The Solo Equestrian
I recently made the decision to cancel my weekly lessons after 20+ years - 1 to 2 a week. I did not take this decision lightly as jumping without regular instruction or being part of a 'program' can be challenging. Will I slip back into bad habits if not being watched? Will I keep developing myself and my horses if no one is providing me guidance every week? When we knock a rail down- you guessed it - I will have to stop, get off and put it back up!
I have actually found that I am much more focused and aware of me, my horse, my surroundings - probably out of necessity. I have also read many more articles about grid-work, jumping exercises, and rider bio-mechanics. I am looking for information rather than relying on my instructor to share techniques with me. Recording my rides has helped me fix trouble spots and stay focused (as I have always been my worst critic). Where I do get a little discouraged is that there is no positive words from a coach, no engagement with others in my group lesson. But maybe not all of us are destined to be part of a team. Some of us are programmed to be independent!
I have been riding all my life. I was taught by my mother who also grew up on horses and enjoys horses in a way that few can appreciate. She trails rides almost every day. I rode in 4-H for many years and was on the senior riding team several times. I was a groom for a local All Breed barn and showed saddleseat. In college, I got a job working at the only British 5-star equestrian center in Florida. That is where I learned about dressage and jumping. I was hooked. From there I developed the routine of riding with an instructor at least once a week if I wanted to move up the levels.
20 plus years later, I realized that I do not fit in to the mold that most jumping programs offer. I don't board my horses. My horses live with me so strike one - since not a boarder, not at the instructor's barn as often as those who board. Only there 1-2 times a week for a lesson that I trailer in for. Strike 2 - since not a boarder and horses not in training with instructor/trainer, never really part of the 'barn family'. Strike 3 - I'm very comfortable riding independently. Always have been. I can take my horses to clinics, to shows, can warm them up, do my thing and be fairly successful. But I still want help from other successful equestrians! Even though I am solo schooling my horses, I attend as many clinics as possible with various advanced riders and professionals. My favorite clinicians show me how to be better, provide tools to keep the horses enjoying their job and give me confidence to advance.
The Solo Equestrian is my latest project that aims to share videos of what the horses and I are working on. Also, hopefully inspire others who ride solo! Check out the Instagram and TikTok links ---------------------------------->>>>>>>>>>>>