Preparing for the School

For most riders, going into the school is either their first step or a step that comes after learning a little. It’s an easy enough transition in regard to the fact they can see where they’re heading around the forty by twenty metre school. For me on the other hand, schooling is going to take on a whole mobility orientated journey.

I’ve become familiar over the past few years with the hacking routes we take but it is nothing like me using a cane or a guide dog. In my every day life I either use a cane to sweep left to right, right to left in front of me to detect any obstacles. I listen for traffic and judge when it’s safe to cross; I find cross lights, shop doors and such with the sweep of a cane. On my better mobility adventures are with Bailey my current Guide Dog who leads me around and avoids obstacles, keeping me in a straight line down a pavement to the best of his ability. On command, he will find a crossing light, shop doorway, the kerb, the post box and so much more. But when I started riding, it was like learning to get around all over again.

Suddenly, I was being lead around like I was in year three after I lost my sight. I had no control over where we were going and I only was giving the horse walk on commands.

Slowly, over time, my riding instructor let go of the proverbial and physical reins and I was given vocal instructions, left a bit, turn right, etc. That is where I generally am at unless I’m following another horse.

Without the physical cues I get on the ground, getting around on horse back isn’t as straight forward. But it’s doable with the right help and if I can follow, all the better.

Transferring those skills into the school, may be easy you may think. But suddenly, I have to adjust to a smaller area, with many turns and fences all around. So how do I make that transition?

The short answer is, I can’t. Until I’m physically in the school, on that horse, I will not know how easy it will be or indeed difficult it will be to adjust. I’m a fast learner of regular routes but ow this will fair in the school, I do not know.

To get the idea of how the school looks, I read Lorraine Jenning’s Getting Started, Know your School Guide from her website School Your Horse and started to map out what it said there onto a cork note board with drawing pins and then I labelled the pins, [markers] with their associated letters. Below is the picture.

Model of school

Hope this is a clear picture. It may not be perfect but by making it by myself, I could get a clear image in my head of the layout of the school. When riding in it, I know there will be a sheer difference but I’m excited to learn.

Are there any tips you guys would give me on preparing or is it just trying it and seeing how things work? Any tips for first private lesson? Show up earlier than time? Wear a specific thing? Any tips would be greatly appreciated guys?

In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the horses and keep on riding.

Marie

Marie

I am 29 and feel like I have more blogs than I care to think about. That's where Life without sight has come into it. I finally have grown up and stepped into the hosting world. Lets see how this goes :)

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. 3rd time lucky trying to write a comment I hope!

    One of the best ways to make full use of a lesson is know what you want to learn and choose your horse accordingly. Some horses are better to teach certain lessons and, once mastered, you can try on the harder horses. By turning up early (I was always told to be 15mins early), you may save riding time by discussing this beforehand.

    Secondly, don’t halt to receive instructions. You pay good money to learn and the RI’s job to make themselves heard: it’s not yours to stand still doing nothing while they whisper. Mileage on the horse matters, especially when learning the school, so at least walk while they talk!

    Balance on the corners is key to ride in a school. Knowing when the corners comes up help, and I imagine practice will help with that (maybe even counting strides). Motorbiking (when the horse leans is) is one of the biggest challanges to balance, so don’t be afraid of inside leg, outside rein to keep them on the right track.

    I don’t know the best way to learn the layout: I imagine trial, error and time will help you and the RI muddle along! Is it indoo or outdoor btw? Ie, would reflection of sound help or not? I may be clutching at straws though!

    With such little time costing so much money though, be in control of your education: know what you want and be vocal about your aims and expectations. Apart from all that, have fun and tell us ALL about it!

  2. Nothing can really prepare you for the turns in the school but you can focus on the way you carry yourself when you’re riding. Make sure the distance between your bottom rib and the top of your hip is the same at all times – especially when you;re on a bend – so you turn your body rather than lean in. Concentrate on carrying your hands at the same height and keeping an even weight on both sides of your seat. It’s these little things that will really help you to stay balanced in the saddle on circles adn turns. One really important thing to remember is that the horse knows where the corners etc are. Sighted riders often forget this too! They will turn when the fence comes up they don’t need to be steered everywhere. Ride forward into a contact and trust your horse to do the rest. You are going to have so much fun!

  3. The thing I think you might find tricky is corners. So don’t be worried if you, for example, don’t do any canter work at first, because the corners are so sharp it may take a while to get used to them if you can’t see them. Once when I was schooling I fell off because I wasn’t concentrating, cantering round and the horse turned round the corner but I kept going forwards! Ooops! Keep your inside leg on because riding school ponies have a habit of falling in. And most importantly, if they’re being lazy don’t be afraid to boot them one! 😀 😀 😀 Hope you have fun, not long now! 😀

  4. I WROTE A REALLY LONG COMMENT AND THEN IT DISAPPEARED!!!! To summarise: – Corners might be tricky cos I fell off at one once when I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realise the horse was about to turn, and I kept going – Inside leg on as riding school ponies fall in a lot – Don’t be afraid to boot them one 😉

  5. Or I was wrong and just didn’t see that the first comment had posted… Awkward now I can’t delete it…

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Preparing for the School

For most riders, going into the school is either their first step or a step that comes after learning a little. It’s an easy enough transition in regard to the fact they can see where they’re heading around the forty by twenty metre school. For me on the other hand, schooling is going to take on a whole mobility orientated journey.

I’ve become familiar over the past few years with the hacking routes we take but it is nothing like me using a cane or a guide dog. In my every day life I either use a cane to sweep left to right, right to left in front of me to detect any obstacles. I listen for traffic and judge when it’s safe to cross; I find cross lights, shop doors and such with the sweep of a cane. On my better mobility adventures are with Bailey my current Guide Dog who leads me around and avoids obstacles, keeping me in a straight line down a pavement to the best of his ability. On command, he will find a crossing light, shop doorway, the kerb, the post box and so much more. But when I started riding, it was like learning to get around all over again.

Suddenly, I was being lead around like I was in year three after I lost my sight. I had no control over where we were going and I only was giving the horse walk on commands.

Slowly, over time, my riding instructor let go of the proverbial and physical reins and I was given vocal instructions, left a bit, turn right, etc. That is where I generally am at unless I’m following another horse.

Without the physical cues I get on the ground, getting around on horse back isn’t as straight forward. But it’s doable with the right help and if I can follow, all the better.

Transferring those skills into the school, may be easy you may think. But suddenly, I have to adjust to a smaller area, with many turns and fences all around. So how do I make that transition?

The short answer is, I can’t. Until I’m physically in the school, on that horse, I will not know how easy it will be or indeed difficult it will be to adjust. I’m a fast learner of regular routes but ow this will fair in the school, I do not know.

To get the idea of how the school looks, I read Lorraine Jenning’s Getting Started, Know your School Guide from her website School Your Horse and started to map out what it said there onto a cork note board with drawing pins and then I labelled the pins, [markers] with their associated letters. Below is the picture.

Model of school

Hope this is a clear picture. It may not be perfect but by making it by myself, I could get a clear image in my head of the layout of the school. When riding in it, I know there will be a sheer difference but I’m excited to learn.

Are there any tips you guys would give me on preparing or is it just trying it and seeing how things work? Any tips for first private lesson? Show up earlier than time? Wear a specific thing? Any tips would be greatly appreciated guys?

In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the horses and keep on riding.

Marie

Marie

I am 29 and feel like I have more blogs than I care to think about. That's where Life without sight has come into it. I finally have grown up and stepped into the hosting world. Lets see how this goes :)