Started riding lessons again after years out of the saddle

So, at 58 I’m taking riding lessons. Ironically, I pretty much stopped riding when I bought my farm and brought my horse home. Living alone I realized that if I were to pull a Christopher Reeve in the field, I could be out there for days before someone missed me. For 15 years, I’ve only ridden rarely, while continuing to feed and maintain my now 3 horses.

A month ago, I had a day off and went to a friend’s lesson before we continued on to lunch. So the bug bit me again, and here I am. edging past middle age, in boots and breeches learning hunt seat. My previous discipline was dressage, and even after all these years, my body still remembers how I’m supposed to feel in the saddle. Unfortunately, that’s not how hunt seat feels - there’s a whole different body position. But, on the plus side, jumping!

So this will be an adventure. Will I stick with hunt seat? Go back to dressage? Buy another horse? Who knows?


Wow. Due to our schedules, my gf and I tend to mostly ride solo. I’m 61 and she is 60, so we should probably be more cautious, but the idea of dying alone in the woods has a certain attraction. :slight_smile:

Being eaten by vultures while still alive is less attractive, however. :smiley:


Spooktober appropriate, though!

I rode dressage for many years. When I went back to riding I decided it would be fun to be a hunter princess. No, it was not. I put my dressage saddle on Ariel and it was like coming home. The important thing is to have fun. And don’t fall in love with and buy your lesson horse. Ask me how I know…

Back in the day I did everything (including a little jumping) in my dressage saddle. It was comfy for long trail rides, secure enough for little jumps (which was all I was interested in). just an all-around great saddle. A cheap Wintec, too. But I could ride all day in that thing.

It just seems so wrong to be asked to sit on the front of my pelvis, and have my arms out in front of me. and the lesson horse was a western horse first, so wants very little contact in his mouth. Now I’m not jerky. and I’m not trying to balance on the reins, but I’m used to feeling my horse in my hands. The whole position is not what I’m used to. It’s funny, you wouldn’t think that after so many years since dressage lessons, my body would still remember what it should feel like.


Hunt seat feels so wrong to me. Balance on your crotch, short stirrups, sway back (stick my ass out even more), and ride with your reins. Horse strung out and completely on the forehand. I love having the horse working off my seat and legs. Yeah, I’m a dressage queen

I’m glad it’s not just me. After dipping my toe in, I may just find a dressage trainer. I’ve decided to do 6 lessons. By then I should know if it’s just me being unsteady in hunt seat, or if it’s just not for me.


Congrats! You are both making me smile (and giving me hope that maybe, one day…)

I started Western, moved to Hunter in college, then added dressage. I gave up my last horse about 10 years ago and I miss it every day.

I don’t remember hunt seat feeling all that strange. Of course, imagine my shock when I started sitting the trot more for dressage. :smiley:

I use my dressage saddle for everything too. I came back to riding after forty years! I was 58 when I was given a young Morgan mare who’d never been started. We are doing great together four years later. I almost always ride alone on trails. I take my phone with me, but riding alone in the forest is my joy and I am not going to give it up until I have to. I take (dressage) lessons when I can, I ride with friends when I can.

Jumping is pretty much the most dangerous activity in an already risky sport, if you are concerned about safety I’d stick to flat work.

It’s the body position. In dressage, you have a straight line from shoulders to elbows to hips to ankles. In hunt seat you rock forward on your pelvis, moving your shoulders forward (and making it feel like your butt is hanging out). And you hold your hands further in front of you, bringing your elbows out from the vertical. I say I have good posture because of dressage.

Can you maybe find a place to take lessons?

Ulfreida - I’m not (so) worried about falling as I am worried about being hurt and no one knowing. Although a friend trail rides all the time and she uses an app for her phone. If she stops moving for more than a set period of time, it contacts her husband. That makes a lot of sense to me.


I use a western saddle, but it is parlay synthetic and designed to be lighter weight. If I use my gf’s Austalian saddle I’m ok, but her English saddle feels weird.

Last summer I bought a little phone pouch that attaches to my saddle. I really liked it, then my gf pointed out that if I got thrown/injured my phone might walk away from me.

There are phone belts for joggers or you could wear a fanny pack.

No, I couldn’t.


I don’t know boo about riding, so I suppose I don’t belong in this thread. But I used to go riding with a friend through a state park in PA, and I’ve ridden a handful of other time, and I’ve loved it. (although now my knees aren’t up to it.) Please keep writing about the physicallity of riding – I am getting great pleasure reading about what you are doing.

Of course you are welcome in this thread. As far as the physicality of riding, I use muscles that I don’t use in other activity. It can be a core workout for me I that I use my abs during transitions. My outer thighs can get tight and cramp if I’m moving my legs back to work on lateral moves.

I know. :stuck_out_tongue: I think I was mostly commenting on my lost youth, where I didn’t find it strange to switch back and forth. :slight_smile:

I learned on an English saddle, lo these many moons ago, and was started on jumping and whatnot then moved back to the western US and had to adapt to the western saddle. It’s still hard for me to NOT post at the trot and feels odd to neck rein using one hand but I will say I rather appreciate how western trained horses have such soft mouths. I don’t see how in hell you’d be expected to take a jump over a trail obstacle with that monster horn in the way but I guess needs must when the devil drives.

I’d like to get back into riding but I just don’t have the access I did back in the day and I prefer trail riding to circling an arena. I just like working with the beasts and I miss that.

For those that don’t feel fit enough to ride (and you’d be surprised how unfit you can be and still ride). I know people who’ve taken up competitive driving when their riding days were over. A mini is an easy keeper and can pull an adult.

As for western, when I was a kid, I’d ride my bike to a classmate’s house and pick one of their ponies and ride. Stock saddles were too heavy for me, so I either rode English or bareback. I just can’t feel the horse beneath me in a western saddle.


A few years ago, our normally sure footed gelding, Jake, stumbled badly while I was inattentive. The horn stopped me from going to the ground over Jake’s head, but left a massive bruise.

{place seque here}

A friend of mine who is in his late 70s, did some competitive calf roping as a young dude. He still has his saddle, and he works the leather periodically in case he wants to ride. He asked if I’d like to give it a try, so I drove over to get it. I could barely lift it off the stand, it weighed more than him! I’ll stick with mine.