Is it unrealistic to learn to ride a horse without lessons?

Farmer Mike S

Songster
7 Years
Oct 18, 2012
274
11
104
Glen Mills, PA
I'm 18 and while it's unusual for guys to ride horses in my area, I'm thinking about getting into horseback riding. Acquiring a horse isn't a big issue because I have money, and finding a place to keep it isn't either because I got two relatives within a mile who each have horse barns with no horses and open land. The only issue is learning how to ride. I have no horse riding experience and I don't quite have an abundance of time or money for scheduled lessons. I also kind of feel like a little kid by getting lessons for something.

What I was considering doing is buying an old beat horse that someone doesn't really want anymore and is nice and easy with riders. I've seen these horses before, they aren't really the most exciting horses, but they're often used to beginners and new riders so they are good learning horses. People are also sometimes willing to give these away because they don't serve much purpose anymore. It wouldn't be an issue to me because I wouldn't expect to do anything wild for awhile. My mom rode horses as a teenager so she may also be able to give some advice, but it's also been about 30 years since she was on one.

I'm really making a lot of assumptions though, I've never brought up this idea to anyone who knows a thing about horses. I could be way over my head here!
 

TLWR

Crowing
9 Years
Jul 10, 2010
2,879
253
254
southern AL
How much do you know about horses?
When was the last time you were on a horse?
I'd invest in a few lessons - 1, to make sure you'd really want to do this and 2, so you are at least getting some instruction.
I know plenty of adults doing lessons, some that were horse people as kids/teens wanting to brush up again after some time away. No reason to feel like a little kid.
 

Stacykins

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 19, 2011
4,355
223
258
Escanaba, MI
I'm 18 and while it's unusual for guys to ride horses in my area, I'm thinking about getting into horseback riding. Acquiring a horse isn't a big issue because I have money, and finding a place to keep it isn't either because I got two relatives within a mile who each have horse barns with no horses and open land. The only issue is learning how to ride. I have no horse riding experience and I don't quite have an abundance of time or money for scheduled lessons. I also kind of feel like a little kid by getting lessons for something.

What I was considering doing is buying an old beat horse that someone doesn't really want anymore and is nice and easy with riders. I've seen these horses before, they aren't really the most exciting horses, but they're often used to beginners and new riders so they are good learning horses. People are also sometimes willing to give these away because they don't serve much purpose anymore. It wouldn't be an issue to me because I wouldn't expect to do anything wild for awhile. My mom rode horses as a teenager so she may also be able to give some advice, but it's also been about 30 years since she was on one.

I'm really making a lot of assumptions though, I've never brought up this idea to anyone who knows a thing about horses. I could be way over my head here!
Because of this statement, it is absolutely imperative you get some lessons under your belt with a professional before setting of on your own. Even on a bombproof horse. I'm not saying you need to learn high end dressage or whatever, but you need to know how to actually work with a horse. There are a lot of things you need to learn before you even get on the horse. Grooming (brushing and hoof picking), tacking up (how to put on a bridle, where to put the saddle, how tight the girth is, etc.), and working with the horse on the ground. As an example, I have seen someone's saddle slip to the side...with them in it...because they didn't tighten the girth properly. When you actually get on the horse, balance is basically lesson number one, and horse riding isn't as easy as you'd imagine it is. You can't learn it from a book or the internet, most of it is instinct and feel.

I personally took lessons for most of my youth until my teenage years, and after a ten year hiatus, I got back to taking lessons recently. Guess where I started? Square one! There are a lot of things I do still remember, but it is amazing at how much I don't remember, even with the experience. My second lesson, the horse tripped at a trot and off I popped and into the dirt! And I know exactly why I fell, my balance was completely off. If I'd have been balanced, I'd have maintained my seat. At least I had mostly correct posture and quiet hands burned into my memory!

An instructor shouldn't make you feel like a little kid. And an instructor should be willing to give private lessons so you don't get stuck with children in the lesson. That will allow the instructor to focus only on you so you can improve with every lesson. Depending on where you live, lessons shouldn't be too unreasonable with time or cost, either. Time is usually an hour a week unless you want more. I've had lessons that have ranged from free to $80 an hour. The current gal I take lessons with charges me $35 for an hour long lesson.

So that is my short spiel. If you want to start off correctly, you need to get some riding lessons. Also, I do not recommend purchasing a horse right away, either. Leasing a horse is a smart decision, so you know if it is actually for you without the lifelong commitment.
 

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