The answer is definitely No. (at least for me, but I don’t think I’m alone)
Well, I have now been on 3 rides here to date. I am not counting the few times I rode when i was a little girl. So, I am a beginner (you probably gathered that already), but I think it is good because I am a clean slate that can be written, scribbled and doodled on, and even erased a few times and it is all new. So here are just a few things I have learned and am still continuing to understand/learn from my few rides thus far:
- Riding “back in the day” does not count. You cannot come in and say “Ya, I rode several years ago at some place they did rides, so I know what I am doing”. To be a rider, you have to ride, and not just a few times.
- Riding is an event that requires constant participation. You have to be engaged and involved every step of the way. This is different from the rides I have heard called, “nose to butt” (excuse me) becuase you are actually controlling the horse, in which you are ideally the boss. What I mean by “nose to butt” is, you cannot make the horse do anything, all it knows is to follow a specific path and stick right behind the horse in front of them. I went on one of these rides as a little girl up here. While there are good things about that for people, it requires very little participation besides getting off and on. So, it can not be even added up to be an experienced rider.
- Every time I have got on a horse I again realize how much more there is to learn. Once you have ridden a horse several times and think you understand that horse, there are still many many other situations and many many other horses out there, so the worst thing to do is become complacent and dull on the horse. You will be in for a surprise.
- Horses have personality and we should respect that, but you also have to be the boss and they need to trust that you are going to take care of them out there.
- I have learned horses like a job to do, they like to work. How many times do we hear of people not liking their employer? I want the horse I ride and work with to also enjoy the time it spends with me and get excited to go to work with me. I also have learned that I need to be a better leader and not let them pick what they would rather do… like in Gizmo’s case – eat grass during a trail ride. It was easy at first to let the 1,500 pound animal have his way, but I am learning!