Thoughts about riding lessons from a new student

Jan started riding lessons with me this summer. She has taken lessons with me before, playing on-line and at liberty with her pony. This year, she was ready to start riding, and we began with a foundation that will help her stay safe and have fun no matter where her riding journey takes her.

Here is what Jan has to say about her first 10 lessons:

I feel so fortunate to be having this amazing mid-life experience of learning something as incredible as riding a horse. I have always appreciated the strength and beauty of horses, but not being a horse-crazy girl, I never thought I would have the chance or the desire to learn to ride. And then, as a complete riding novice, to get to learn to ride from a gifted natural horsemanship instructor feels indescribably lucky!

It has been incredibly freeing to be going into the lessons with few, if any, irrational riding fears for several reasons. One reason is that as I approach my 50th birthday, I have made a personal paradigm shift about fear. Another reason is that I have no prior horse fear or pain experiences.

Another reason is that I completely trust Erin Murphy to teach me how to ride safely, which is exactly what she has done. She started by teaching me to safely mount and dismount. The more confident I became at dismounting, the more confident I became in everything else.

First I learned how to dismount from a stop, but I also have learned how to do an “emergency” or “flying” dismount while my horse is walking. (Next step: practicing the flying dismount at the trot!)

In my most recent lessons, I have practiced lateral bends and the one-rein stop, and we have started working on developing balance, feel, and an independent seat.

It has also helped to have been absorbing natural horsemanship concepts from a beloved, lifelong horse-loving partner for about three years before these formal riding lessons began. When you add the bonuses of getting to play with our own horses on the ground and to regularly help with ranch work on a natural horsemanship ranch with about 16 horses, it just feels like being in the perfect place at the perfect time. If you have an opportunity to just be with horses…moving them, watching them in a herd, and feeding them, before or as you are learning to ride, do it!

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