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Note: I'm certainly not all-knowing, and on occasion a website visitor is able to answer his/her own question -- and provide me with more information as well! Here, in condensed form, is one such exchange....



At the ripe old age of 55, I've decided to do something I've wanted to do since I was a youngster - learn to ride a horse (western). When I was a kid, riding horses was a rare occurrence, living in the Detroit Metro area. Although I can remember starring at the mounted police while they practiced in Rouge Park, which was two blocks over from where I grew up. Now, with my kids grown, my job solid and having the time to learn, I hope its my turn.

Am I dreaming the impossible dream? Is this dog to old to teach new tricks? Physically, I'm fit. Mentally I'm open to any and all advice. I've been trying to find an instructor/stable to take lessons but I'm having little luck.

Any tips on how to find a stable/instructor? I've tried the yellow pages, internet and asking everyone I know, but the only places I find that are still teaching -- teach English riding, which isn't what I want to learn. And they all seem to be a little "shy" about teaching an older guy who has little to no knowledge of horses nor riding.

I've read every word on your website, and every Q&A, I love it all. Now, if you can offer me any advice, I'd love to hear it (read it).

Thank you for everything you do to further the love of horses and horsemanship.

B. C.


Nope, you're certainly not too old to start riding at age 55. You'll just have to make sure you ride safely, because us older riders don't mend as quickly as we used to!

I've tried the few contacts I have in Michigan, as well as some folks who put on horse clinics all across the country, but so far no one has come up with a Western trainer in your area. It looks like you may have to start with English riding and move into Western riding later on. If you do go into English-style riding, ask for someone who teaches dressage. It's a low-impact style of riding that you can begin at any age and continue as long as your health holds up. And it puts heavy emphasis on good communication with the horse.

As for not having ridden before, that's probably an advantage. Most mounted police programs actually reject officers with prior riding experience. It's just too time consuming for the rider to un-learn all the previous incorrect riding habits. Come to think of it, If there's a mounted police unit in your area, those folks may know of some current or retired police instructor who would be willing to take you under his wing.

Please keep me posted on your search for an instructor, because I just might get a similar inquiry some day.

Here's a slightly edited -- and updated -- account of what B. C. came up with -- he was not only able to successfully solve his own problem but gave a resounding recommendation of his new-found instructor as well. Perhaps this will also prove helpful to other would-be riders in southern Michigan.


I did find a western instructor, Mrs. Darrin Fowler (Sarah), and can say that after a couple of lessons I think she is wonderful. Patient and smart, she knows the horses and seems to know her stuff. I feel so comfortable around her and the horses.

(I was afraid I might telegraph fear to the horse. Between Sarah and all I've learned from your website, any fear I may have has turned into strong respect, caution and an awareness that makes the fear a useful tool. Not sure that makes sense to you, but it's a feeling that just fosters my great appreciation and passion for what I'm doing)

As a rider, I'm making progress. Slow, but sure. I certainly enjoy it and the peace it brings me just being there.

Anyway, enough of my blathering, I'm sure you've heard it all before. Sarah is more than pleased that I would recommend her and give you her name and contact information for future reference.

She's teaching out of Firefly Farm in Mason, Michigan; website: -- it's for Natural Horsemanship riders.

Her name, again, is Mrs. Darrin Fowler; she is doing trick-training clinics at local barns, as well as doing lessons at her own barn -- she now has an indoor arena! She can be contacted at:, or call (517) 332-PONY.

Thanks, Bob, for your time and help.

My best to your and yours,

B. C.

B.C. on Tank
Mrs. Fowler on Tank

The photos above show B. C. and his instructor on a draft horse appropriately named "Tank." When he sent the photos, B. C. reported:

"...I am SO proud of all she has taught me about horses and how to care for them, how to love them and how to teach and play with them. There's a lot more to riding a horse than many people realize. Riding is almost secondary (almost).

"I'm learning - slowly - but I'm finding my seat and can walk and trot and canter (well, not exactly canter; let's just say I don't fall off at a canter). But I can saddle and groom and muck stalls; I'm learning about feeding and care, about saddles and conformation, gaits and...

"Can you tell that every time I talk about it I get excited?

"Eight months ago, I wouldn't go near a horse, especially one like Tank. Now, I feel a little more comfortable and a little more confident every week. ...I go every chance I get and I'm learning that us old dogs can pick up a new trick now and then...."

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