The Beginners Advantage

Someone asked me why my school has always put a lot of time and resources into our beginners riders. I outline a few of our reasons below.

I have asked a favour of you in this video and to all the beginners out there, remember, it’s never too late!

36 thoughts on “The Beginners Advantage”

  1. 1) How to connect better with my horse. 2) Our horses bring me peace and companionship. They are the silver lining when life is full of storm clouds. 3) I never officially learned to ride so I never really considered myself an equestrian. I’m simply Chappy and Nabilla’s human or sometimes I call my self their Momma. ie. “Momma’s here to feed you”

    1. Vibecke Lindner

      I fell in love with horses at 3-4 years i was at a farm in Austria i got on bare back and he was great i brushed his hair with my moms hair brush during my years i got on every horse i could and sort off taught myself ! Siriously i have been riding know for 2 years with lessons on a weekly basis and it has been quite a challege to unlearn riding the wrong Diagonal but i have awesome trainers and a great barn familie and starting to feel more confident in my riding even thou i have my achiles heel (the good old Diagonal) but horses are for me therapie they calm me down .And know at 49-50 i bought my own horse and was given my 2nd horse i love just being with them i will just go and sit with them and talk or groom them while singing to them it was very important to me to establish a relationship with them befor i ride Cody is my first Boy and i have ridden him know and feel we are a team Doller i have not had a chance to ride him yet due to no indoor Arena and the timeing i got him and he got hurt and needed stiches that are know heeled but we have had too much snow! But he knows he,s loved and can,t wait to ride him! Think it will be quite the adventure as we have had quite awhile to get to know one another!

      1. Thanks for writing Vibecke. It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with both of your horses.
        Best of luck with Doller in the spring.

  2. Lori A. Gordon

    1. I wish that I had known that it’s more about the relationship between horse and person, than just learning how to do things a certain way (the only “right” way).

    2. My horse helps me be a better person – more present and more focused. He is a wonderful therapist!

    3. I call myself a very blessed person to own, love and spend time with a horse.

  3. Jolene VanCleve

    I am a horse lover. I wish when I first learned how to ride horses the following things should have been stressed more: the fact that each horse is as individual as each of us are (just like people), there are different ways of doing things, and there needs to be mutual respect between horse n rider.

    1. Carol Kogut

      I’m 74 and just learning to ride English. I have a wonderful teacher. The horse I ride is owned by someone else who boards him. I feel so relaxed and at peace when I go there I love to brush him. They are so beautiful animals. I would consider myself a horse loved. Wish I had a farm and horses many years ago

    2. Back in the early 2000’s we had 38 horses at the farm. (They retire here so at that point almost 11 of them were enjoying their twilight years with us…) Each and every one of them were unique and amazing in their own way. I have found that the individual aspect of horses is a surprise to a lot of new students.

  4. Kelly K Fort

    I call myself a rider. My horse is my best friend. She is my sanity in this crazy world.

  5. Elizabeth Reece

    Hi Pat, thank you so much for your videos, I am so glad I found your website. We bought a 3 yr old horse for my granddaughter 6 years ago . After 2 years, high school marching band and now college has taken her away from General. sooo now he is my expensive lawn ornament. But I love him to death! I feed and groom him, just wish I knew more about how to take care of him. We have a round pen and all the equipment. Spent a small fortune getting him and my granddaughter both trained. I am 66, took riding lessons like every other English kid back in the 60’s but never really liked it much. I would love to be able to ride General, but not sure if having a hip replacement would allow it. I love being General’s “Nana” he gives the best hugs and kisses and seems to know when I need cheering up. I talk to him all the time. My husband tells me that General doesn’t know what I’m saying but I think he does. Once again thank you for taking the time to do the videos and help us old newbies.

    1. General is lucky to have you in his life. I think horses understand tone of voice perfectly. So while your husband might be right that technically General doesn’t know exactly what you’re saying, I believe they ‘get us’ much more than they are given credit.
      Thanks, Elizabeth.

  6. Kelly Swanson

    I have always loved horses. I have ridden horses but only on trail rides and did take a week of lessons. Never consided myself as a good rider.

    My first horse is Hugo, he has a bad back so riding is not an option. I love him anyway for he is fun to hang out with as are all the other 11 horses at the farm.

    I listen to what others say and I never get angry at a horse for anything. If sonething doesn’t work out it is never a horse problem it is a people problem. A horse should never be blamed for anything.

    1. Someone wiser than me once told me that the horse knows how to be a horse and it is us who need to learn to be riders/handlers etc.
      I love that idea and your horses are lucky that you believe that too.

  7. Judith McCracken

    I inherited my love for horses from my parents. They went for a ride in the woods every Sat am while we watched cartoons and ate cereal (There were 5 of us). I watched them enjoy one another and the horses. We were members of a riding club and participated in gymkhana events. Our horses were bomb proof of course. We grew up in the country living the country life.
    The only instructions we were given was “Get up there and don’t fall off”. Now I’m 67 yrs old. Not riding much because I don’t trust my own reflexes, my horse is great. She’s an Icelandic Horse with big brown teddy-bear eyes and thick furry ears. We have 5 and they all talk to me in one way or another. I’m a horse lover, I teach any kid who is willing how to ride or even just behave around a horse. I think they are fascinating creatures! Yes, get them started off right and the seed will have been planted. They will have their own horse one day and the tradition continues.

    1. What great childhood memories! I’m so glad you still have horses in your life.
      And your horses are lucky, too.

  8. Joan

    I came to love horses through my daughter and didn’t get on one for many years. When I did start riding I called myself insane after all I was 50ish but I have never enjoyed something so much or stuck with it so long. Each horse is different and I enjoy trying to undersand out what gets me the result I am looking for, keeps me thinking.

    1. I do seem to recall the word “insane” coming up once or twice…
      Shade wants to know when you plan to get back in touch…she misses her lessons with you!

  9. So many at my barn were trying to tell me the right way to do things with my horse they made me nervous and afraid I was going to mess him up. When I finally decided I to focus on bonding with him first I started having more fun and so did he. My horse allows to baby him and cuddle with him, my kids are adults now. I call myself a horse person.

    1. I think you were very wise to concentrate on making the connection with your horse. That would have been almost impossible if the advice you were getting made you nervous and afraid. It sounds like things are going great.
      All the best,

  10. Walka M Wardell

    Good morning Pat,
    I want to begin by stating that I feel so fortunate to have discovered you and I want you to know how MUCH I enjoy your videos. You are just a pure soul with such an educational background and passion to help and impart knowledge and help those of us on our way to diving deeper in our relationship with our horses.
    1. I wish first of all that I had started riding sooner. My daughter rides and sometimes I join her but I was injured while riding my original horse so I am working through some fear now and focusing on the relationship I share with our other three and especially my heart horse, Snickers.
    2. My Snickers is my companion… he lingers in the barn and looks deeply in my eyes. He beckons me in his stall and allows me to snuggle with him while he is laying down. I believe he knows that I need him and has helped me through some deep emotional places and has brought me a very pure and deep love into my life. He wraps his neck around me and holds me and I feel blessed to know his love.
    3. I call myself a horse lover. I am humbled to care for them, ride them, and understand they are more than an animal… they are a part of our family and our hearts. I inherited Snickers as a gift from my husband after my very serious injury and also after the loss of some family members. I call him my baby and refer to myself as his Momma.

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words. I really appreciate it.
      I agree…they are part of our family and our hearts. Saying you are ‘humbled to care for them…’ is a beautiful statement.
      Thanks, again

  11. Patty Stein

    1. I have loved horses for as long as I can remember. If I had only known from the beginning what sensitive souls they are and having a heavy hand with them isn’t always the best answer.
    I wish I had known at the beginning how to:
    a. read their body language,
    b. how to better understand them
    They are the teachers, not us. They will teach you something about yourself. Horses force me to be in the moment, to be mindful – to let go of “stuff” for a bit.

    I call myself a horse lover! (maybe even a fanatic)
    thanks for these videos – These are really helpful and the way you explain them is so straightforward and easy to understand – you don’t over complicate lessons! a real value in teaching.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more Patty. The horse is the BEST teacher, whether it’s while learning to ride or while learning about ourselves.
      Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to write.

  12. Lynette christensen

    Thank you Pat for your videos and knowledgeable information.
    I fell in love w Shetland ponies when I was 6 yrs old.
    Rode at riding stables from junior high till high school graduation.
    Bought my first horse when 22 yrs old. She was as green as I was.
    Months of lessons from handling on the ground and riding .
    By 25 I was showing in western and trail classes. First child at 28, second at 30 yrs old. Both children began riding lessons at age 3-4 and showing at 5 on up. I’d gotten experienced enough to train my daughters first green broke horse when she was 10. My sons first welsh pony when he was 8 yrs old.
    At age 36 I was dumped and suffered a compression fracture.
    After a year or so I went back to riding but not with the intense desire to compete nor pleasure trail.
    My love has never stopped. The wonderful smell and breath of my deepest love still lingers.
    I lost my last horse when I was 65. I’m now 72 and many many days I long for the loving feel the magnificent friendship I’d shared with Gods greatest gift.
    True friendship walks on 4 hooves

    1. Lynette, thank you so much for writing. What a beautiful way of describing your feelings about horses. I found it very moving.
      Thanks so much

  13. Fiona

    Hi Pat!

    First off – I LOVE your philosophy of why you enjoy teaching beginner riders. We need more people like you coaching newcomers to this sport/passion.

    To answer your questions …

    1. I wish my introduction to horse riding lessons – officially started at 9 years of age – had started from the ground up. There is so much more to learn than just how to ride. I am at least thankful for my years in Pony Club, where I learned important horsemanship skills ie. how to clean stalls, tack, feed and nutrition, etc. – although I can’t remember ever being taught about the importance of developing a relationship with a horse. As a matter of fact, I clearly remember being told that horses were not very intelligent – actually ‘dumb’.
    I also want to add that I think it would be lovely if barns offered lessons to individuals interested in horses, but not riding. I know people who love horses, but, for a variety of reasons, are not interested in riding. I’ve recently befriended a woman who has become interested in horses through default because of her daughter’s passion. This woman LOVES being around horses, and always wants to learn more, but is not interested in riding. I have also met people who think the sole purpose of owning a horse is to ride it. I try hard to change their thinking.

    2. Horses make me feel at home. As a kid, I was happy just to be dropped off at the barn, even if I couldn’t ride. I would groom, muck out, clean tack, sit in the paddock, and just breathe in that beautiful smell we all know and love. A bad day ALWAYS turns itself around when you’re at ‘the barn’.

    3. I call myself pretty much anything but an equestrian. Something about that word has always sounded snobbish to me. I’m not sure why, it just does. For some reason, I also think it seems to focus on English riding. Although I am an English rider, I appreciate all styles. I think I’ve actually met more genuine horse people who ride Western, to be honest. My daughter has chosen Western. Usually I call myself a horse person, a horsey girl, a horsewoman, a horse lover, a horse nut …

    Thanks for all you are doing here, Pat. Although we’ve never met, I feel connected to you and your passion. You are living the life that I dream of! Please continue to follow this path – our horses (and their humans) – will be greatly rewarded by your efforts.

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Fiona. It is a wonderful thing to know that you love and value horses they way I do.
      I really appreciate it.

  14. Theresa

    I learned to ride as a kid.
    Nothing formal, fell off , dusted off and got back on.
    Dad bought my first pony @ 9.
    I’m 59 now
    Returned to the love of owning a horse 20+Years ago
    He’s my sanity, I do lean into him w my arm stretched around his neck, my heart next to him and breath in his smell 🥰
    Love to ride alone – just us enjoying the scenery
    He’s a Walker, so I ask him to ‘dance’ for me then we canter a bit
    I would like to teach our granddaughter to ride – she’s 7.
    So I’d love to teach !! No ideas where to start though

    1. Thanks Theresa. I think horses provide sanity for a lot of us. I’m glad you have your Walker to give that to you.
      Your granddaughter will probably learn a lot just by watching how you are with your horse. Your relationship with him sounds wonderful.

  15. Karen Dance

    Hi Pat,
    Sorry…just managed to get to this so hope I’m not too late to answer questions.

    1. Wish I had learned? Well, I started learning at your barn, so all the things I learned when I took lessons were all good things. I learned that horses each have their own personality and quirks. I learned that connecting with the horse made for a better experience for both. I realized that horses are like pets, just larger! They love their people and form relationships with humans like other animals do. I realize now that people can own horses not to ride, but just because they can. I always thought you had to ride a horse to own one, but it seems, it’s not always that way. You can own a horse just because you love them.

    2. Connecting-I always loved looking at horses, being around horses any chance I could and finally in my late 40’s took lessons and couldn’t stop smiling at my first lesson. I thought I was too old (wasn’t apparently). I think I might too old to come back to it, so a course that you develop with this in mind would be great. I loved everything about brushing the horses, picking out their feet, and making them feel good both before, during and after a lesson. I learned a lot about this and how it connects the horse and rider to build a relationship.

    3. I think calling myself a horse lover is a good way to put it. I’m not a rider but am gearing up to start again.

    1. Thanks, Karen.
      Being around horses provides great benefits for all of us. There is almost a mystical connection, for those of us who love horses.
      Great to hear from you. I hope all is well.

  16. Pat Pahmeier

    I wish I knew when I was younger how horses think. I now understand their behavior much more than I did when showing QH’s at the age of 12. Back in the sixties, we knew nothing of ground work. It was a tougher time of breaking horses. I remember having my nose broken in eighth grade when the ‘trainer’ was trying to teach hunt seat equitation to a young mare. I was green, so was the horse. The trainer said jerk down on her mouth when she would break at the trot. Of course it was against my better judgement, but I was twelve. After I was thrown, she proceeded to beat the horse. My parents fired her on the spot, but I did learn something that day. The horse did nothing wrong. It’s always the human failing to communicate. I am a much different person with my horse today. I am the ‘treat lady’. I tell people I have a horse and I ride for pleasure. My horse brings me pure joy.

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