrian “slut” in this sense. 😉 Hahaha One of my favorite things was to arrive at the barn in the morning and walk down the aisle thinking, “Hmmm…who do I feel like working with today?”

    I’m so happy for you that you found this situation, that you’re getting to experience different types of horses, and that you’re learning so much in the process while having fun! 🙂

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  5. As someone who grew up learning to ride in lesson programs, and then learning to care for horses in the same programs, I’m a HUGE believer in these programs in general, and in lesson horses in particular. These horses aren’t dumb. They know what it means to have a job. And by and large they are all very well cared for (just like anything else, the bad apples aren’t really that common but get a lot of bad press). Plus I like supporting lesson programs knowing that a lot of horses who might otherwise struggle to find homes and jobs (think: kinda old, maybe not 100% sound, or otherwise not attractive to buyers) can often fit in at a riding school. And every program I’ve worked at has well defined rules about each horse’s work load, days off, and maximum intensity.

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    1. Did this come across as anti lesson programs? It wasn’t my intention if it did. I agree with your above although I have been witness to some terrible lesson programs where the horses were not well cared for. It was really just my own mind that had something against riding a horse that was used for lessons and feeling sorry for the horse when in fact they had great lives and were well taken care of.

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      1. no not at all – your post doesn’t come across anti lesson program at all! i’m just 100% so totally and completely pro-lesson program that i can’t help but sing the praises of most programs (noting, like you say, that there are unfortunate cases out there) and extol on the benefits of these types of programs and riding schools for vast swaths of horse-obsessed little kids (like yours truly!) whose parents could never do more than the ‘weekly riding lesson’ to satisfy that obsession.

        i’d also venture that your position above re: wanting your own horse with which to build a relationship and learn is definitely not uncommon and has lots of advantages, as does the flip side of learning to ride by switching around from schoolie to schoolie each week. that’s maybe my favorite thing about horses and learning to ride – there really isn’t any “One True Way” to go about it, and honestly there are very very few truly “wrong ways” too

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