Horseback Riding Tips for Beginners

horseback riding

Your first time to ride on a horse can either be fun or horrible. That depends on how fit you are and how much willing you are to learn. If you think horseback riding is easy, think again. It requires so much strength to stabilize yourself on the back of a horse, even more so when it’s galloping. Maneuvering your four-legged companion to change speed or direction means working your legs, thighs, abdominals, and arms. Basically, it’s like doing whole body workout.

Are you ready? Use the tips below to make your first time out on a horse one that is both successful and fun.

Your safety should be your priority.

It’s fun. Sure it is. But it’s not fun to fall off and suffer an injury. Find an instructor who knows how to teach beginners how to ride on a horse. In fact, you should look for a certified horseback riding instructor. Then find legit barns specifically geared to this activity. And always wear a helmet when riding in case you end up falling off the horse or getting thrown from it.

Wear the right gear.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman. You have to don the right clothing for this demanding activity. Long pants are basic. They protect your legs from friction against the horse’s body and the saddle. Don’t wear just any pair of shoes. Wear boots with small heels that will keep your feet on the stirrups. Leave scarves at home. Don’t don dresses with straps. Anything that can get tangled should be left in your room. Wear helmets, also, to protect your head just in case you fall off.

Stay hydrated.

Horseback riding is fun. But just because it’s fun doesn’t mean you can abandon safety precautions when you’re out there under the sun. Bring a bottle of water, and drink up every now and then.

Keep in mind that horses are programmed to run from danger.

This is one thing that a lot of beginners disregard, albeit unintentionally. One thing to remember is that horses are naturally preys, which tend to run when they sense danger. Your best bet is to walk towards the horse from the front at a 45 degree angle to the shoulder. Don’t shout near it, instead calmly and softly call its name. Don’t make swift movements. Don’t do anything that will make it nervous or agitated. Put your phone on silent mode. When you get to the horse, offer the back of your hand for it to sniff in way of an introduction. This helps to horse to get familiar with you and comfortable when you are around it.

Learn how to lead a horse.

Stand in the left side to its head. Carry the reins, keeping sure you’re holding them below the horse’s chin. Carry the reins in such a way they don’t sag to the ground. When riding, lead by focusing on where you want the horse to go. They are very intuitive animals and can sense the direction you’re looking and will trot that way. And remember to not hold the reins too tight when riding so you don’t cause pain in the horse’s mouth.

Check the saddle.

Don’t get into the saddle without making sure it’s secure in place. If you’re unsure, ask your instructor. Check that it doesn’t slide around and that the straps are tight enough for you but loose enough for the horse to breathe. Also, check the length of the stirrups.

Get help when climbing a horse.

First time riders will always have a problem climbing a horse. Have someone hold the horse’s head while you mount. You’ll also probably need to get a mounting block for the first time. Put it on the ground to the left of the horse. Make sure the reins are over its head while you hold them with your left hand while allowing them to rest on the front part of the saddle. Upon hoisting yourself up, hold the back of the saddle with your right hand and gently pull yourself up. And, do not attempt to mount the horse in an area that is confined, such as a doorway.

Shawna Newman

Shawna currently lives in Las Vegas where she gets in lots of great hiking at Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park. When she has time, she visits National Parks in a quest to visit each one in the U.S. Shawna’s favorite outdoors activity is hiking and her favorite National Park (so far) is Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

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