At our farm, we recently planned a "try-a-ride" event. Basically, it was a way people could come and see what it's like at the farm and have a short mini-lesson. We thought that a lot of people have thought about riding horses, but didn't for one reason or another.
My lesson barn is filled with children. We do have some adult students, though, and we encourage adults to sign up for lessons too. We want them to feel welcome.
That being said, I think it's worth stating that starting riding lessons can be done at any age! You don't have to be a child to be able to learn to ride a horse well. In fact, for many reasons, I think adults have an advantage over children when it comes to learning to ride.
For starters, adults we have a better attention span. We chose we want to ride, and we focus on our instructors. Due to our maturity and life experience, we are able to learn things more quickly since we can understand the theory or reasoning behind them.
The next reason is that if you are taking riding lessons as an adult, that means it is something that you have chosen to pursue. As a beginner riding instructor, I have seen so many kids that don't excel with horses because they don't want to ride. For whatever reason, they just aren't into it. You can be the most athletic person on earth, and the quickest learner, and not excel if you don't want to be doing something. If you make the conscious decision to take lessons as an adult, you will be more dedicated than the child whose parents signs them up for something to do after school. You can control where you ride, how often you ride, etc. We do better with anything when we feel like we are in control of the decision to do it. If you decide to ride, you very well may be more dedicated than if you were forced to take lessons as a child.
From adults, I tend to hear more mention of fear. That they have responsibilities and are afraid of getting hurt and not being able to work. My argument for this is very simple. You could get hurt doing anything. You could get in a car accident that was no fault of your own or trip and fall down the stairs. You just never know what life may bring.
If you take the time to find a barn that has a good reputation for teaching beginner riding lessons, you can bet they have taken the time to find good horses – horses that are as safe and predictable as an animal with its own thought process can be. Part of a lesson horses job description is to ease new riders fears and build confidence.
A good instructor will respect your fear and see where you are coming from. They will also help you gain confidence in trust in them and the horses. Between the instructor and the lesson horses, your fear should quickly turn to a healthy respect for the animal, not a debilitating fear that keeps you from learning to ride.
I have found that fearful adult riders are easier to teach then fearful children. I can talk an adult through a situation and break things down for them. Since communication is so much easier with an adult than a scared child, they overcome their fears faster than a lot of children, who at their age, don't have the ability to rationalize what is going on.
As adults, we can think about things more clearly. We are able to vocalize our concerns or thoughts and ask questions.
Riding is good exercise as well. I mentioned that in another recent post. If you have trouble motivating yourself to exercise by walking or going to the gym, horseback riding may be a good choice for you. Riding builds muscle strength, muscle memory, coordination, and balance.
So many adults work indoors, stuck between four walls, starring at a screen all day. And that takes a toll. To be healthy human beings, we need sunlight and fresh air. Horseback riding is a way not just to get yourself active and moving but also to get you outside for a change. If you don't get much time outside, this is a way that you can commit to making time for outdoor activity.
Lastly, horses are therapeutic. They mirror our emotions and energy. They teach us how our energy affects other beings around us. They are beautiful and strong animals and learning how to communicate with them in their language is not only fun, it's also empowering.
So there you have it. If you are an adult who has always dreamed of riding horses, why not give it a try? It may be a step out of your comfort zone, but I bet you will be glad you decided to do it.
A true love of horses is something that you never outgrow. If you never had the chance to ride as a child, don't let that stop you. Nobody that loves horses should have to go through life without the chance to spend time with them.
Do something for yourself for a change! Horseback riding lessons aren't just for children. Your life will be much better with horses in it, I promise.