As I have been growing in my experience with horses I have come to understand the importance and differences of taking lessons versus not taking lessons. I have realized that both are equally important when developing riding skills. I have taken many lessons while I have been riding horses and I have learned a lot, not only from the trainers, but also from their horses. But, I have also realized that developing a balance between taking lessons and working one on one with your horse, is also very important. I feel the rewarding moments with your horse don’t only come when you take lessons with a trainer, but also when you spend quality time with your horse alone. So, what are the benefits of taking lessons? But also, what are the benefits of not taking lessons?
Let’s start with taking lessons… when I found my “right barn”, I started taking lessons with my trainer and let me tell you, it has been so rewarding to see myself progress in my riding through taking riding lessons on a weekly basis. I have been so blessed to be a part of the barn and the friends I have met while being there. Riding lessons have been a huge part of my horsie life in the past 2 years. They have contributed to shaping who I am as a rider which I am truly grateful for. Lessons have molded me into the rider I had always hoped I would become…a confident rider.
I feel that taking lessons is important for every rider in developing different skills and also learning to take advice and direction from other people. I call it, “eyes on the ground.” This basically means taking advice from someone who is not riding, but has their eyes on the ground. You can see many different things while riding, but you can also see many things while observing from the ground. That is why it is very important to take a lesson or a few lessons just to see where you need to improve in your riding. There are some things in my riding that I would not have been able to achieve without my trainer and now that I have learnt them I have definitely improved as a rider.
Now, I want to mention that my confidence did not only grow from taking lessons, but I have also become confident by riding on my own as well. I feel that becoming confident inside of yourself begins with one on one time with your horse. I can fake confidence pretty well on the outside, (well, most of the time), but sometimes on the inside I am FREAKING out and breaking down (I am sure you can relate)! As riders, once we become confident within ourselves we don’t feel persuaded or moved by the judgement of others. I usually go out to the barn about 3 days a week and I usually have a lesson once a week. So, on those two other days, I really spend time working with Sky and Kahari. When I am working one on one with them I feel that I am more relaxed and able to focus on myself and on the horse. Those two days of the week help me to strengthen my confidence, significantly while working on the feedback my trainer provided during my lesson.
So… should you take lessons or should you not? My answer is…I feel that a balance of both riding lessons and working by yourself with your horse are equally important in becoming successful and progressing in your riding journey. I promise you that a balance of both will help you grow and develop in your riding in great ways! Also, the amazing thing too is that you don’t have to start with riding if you feel you aren’t quite ready. You can take groundwork lessons with a trainer and progress to riding when you feel you are ready (or your trainer feels it is time).
My challenge for you this week is to consider taking some lessons locally with a trainer either with your horse or a lesson horse. You do not have to take multiple lessons. Try one and see how it goes! I also challenge you to work with your horse one on one and see what happens. You may surprise yourself (and your horse).
“Why do I ride horses? Because I look at my horse and I see my hopes and dreams. I see my happiness. I see my success. I see my pride and my soul. I look in the mirror and I see a person. I look at my horse and I see myself.”
Until next time… don’t forget to hug your horse!