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Karen C Vanderlaan

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Member Since: May, 2006

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5 POINTS TO REMEMBER IF TAKING UP THE REINS LATER IN LIFE.
by Karen C Vanderlaan   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2006

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Karen C Vanderlaan

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learning to ride and be around horses larter in life


I have had horses in my life from as far back as I can remember. They have been my best friends and a source of great joy. There was often little else that provided a sense of purpose, and self-esteem in my life but horses and my continuing knowledge of them provided just that. I spent my time with them at home, dreamt about them at night, read every horse book I could get my hands on and drew them in class at school. I have been fortunate.
Many is the little girl who reads, draws and dreams of her own pony/horse. Many of those children never get to have a horse and as adults want to pursue that desire.
I was probably riding (such as it were) at about the same time I began to walk. Because of this, it has become almost as natural to me as walking. I do not think, however, that it is ever too late for anyone to learn to ride. There are too numerous benefits awarded a person by having a relationship with horses to leave that dream by the wayside.
I would caution people of every age to take at least these five things into consideration before mounting up:
1. Horses are benevolent and gentle but they are very big animals and instinctual by nature. Remember that by instinct, a horse is an animal that is prewy for others. Many of their natural behaviors come from this fact. Horses do not, as a general rule, go after humans to hurt them. Only in spending time around horses does one get to know how to read them. Uninformed and uneducated people are easily hurt. On the other hand, very small children, under proper tutelage, remain safe and unharmed.
I have seen many bad experiences leave such fear behind that the person never goes back to riding.
2. Educate yourself so that you have at least a vague idea of what you want out of the experience. Read and be informed. What kind of riding do you want to learn? Do you want to just trail ride or is your ultimate dream to show? Do you want to round up cattle like the cowboys of old, barrel race, learn dressage, jumping, ride the trails, or ride those fancy gaited beauties? (there are many kinds of horses and styles of riding).
3. Ask for advice at local feed/farm/tack stores. Many stores have ads and flyers up for people giving lessons, training horses etc. Go meet them and then ask for references.
4. Shop around for horse people to learn from. Lots of horse people. Take in all the information they share, you will find horse people to be a very helpful but opinionated bunch. Go for reputation with horses above how many ribbons are hanging on a wall.
5. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions….and always let people know that you are a beginner and just learning. Most importantly, have a wonderful experience with on of the most incredible animals on earth.



 

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Reviewed by pat medlin
As a life long horse person, I can attest to the wonderful benefits of continuing to ride at an older age. However I think if I were trying to encourage another older non-horse person to begin, I would strongly edit 'number 1'and then move it down to be '5'.

When I started reading, my eyes immediately locked onto 'do not AS A GENERAL RULE go after' and on 'easily hurt' then again on 'many bad experiences'

YIKES....I wasn't even to the #2 point......

I started again, trying to read through the eyes and mind of my 6o year old semi-agile, Aunt Gertrude....YIKES again.........I might as well suggest she take up gator wrestling in a quick sand pit.

Most people following your extremely good advice in points 2-5 will discover on their own, and be fully aware of the need for caution before beginning this wonderful new experience. on a 1 through 10 score, I'd say you have a 9.....that's 'minus the #1'
Reviewed by m j hollingshead
enjoyed the read.

sad to say I no longer ride, arthritis in hip ... trying to figure out a saddle that will let me sit as tho in a chair. regular saddle is misery, side saddle is worse.

Shadow is ruined for any other rider anyway, i had not been able to use leg etc motion for a long time when riding, and he knows little pats on the neck, twitch of the rein, and whispers; so i'm sure he would not be upset to a non traditional 'saddle' were i able to find such.

'Horses are benevolent and gentle' agree!

I would add scardey cat.... to this day that big, little bit quarter horse and whole lot thoroughbred, will run across pasture to try to hide behind me (5'2" when I stand real tall, 110 pounds) as a 'eat-a-horse' comes rumbling down the highway.
Reviewed by Regis Auffray
Interesting information, Karen. If you've read my latest poem, you know that I asked a question in it about "girls and horses." Love and peace to you,

Regis
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