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Rider Insider: Learn from My Mistake

Tell us about a mistake you've made in your equestrian life, and how you learned from it.

January 3, 2013

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Running horse
Hey, did you remember to close the pasture gate? Photo:
Wouldn't it be great if you could do everything perfectly on the first try when it comes to riding and working with horses? You wouldn't have to hear your instructor give you the same instructions over and over. There would be no embarrassment in front of the more experienced riders as you struggle to do something that seems to come so easily to them. And certainly, there'd be less time spent on the ground after unexpectedly parting ways with your horse.

Mistakes are a part of life and they're a big part of the learning process in any activity you pursue. Riding is no different. If you never make mistakes and learn how to correct them, you never learn how to do things the right way.

Sometimes mistakes happen because a skill is challenging to learn. Any experienced jumper will tell you they know what it feels like to jump ahead of their horse or get left behind. Those mistakes are common, but without experiencing what the wrong way is like, you can't appreciate when you've got it right.

Other mistakes are simple errors of judgment. Sure, galloping that last stretch of the field before you get back to the barn seems like fun the first few times you do it. But once you realize you've trained your horse to run home from the trails at breakneck speed, you aren't likely to make that mistake again.

And then there are the silly mistakes. When you arrive in the barn in the morning to find a massive lake next to the trough, you probably won't forget to double check to make sure you've turned off the water before leaving the barn at night.

Riley Polo You've learned from your mistakes. Now share the lesson with your fellow visitors. Click "Submit a Comment" below and tell us about a mistake you've made in your riding or horsekeeping life and how you've learned from it. Some of the editors' favorite responses could be featured in a future issue of Horse Illustrated!

This month, Noble Outfitters is sponsoring the Rider Insider column in Horse Illustrated with a prize of a Riley Polo for the selected featured response. If you'd like to be considered for a prize, make sure to include your contact info in the email field of the comment form (emails will not be publicly displayed.)

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Rider Insider: Learn from My Mistake

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Reader Comments

Zoë    Harrisonburg, VA

3/9/2014 3:17:25 PM

At the barn where I rider there is this one gelding who seems to hate moving any faster than a slug. For years I've been nervous and wimpy when riding him, especially when we jump. But then, just a few weeks ago, I resolved to be the boss. That lesson was amazing and I realized that he was an awesome horse, and that the only problem between us had been me. Now he's one of my favorite horses, and I have much more confidenence around lazier horses.

Kate    Roswell, GA

2/17/2014 5:57:27 PM

My biggest mistake was letting my guard down; i assumed i knew what i was doing and that i could relax. I know there is always more to learn about ridingvand that i don't know it all but I let myself relax and payed for it with a broken stall door, numerous cuts, and a very angry trainer. I thought my horse was calm but i now know that when i have my thoughts somewhere else, that is the perfect chance for a naughty horse to play his tricks! And this goes for all aspects for riding; attention sways and bam, you're in the dirt. I dont think i have ever been more focused in my riding and ground work!

Clare    Wilmington, NC

2/16/2014 6:07:47 AM

I have definitely made a bunch of mistakes, but the biggest one would have to be leaving my passion for another sport. I then realised that my heart would truly always be wherever a horse was. I had given up on my dream. I have all of those lost years to make up for now!

Leila    Burtonsville, MD

2/13/2014 4:42:31 AM

My biggest mistake would be not keeping my cool before dressage. I event and I am always super nervous before the dressage phase. At my last show I finally realized that I needed to trust my horse and that there was no reason to be nervous. My horse has gone through training level and I was only competing at beginner novice. I went into the ring totally calm that day and everything went beautifully. I scored in the high 20s and came home from the event with a blue ribbon!

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