The challenges and joys of the re-Rider getting Back in the saddle and the Show Ring.
So many of us who enjoyed horse shows and riding as children are now getting back in the saddle. Horse riding even has a special term for our group.
That term is rerider and it has come to refer to anyone who rode horses’ as a child or young adult and who is getting back in the saddle, at a much older age.
It doesn’t really matter which equestrian sport or horse show activity you enjoyed as a child, the fun thrills and excitement of horse riding can be re-discovered, no matter what your age.
And, reriders are also re-discovering the world of competitive equestrian sports.
This can be a bit more of a challenge for the older rerider, but there’s no reason why you can’t recapture the same thrills and excitement you enjoyed as a child.
Once back in the saddle you may just want to enjoy a hack out on a few trails or bridleways with your new horse.
Or you may fancy giving a local horse show another look.
Whatever you feel able to do is fine, providing you feel fit enough and you are able to enjoy it.
It may not be easy to get back into the show ring as a re-rider, but it can be extremely rewarding.
Competing as a re-rider has many good points going for it.
For one thing, many older riders find that they aren’t that worried about how they place, well not as much as they did when they were kids.
Once back in the saddle they find that they are now able to just relax and enjoy showing off their horses’ abilities; without worrying about winning every class or taking home a trunk full of ribbons.
That is not to say that older riders cannot be competitive. In fact, many of the top riders at all levels of equestrian competition are well into their 40s, 50s and even 60s, and many of those riders rediscovered the show ring after many years away.
No, even as a reinvigorated re-rider, If you are willing to work hard at your chosen equestrian sport and learn as you go, then you can work your way up to some very high levels of competition.
If it has been decades since you last got back in the saddle and trotted into a show arena, it could be a good idea to take some riding lessons.
Even if you’ve been doing well on your own, having a professional equestrian evaluate your riding and give you some pointers will make you a better rider.
Just as it did when you started out all those years ago.
An equestrian professionals opinion and guidance can give you the confidence boost you need to get out there in front of the horse show crowd again.
It would also be a good idea to attend a few horse shows as a spectator.
Preferably with your instructor, before taking your horse and jumping right in there.
Show ring trends come and go and it’s important to observe what is currently in fashion.
Get to know what modern judges will be looking for before you get back in the saddle and enter your first equestrian competition.
From the low and slow movements of the western classes to the more elevated and animated movement of the show jumper, hunter and dressage rings, it is important to understand the current trends and evaluate how well you and your mount will fit those requirements.
And; as a youngster you may have been quite willing to ride hell for leather across a cross country course, but now the more disciplined and dignified dressage arena may suit your temperament and capabilities. Not to mention your horses’.
If and when you do get back in the saddle and enter the horse show ring again, it’s would also be a good idea to choose a smaller local open show for your first time out.
Ask your instructor or yard manager to help find you find a local show that matches your current abilities.
A horse show that will allow you to have a great time, but were you will still enjoy the thrill of some friendly competition.
The good news is that the growing number of reriders means many horse shows have added adult beginner and adult walk trot classes, designed with those equestrians in mind.
Many of the re-riders who have re-discovered the horse show ring, find that showing their horse and competing really is as fun, and just as addictive, as they remember.
And once you re-enter that ring, you just might find that all the gears click right back into place.