Friday, October 2, 2015

Natural Riders: Pro or Con

First let me say, I am not a Natural Rider. Now my brother, he was a natural. Good thing soccer and girls caught his attention or I would have some competition.

Over the years I have come across a couple of Natural Riders, both teenage girls. The first could ride my Mom's Morgan and get excellent work out of him. The second I just met this weekend and got out of shape Comrade looking show ready. I had a moment of thinking "does he look that good with me?" She also won brownie points by agreeing to ride in the light rain. Sorry no pictures because of that fact.

Little man got a ride the day after

I had no idea how old she was or how much riding experience she had while we were riding. She did mention later she was moving to 1st Level and had been jumping 3ft. Plus her trainer was having her ride a 2 year old to eventually ride in a Materiale Class. That surprised me since she thought Roscoe working was unusual. Uh, hmm its okay to work the 2yr old but not the 4 year old. Must be his small size, makes her think he should not be ridden vs how big some breeds are at 2 yrs old.

Anyway at 13yrs old she really did ride well. But there were things that struck me as odd. She asked as soon as she mounted if Comrade would round. I told her yes, but he needed to warm up. When she did start asking him to round up, she kept lowering her hands. Later she mentioned that her trainer had her ride some horses out on hacks to work on rounding. I told her that the connection comes from the leg not the hand. Occasionally when she would go round and round the arena for a long time, Comrade would try to put on the brakes surprising her. Then when she got on Rosemary she mentioned that she did not have to hold with her knees at the sitting trot. I was a bit confused.

Well everything made more sense when her mother told me she had only been riding for 3yrs. Yep, she was a Natural. It explained how she could ride so well, yet still be caught unaware or make the odd comments. It amazes me that this girl is going 1st level and riding a 2yr old when her basics are not solid. That being said, she does take all the clinics she can and takes direction well. I would not be opposed to her riding some of my horses. She did ask how "sound" Roscoe was. I think she was talking about how safe he was to ride. Definitely angling to ride him. Maybe down the road she could. I even thought about her riding him for pictures. Having a light rider will make him seem bigger. (PS if anyone close by wants to volunteer....)

So has anyone else met a Natural Rider? What do think the Pro's and Con's are?

The Pro's that I can see:
Can instinctively ride a horse as needed
Nice soft hands
Seem to progress quickly
Great posture
Gain opportunities from other equestrians

The Con's:
Though instinctive, they can't explain how they achieve the reactions they get from horses
Gaps in basics
Can react, but not always anticipate a horse's actions.
Give the appearance of being more experienced than they actually are

Puddles, Purple rain boots and Ponies

Now after nearly a week of rain, thanks Joaquin, hopefully we will start to dry out. My ponies are getting bored. We have worked fairly consistently this month. Roscoe and Rosemary go through all their tricks as soon as I am near them. Plus Roscoe has that stare down his nose look and trouble in his eyes.


  1. Idk if your cons list is true for all riders - I know a couple young naturally talented riders who are also very solidified in the basics and are true students of the discipline. But generally I'm pretty jealous of these riders haha. Nothing about riding comes that naturally to me, I've always had to work for it and frequently don't cut quite as nice of a picture as some others. Ah well tho, we work with what we got, right?

    1. I am glad to hear there are some with complete training. This most recent rider I met, I have hope for her filling in the gaps since she seems to be like a sponge. The other actually broke her leg at one point.
      And yes I am with you, we definitely work with what we got.