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Need help!

  1. Dec 28, 2006 #1
    Someone here who knows about horse riding?
    I've joined a horse riding club, and was taught how to post on my first day. I'm sill learning and my posting isn't half as good as it is supposed to be. I went to the club last thursday, then day before yesterday, and then yesterday. Today would be my 4th day.
    On my first day, i was fine. the next morning, after I wokeup, i had cramps in my back and upper legs (The part of the upper legs, where the thighs join with the pelvis). But it wasn't severe. When I rid day before yesterday, I was perfectly fine. That day I rid really good, and after I rid, I had a little tingling (nice) feeling in the same part, where the thighs joins with the pelvis. Next morning after I woke up, again the cramps were more. Then yesterday when I rid, things got bad. Riding wasn't good, I couldn't post properly because I had a really bad headache, lots of bumps, and then a backache. By the time I reached home, I had backache, but the pains was drowned by the pain in my thighs, and especially that same place where the thighs join with the pelivs. I good walk properly though, but the pain increased. Now today after I woke up, I can't even stand striaght, the cramps are really bad. I can''t walk properly either.

    Is this normal? I thought cramps come once and then don't come again unless there's a gap. Why am I getting cramps after every time I ride.
     
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  3. Dec 28, 2006 #2
    You may want to consider to start stretching. It's probably the most important thing you could do especially before a jarring activity like horseback riding.
     
  4. Dec 28, 2006 #3

    Danger

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    My personal opinion of horses is that Alpo has the right idea, but my boss is a barrel-racer. Maybe I can talk her into responding to this the next time she's available.
    (And a big reason for my opinion of horses is that when I went to visit my uncle at the age of 15, he offered a chance to ride his daughter's horse. I went through every word for 'stop' in 5 languages, and the damned thing didn't know any of them. When he hit the end of the pasture and headed home, my knee was scraping the turf. Scared the living **** out of me. 20 years later, my mother happened to mention that my cousin was the western Canadian women's barrel-racing champion... and guess what ****ing horse they put me on. :grumpy:)
     
  5. Dec 28, 2006 #4
    Horseback riding is a very physically demanding sport. You may not notice it, because you're concentrating on controlling the horse, but in actuality, your whole body is getting a very intense workout, especially your thighs, butt, stomach, and back. Next time you ride, notice how you squeeze the horse with your knees/thighs and you will see why you're sore. It's very common. The best thing you can do is stay hydrated and stretch a couple times a day for about 10 minutes at a time (especially before and after you ride). Ibuprofen will take the edge off the soreness. You can also ice your muscles AFTER you're done riding (NOT before). It will probably take about 2-3 weeks for your muscles to get used to the workout and will gradually not hurt anymore (though you will still get tired). Keep at it.

    Chicken**** disclaimer: If you feel you may be injured, as opposed to just being sore, it wouldn't hurt to see a doctor.
     
  6. Dec 28, 2006 #5
    Oh God, I didn't go today to the riding club because in really bad shape. Can't even stand straight.
    And thanks for the replies. I just realized, I never even warmed up once before horse riding. So I guess I won't be riding for a few days. Does that mean I'll start getting cramps all over again when I start again???
    I can't put ice on because it already is freezing cold, but I can heat my legs. I'll take ibuprofen.
    I've joined the club to go for 2 days in a week, which would be the weekends, would that have any effect.
    I'll start stretching a bit now, which I don't know how I'll do because I can barely move my legs. And I'm drinking pedialite already.

    Thanks a lot for the replies. I was worries that maybe I'm going nuts, and I forgot what cramps are like and maybe the tendons in my legs have torn or something :p, but it's good to know this is common. I know I'm not injured, because i was fine after riding, I guess it's fatigue and cramps.
    Thanks once again.
     
  7. Dec 28, 2006 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    Stretching and warming up help to make it less painful, and reduce the possibility of tissue damage.

    What you are describing appears to be essentially very underused muscles being asked to work overtime - like the adductor muscles in your legs (ones that make your legs grab onto the side of the horsie). It's like the 'weekend athlete' problem a lot of office workers experience.

    When you want to build up muscle strength you cannot overwork muscles daily. The preferred (less painful longterm) way is to work muscles two or three times a week with at least one day off between workouts for the muscle group involved. Since horseback riding involves LOTS of muscle groups that literally means one day, one day off. Continue daily with no rest days, and it will probably lead to muscle or connective tissue injury, forcing a long layoff. It sounds like you are getting to a layoff point already. When you go back, ease into it, with days off, until you have developed enough muscle strength to handle it every day.
     
  8. Dec 28, 2006 #7

    Moonbear

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    Basically, horseback riding uses muscles you have very little reason to use for any other reason in daily life. (Danger, don't go there!) So, it sounds like you started off WAY too quickly. I'm surprised you weren't started on a slower pace and required to warm up first. Are you receiving lessons from a qualified trainer? Usually, you don't start posting on your very first day, and certainly don't take daily lessons. I haven't taken many lessons (didn't have a lot of time for it) but have been around a lot of "horsey" type people, so discuss these things with them.

    Usually, your first lesson will simply be how to take care of the horse you're going to ride...grooming, checking and cleaning their hooves, putting on the saddle and getting a bit into the horse's mouth, learning how to adjust the stirrups and reins for a comfortable ride for both you and the horse. Then you move up to getting onto the horse, posture, how to hold your feet and legs, holding the reigns properly, and just walking the horse, learning to "steer," which by itself takes time to develop skill on a patient horse so you don't hurt their mouth and so you can control where you're going. This takes plenty of focus by itself. Once you've gotten that all under control, then you're ready to start adding skills. Posting is the next one you learn, because that goes along with increasing the pace of the horse to a trot (or jog...depending if you're learning English or Western riding). You don't want to be focusing on posting until you can steer, or who knows where that horse is going to take you!

    You should ALWAYS warm up before riding a horse...it is an athletic activity. Do a warm up, THEN stretch. For example, start with a brisk walk (you, not a horse), then do some stretching exercises. Before you start posting on a horse again, I'd suggest doing deep-knee bends while standing on firm ground first. That will help build up some of those muscles you'll use, though you'll add in others while trying to maintain a grip and balance on a moving horse.

    And, well, until you've learned to post properly, your butt is going to be sore for a while too...lots of bouncing at the wrong time!

    A lot of people who ride horses wind up with lower back problems. If you aren't doing so already, wear a lower back brace/support when riding...it'll force you into good posture, but also provide much needed support to prevent straining your back.

    The other common problem long-term horseback riding leads to are knee injuries. If your knees start hurting, stop.

    Like any other physical activity, start out slow. When you start out posting, if you feel fatigued, don't push yourself beyond that point. That might mean you can only post for a half dozen steps at first, and then have to slow the horse down to a walk again. As you continue working on it, you'll gradually increase how long you can do it for.

    And, frankly, I'd be leery of a trainer who had you posting on your very first lesson, or who is pushing that hard to the point where your body is giving out on only the fourth lesson. Find someone who starts out by teaching you about the horse, because any good trainer knows a rider needs to first respect and care for their horse and will put the horse first. Many students are eager to jump on the horse and start riding their first day, and have unrealistic expectations of how quickly they will develop their riding skills, but a good trainer knows to make you stop and take the time to develop your understanding of the animal you will be riding in order to prevent injury both to the animal and to the rider.

    Start out with lots of grooming and exercising the horse on a lunge (sp?) line, then taking short (10 min) rides, and slowly building up. With more docile horses, you may work up quickly to where you can just groom and ride, but more spirited ones may always need to be exercised a bit before you get on them until you have years of skill to handle them (and even then, some horses need to expend a little energy before they'll accept a rider without throwing them).
     
  9. Dec 29, 2006 #8
    Well, NOPE! I didn't do any of those on my first lesson. Amazing, I didn't even know you were supposed to learn those. I have no clue how to put on the bit or put on the saddle, not a clue. My first lesson was this. The instructor told me to get on the horse, which I already knew. he adjusted the stirrups for me Then he told me how to hold the reins. Then he held that other long rein ( I don't know what that is), walked a couple of feet away. He taught me how to cue a horse to trot. I hit my heel, while he stood in the middle while the horse trotted around him. He told me how to post etc . And told me that since I was late the horse was tired, and wouldn't run, so that's why the horse was reacting in an odd way to his 'aids'. I dismounted the horse in the wrong way.

    Second lesson, after 3 days. Much better. He again did the same things, and I posted quite good. I dismounted the horse properly since I had read articles about how to horse ride.

    Third lesson, next day. Terrible. I was having a headache. Couldn't post properly at all, lots of bumps. All that I described in m first post happened then. The horse kept on trotting, and I couldn't post at all. I still don't know how to steer a horse, so in the end I tried to(because I had read more articles), and it ended up with the horse running, luckily the instructor was holding the long rein.

    So I guess, I've skipped the part of grooming the horses, and have gone straight to posting. and that's how it'll go on. The instuctor does give me tips slowly, as I ride. But I guess that should work.
    Still thanks a lot for the advice on exercising all of you.
    Today I'm feeling much better, can move my legs more, stand straight. Cramps lessened. Next class would be on the 3 or 4 the of Jan, so till then I've hoped I've recovered, and I'll be stretching a lot as well. Still this is a good club, one of the best around. You may seem that this club is totally absurd from my post, but maybe they got me straight to posting, because I told them I've walked horses before. Still they don't steer:@.

    Once again, thanks for your advice, and if they're more stuff I need to know, I'll be more than happy to know them, since I don't want anything bad to happen.
    Oh btw, my knees, no in fact my left knee did hurt, but for only half an hour, do I need to worry about that?
     
  10. Dec 29, 2006 #9

    Moonbear

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    If I were you, unless you've already pre-paid these lessons, I'd change instructors. It doesn't sound like you have a very competent one. Keeping the horse on a lead when you first get on it is a good idea, but not to go straight to trotting on day one, and to start blaming the horse for being tired sounds bad. If the horse was that tired, they shouldn't have you riding that horse, and it sounds more like the instructor wasn't very competent at keeping it under control on the lead line.
     
  11. Dec 30, 2006 #10
    I've pre-paid.
     
  12. Dec 30, 2006 #11
    wow they let you book everyday straight and not tell you of the physical demand.

    If you went to a Gym a trainer wouldn't tell you to work out everyday from the get go. It would take quite some time to get yourself into shape for that.
     
  13. Dec 30, 2006 #12
    I had pre-paid for the second last week of Dec, and the month of Jan. I was supposed to ride everyday in this second last week of Dec, and then twice a week in the month of Jan.
     
  14. Dec 30, 2006 #13
    Did they tell how to greet the horse even? This sounds like a very bad deal, and a very dangerous one....you are wearing a rideing helmet right?
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2006
  15. Dec 30, 2006 #14

    Moonbear

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    And, not just wearing a helmet, but making sure it fits right. Did they even go over what you should wear (long-sleeved shirt and long pants...either riding pants or jeans are okay...boots with heels, a properly fitting and properly rated helmet)? I agree, dangerous for apples, and not good for the horses either. To put a totally inexperienced rider on a horse, and not even go over how to steer the horse properly as the very first lesson on that horse almost guarantees you're going to hurt the horse's mouth and get the rider hurt too.

    Apples, if you can get a refund, or even request a different trainer, try to do so. It's harder to unlearn bad habits if you start developing them with a bad trainer than it is to learn from scratch with someone new. And, it's much worse if you and/or the horse end up injured as a result of it. There are a lot of bad riders who offer riding lessons and aren't qualified to do it but think they can just because they've been riding a long time, or who have simply forgotten what it took to get started, or who put earning money ahead of the horses or riders, so don't force the students to start out slow and instead cave in to the pressure of impatient parents who want to see their kids up on a horse on day one without learning the basics first. Talk to enough people with horses at a variety of stables or at a tack shop, and you'll learn about them soon enough. People who really care about their horses are very careful about whether they even allow a beginner on them...it takes a horse with a very special, calm temperament to learn on, and you need to be very carefully supervised. If you hurt the horse's mouth by pulling too hard on the reins, for example, they can become bit shy and won't allow anyone to put a bit in their mouth to ride them at all.

    If you do switch trainers, I'd suggest visiting your local tack shop and asking people there for references of who is good for a complete beginner. Some barns are great for advanced lessons, but don't know how to teach complete beginners, and you'll want to avoid those (but keep them in mind for later if you keep up with it and get better at it...you might outgrow a beginning instructor with time). The people in the tack shops will be quick to steer you in the right direction...horse people can be pretty blunt about who is good and who is bad, and if you talk to a variety of people, especially the shop owners, they'll know of the reputations of various trainers and stables. You want to find someone who will make this experience fun for both you and the horse. You should be grinning ear-to-ear at the end of your lesson with excitement about what you've accomplished and that the horse is starting to respond to your commands (even if it was just to take a few steps forward and stop...have they even taught you "stop" yet? That's critical...if that horse got free of the trainer's hold, you need to be able to stop it), and not groaning in pain. And you should be learning good horsemanship, not just how to get on a horse and stay on it. The most rewarding things about the first lessons for me was stuff like getting a nuzzle from the horse after grooming her well and knowing I was developing a bond with that horse (I was learning on my step-sister's friend's horse...my step-sisters horse was too green to learn on as a complete beginner...and even after I stopped having enough time to regularly take lessons, which was pretty soon after I started, I enjoyed visiting and helping groom the horse and helping out when they were taking the horse to shows her kids were participating in). The more you learn about the horses, the better of a rider you'll be too, and that's because you'll be better able to anticipate when they're getting nervous or tired or playful so you can either calm them or skip riding that one, or brace yourself for them to do something unexpected and move with it. If you talk to a lot of accomplished riders, you'll quickly realize that it's not all about the rider, but that their focus is on the horses and developing a bond with them to work together, not to just force the horse to do their bidding.
     
  16. Dec 31, 2006 #15
    Well, as long as it's a about developing a bond, then I don't know. Because there several different horses at the club, and each time a ride a different one.
    The thing about switching clubs is that if I even get a refund, which most probably I won't, then there would be no horse riding for me, because there is no other club around here.
    Yes, they did tell me about dressing(myself). Long sleeves, proper pants, a helmet, proper shoes, and type of a thing to protect my legs, since I don't wear riding shoes.
    He didn't teach me how to stop/walk/turn, maybe because I told him that I've already ridden a horse. That didn't mean that I know how to stop/walk/turn a horse, I'll talk to him next time. There are 3 different instructors too, I've only practiced with one. I'll try a different one next time.
    Although I do know how to stop a horse, and I tried it once, and it worked.:p

    Well know they didn't tell me how to greet a horse. I don't know how to either. Has that got something to do with the fact that the horse runs away from me every time I approach it? Well then from next time, I'll try patting it a bit on it's nose neck before actually mounting it.
    EDIT: I'll definitely try one of the other two trainers. I'm sure they'd be better. And before anything, I'll ask them to tell me small details before actually posting.
     
  17. Dec 31, 2006 #16

    Moonbear

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    Ah, maybe that's the problem! There may have been a miscommunication that they thought you had already done the basic lessons and wanted to start with something more advanced. Definitely let them know that the lessons seem to be starting too advanced for you. Still, a good instructor would have picked up that you weren't skilled with the basics as soon as you walked up to the horse and would have asked some questions to figure out where to start you out. Try one of the other instructors.

    I personally feel it's better to have your lessons all on one horse when beginning, and not to start switching to different horses until you have mastered enough skills to try it on another one to test your skills with a horse that doesn't know you, but it's not unheard of to have different horses for your lessons either.
     
  18. Jan 1, 2007 #17
    All right then,
    Thanks a lot for the advice and tips everyone.
     
  19. Jan 4, 2007 #18
    I just got back from my riding, and guess what? I'm pissed.
    First of all, I'll tell you everything, then you can decide for yourself. I've read dozens of articles by now about horse back riding, tips, instructions etc.
    I went to the club today and I had a completely different opinion then I have now. Since I've been here, all I know about this is that people come here, mount the horse, start posting, and leave. I wondered why doesn't anyone do anything else (sit the trot, gallop, canter etc). Well, I got my answer today. (BTW this is an English saddle)
    My turn came, and I went to the horse with the instructor holding the horse. I tried mounting it but it kept on moving away. The instructor held it tightly, and I mounted. I still wasn't holding the reins or had my feet in the stirrup, and the horse started running. After some efforts I managed to get my balance and grabbed the reins. I tried stopping it (read all the instructions of how to stop on different sites), the horse didn't stop, weird. I tried again still to no avail. I called out to the instructor that how do I stop him. He said pull the rein. Weird, you're not supposed to pull the rein to stop a horse, that will injure the horses mouth. I thought you were supposed to gently pull on the rein, while tensing your body, sitting deep in the saddle, and squeeze in with your calves. Well, since it didn't stop, I stopped the horse by the way they were telling me. I saw the way they used to do. They pulled hard on the reins bringing their hands to their chest, then with one hand still gripping the reins, they brought their other hand forward gripping on the reins and pulling it back again. (in short, the way like you pull a rope).
    The horse stopped the instructor grabbed it. I put my feet in the stirrups etc, and held the reins.
    I noticed I couldn't keep my heels just below my hips, the stirrups were too far away, I had to put my feet in them and pull back on them, otherwise it would be as if I'm sitting on a chair.
    The instructor started doing the same thing as he was doing in the past lessons, this time a different instructor, but still doing the same thing, the horse started trotting in circles while I was supposed to post. The instructor told me to keep my feet in front, and don't pull back on them, so that they were just below my hips. Weird again, that was like sitting in a chair. I looked at the other people there, they were posting with their feet not below their hips, but as if they were sitting on a chair.
    While posting, I got fed up. Nothing seemed to be right. I got the rhythm half the times, but was getting double bumps. I asked the instructor, that you started teaching me how to post in my first lesson, why don't you teach me how to walk/steer/stop a horse.
    We don't do that, he replied. We just teach you how to ride. And to steer the horse you just have to tug on the reins in the direction you want it to go. Strange, I wondered. Weren't you supposed to pull the reins slightly, and apply pressure with your calf.
    And if you want to stop, he continued, pull on the reins hard.
    I stopped horse two or three times, in the way he told me too. But that was ridiculous. The horse was getting injured, but that was the way they do it.
    I tried to make the horse walk, but he didn't seem to understand. If I applied slight pressure, either he didn't feel it or he broke into a trot, didn't walk. I realized he doesn't know what to do.
    I couldn't even stop him, when I did (the way the instructor told me to), when I let him go he started running again. Even if I did the give and take thing. I realized since the instructors are always urging him to trot, he has no concept of stopping etc.

    And what's the worse part? My little cousin (10 yrs old) was riding the horse with the instructor holding the rein, and guess what, suddenly the horse lifts his left hind leg, and started jumping or doing something like that. And she fell of the horse on her lower back bone. Luckily the horse didn't walk on her. She cried a lot, but very luckily wasn't injured at all.

    Later the instructor told me, nothing happens if you fall of your horse, you can't try it for yourself. Well, I thought, then what happened to the old superman?

    I came to a final conclusion. The horses are WILD!!! They aren't trained. There just taught to start trotting if they're hit on the side with an ankle. THAT'S IT. Because, they can't understand any of my cues. Not to turn, not to stop, not to walk. Even the instructors themselves don't know the correct way, and they use absurd forceful ways. It's like the instructor hold the horse, you mount it, just as he lets go, the horse starts trotting, and you post, in the end you pull hard on the reins, the instructors runs and grabs the horse, and you dismount. Each horse has the same gait, so that's what they teach, that how to post and get into the rhythm with the gait while posting. They teach nothing else.
    This is absurd, I'm disappointed.
    This was my first horse back riding experience.
    I wish I could get a refund, this really is ridiculous.

    OR, I have another conclusion:
    I'm mentally slow, and can't get the riding thing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  20. Jan 4, 2007 #19
    As a note how often do you sit with your legs wide apart while something moves beneath you for extended periods of time( insert sexual innuendo) Answer (insert reference to the oldest profession) Not very often. What tends to happen is the muscles get not only tired but stretched, especially if your not used to it,it feels as if you tried to do the splits and then almost pulled a muscle. There is a reason people say, walks like john wayne, or after he had the injury he was walking like a cowboy for a few days. Given time the musles will stretch and will tone up a bit.

    The horses motion is kind of like getting your sea legs, you should after a while just smoothly adapt to the motion of the horse without even thinking about it.

    As for your other riding woes, is there anywhere else you can go, sounds like they're a bunch of cowboys?:biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  21. Jan 4, 2007 #20

    Moonbear

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    From what you describe, without any prior lessons, it sounds like you already know more than these instructors. How in the heck do you post with your legs forward? Do they have Western riders trying to teach English? Even with that, you don't kick back like you're in an easy chair with your legs forward like you describe.

    And, if you have to pull back hard on the reins to stop the horse, then either the horses are already totally ruined by the bad riding (likely), or are too green to be used for beginner lessons, or both. You may or may not be giving the right leg cues, but that's more reason why they should use well-trained horses that will respond to light commands with the reins.

    If I were you, I'd fight for that refund. Tell them they were supposed to teach you to ride, not to abuse horses. Threaten them that if they don't give a refund, you'll call the Better Business Bureau and the SPCA to report their mistreatment of those horses (if you see any blatant signs of abuse or uncleanliness at the farm...i.e., build up of filth in stables that doesn't look like they clean them daily...you can also call the USDA on them...they have to be inspected by USDA, and if they aren't caring well for those animals, that can be reported). Also, since they actually told you that you can't get hurt falling off a horse, I suggest contacting OSHA...all riding barns HAVE to comply to OSHA regulations, even when there are no other regulatory oversights.

    Hearing how they just dismissed that someone could get hurt on a horse, I'd cease lessons with them immediately, refund or not. On the one hand, you don't want to make such a big deal of falling off the horse that you scare someone into not getting back on, but you also need to be aware that sometimes you're NOT going to get right back on, and need to take a few minutes to assess the rider for any injuries, and in the case of a little kid, get them to calm down enough to put them back on. But, the way they are handling their lessons, you're more likely to keep falling. If all anyone does there is post while they run horses on a lead, then they have no business giving riding lessons.
     
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