I began riding horses when I was 30 years old, which means that I was far, far past the time period in your life where you are not only fearless, but you also bounce when you hit the ground. This has made learning to ride a struggle, especially when you have to contend with an anxiety disorder on top of being fragile. The struggle is real, but that doesn’t mean the struggle isn’t relatable. So, here are some problems that only people who began riding when they were already an adult will understand.
1. You’re the oldest person in your beginner’s riding class.
When I started riding lessons, I was the oldest person in my class by about 20 years. That made things pretty awkward…
2. Wanting to go tack shopping, but you have bills to pay.
My best friend and I took a trip to Milwaukee this past February, and on the way we stopped at a Dover Saddlery store (because there isn’t one near us). We wanted to buy all the things, but we have bills to pay and no disposable income. 🙁
3. Falling off and needing three weeks to recover.
Kids fall off and bounce. They giggle and get back on the horse. When you’re over 30, you fall off and need weeks to recover. (Especially if you’ve spent most of your life with a messed up back already!)
4. Every horse movie and TV show you’ve ever seen has lied to you.
I got the impression from horse movies and TV shows that you just jumped on a horse and in minutes you were cantering and galloping down the beach, wind in your hair, enjoying life. No one told me that every. single. thing. about horseback riding was way harder than that! It took me nearly 4 years to get to the cantering stage, and I still haven’t ridden down the beach in the sunset, wind in my hair! Also, you can’t just get on a horse and start jumping in ten minutes.
5. You will never stop learning… and that’s a great thing.
When you start in adulthood, you have so much more to learn. I feel like I’m constantly “catching up” with my friends who have been around horses their entire lives. I’m constantly learning something new about horses, whether it be about tack, training techniques, feed, or a new barn hack. And that is amazing. I love to learn and I feel like I’ll never run out of new things to learn and do, which means that horses are always a fresh subject that I can’t get tired of!
How long have you been riding? What equestrian problems have you had? Let me know in the comments!