It's not easy to start riding after the age of 20!

Credit : Scoopdyga

Wednesday 13 March - 14h37 | Maxence Magnin

It's not easy to start riding after the age of 20!

While most people start horseback riding from an early age, for example 10–12 years old or even younger, others are bitten by the equestrian bug years later. Indeed, whether it's as a spouse or relative of a rider, or just on one’s own, there is no ‘right’ age to start riding. Nevertheless, the learning curve for older beginners can be more difficult. Here are a few of the challenges.

Finding balance. This is the first and most difficult thing for any rider when mounting a horse for the first time. For younger beginners, the skill often becomes instinctive relatively quickly, but for older ones, getting settled in the saddle is not necessarily easy. Sensations may be less acute, as well as the rider's touch and feeling.
Having the right position. It goes without saying that a good position is rarely developed without help during a rider’s training. And if it can take years for a child to achieve this, imagine the work for an adult, who has more of a instinctive reflex to tense up in order to feel safe. 
Accompanying the horse. The seat position ('assiette du cavalier' in French) is one of the first things instructors teach riders in order for them to be sensitive to their horse and ride effectively. However, it does not come on its own, and a rider has to learn to accompany their mount in the three different gaits and while jumping. This is a difficult task, especially when it comes to the rising trot, the most complicated challenge for any rider – particularly older ones.
Discovering new muscles. Of course, horseback riding for adult beginners works parts of the body that had previously not been used – enough to produce significant soreness in muscles whose existence was hithertoo unknown. Indeed, this can be said to be clear proof of the athletic merits of this activity – a true sport.
Discovering the right brushes and combs too late. While kids pick up grooming techniques from the start thanks to friends and peers at the stable, some adults remain unaware of good tips for brushing their mounts. 
Falling off at a little gap or from a kick. It is not easy for even an experienced rider to stay in the saddle when their horse moves in certain ways, so one can only imagine the challenges for an adult beginner.
Riding a training pony to learn safely (but at the risk of being lulled into a false sense of security). Yes, the rider can be sure that the friendly equine in the stables is a safe bet to learn to ride. Indeed, this is the kind of pony or horse which forgives all the mistakes of beginners. But adult riders have to be conscious that not all equines will be so kind with them in the future.  

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