Learning to Ride!

learning to rideHello!

Whether you’ve been in the saddle since you were born, or are just considering taking up horse riding, it’s a question most riders wonder at some point: how long does it take to learn to ride?

It’s a simple question but, of course, there’s no easy answer!!

It depends what you want to do. It depends where and how often you ride. It depends on your age, balance, strength, stamina, concentration, riding instructor, the pony you ride, and many other things,

At the end of the day, the answer really is forever! You never stop learning – there’s always something new to try, something else to learn, another horse to ride. The better you get, the the higher your expectations will be of yourself, and the more challenging horses you’ll be able to ride.

However truthful that answer may be, it’s not always helpful!! Everyone learns at different rates so it’s important not to compare yourself to others, but it can be interesting to know the average time scales.

To be able to walk, trot, and canter confidently off the lead rein, my riding school say – with a 45 minute private lesson every week – usually takes about 6-8 weeks. However, it’s important to note that “confident” doesn’t neccessarily mean competent. Multitasking is one of the most difficult things for new riders to master (or mistress – language is sexist)!

The time scales vary for everyone, especially according to age. Younger children take much longer to learn new skills. It took me weeks and weeks before I could trot. My sister, who started riding when she was a few years older than I had been, pretty much learnt rising trot in her first lesson.

I can’t remember how long it took me to become confident at the basics. I know I was jumping within 8 months of weekly group lessons, but my diary was a bit irregular back then and I think I’d been jumping months before. My sister started learning to jump before she’d even had 9 lessons, which suprised me a bit. I think her instructor was pushing her a bit more than usual because she wanted to join the teenage lessons rather than ride with the little children.

As a general guide, I reckon it takes about 12 lessons (if you ride for an hour every week with a qualified instructor and well-behaved pony) to be  confident and competent enough to begin learning to jump! The real answer though, as I said before, is that learning to ride takes a lifetime!! Enjoy the experience!!!

Do you think this time scale sounds realistic? How long did it take you to be confident in walk, trot, and canter? Or are you just starting to learn? Let me know what you think!

Horse Daydreamer xxx

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