Whether you have liked horses your entire life or have recently developed a fascination for them, it is okay to be intimidated by horseback riding at first. It is mandatory to have a professional trainer throughout this journey to teach you how to deal with horses and how to master riding them. Trainers or experts will not only boost your confidence and ensure your safety as you learn to ride, but they will also provide you with all the necessary tips that you need as a beginner. Depending on where you live, choose a riding lesson barn near you where you can learn everything you need about horseback riding. Before you get started, we’re going to introduce you to great riding tips that will help you as a beginner.
Horses are not Vehicles
It is a must to understand that the horse you’re about to ride is a living creature that may feel exhausted, tired, or afraid of its new rider. Therefore, you should greet your horse and build a connection with it before you mount it. To greet your pony, you need to extend your arm to its nose, giving it the back of your hand to sniff it. This move is equivalent to a human’s handshake, and it is interpreted as if you’re asking it for permission to ride it. The better connection you will have with your mare, the more comfortable it will be.
Safety Comes First
Even though you will be accompanied by your coach during your training period, it is crucial to wear proper horse riding equipment. The outfits are made for a reason; you don’t want to ride a horse wearing a dress or t-shirt and shorts, otherwise you may get hurt. Long pants are necessary to protect your legs from chafing against the saddle, while closed-toed shoes are to protect your feet from slipping out of the stirrups. Helmets are essential as well; some stables don’t have them, so you should check with them beforehand. The gurus at Charles Owen helmets recommend wearing equestrian helmets that are made from high-end materials to protect your head against injuries. Some people use bike helmets as a less ideal alternative, yet it is better than wearing nothing over your head.
They’re Still Animals
Professional equestrians refer to their ponies as their buddies or best friends. Despite being loyal fellas and adorable buddies, they’re animals after all. All horses are prey-animals that won’t hesitate to run fast when they sense danger. Their big eyes can see almost 360 degrees around them, and they can hear the furthest sounds easily. That’s why you need to be extra careful when you’re around a mare; approach it from the front confidently, talk to it in a calm voice, and avoid making sudden moves that may terrify it.
Confidence Is a Key Aspect
Ponies sense fear easily; they can tell when their riders are hesitant or nervous. Therefore, you should be confident when you’re approaching a horse and stand on its left to mount it. They are trained to expect humans to ride them from their left side. As you learn, you will gain more confidence nailing the correct techniques and mastering the proper skills that will make you a competent jockey.
Horses’ Speedy Gaits
As a beginner, you should know that all horses have four different speeds: walk, trot, canter, and gallop. You will start with the walk since it is the most comfortable position for both horse and rider. The walk is the steadiest gait since the horse has at least one leg on the floor. The best position that will make you control your pony is sitting up straight and tall, relaxing your back and putting your heels down in the stirrups while holding the reins gently. You must find balance as well to avoid making the horse feel like it’s carrying a heavy load.
At the end of every ride, you need to dismount properly and smoothly and thank your horse for the ride. It is better to have someone help you at this point to ensure your safety while you’re dismounting.
Many people think that horseback riding is just a fun activity that they can do on the weekends. On the contrary, it is a sport that can be considered as a serious workout. If you’re interested in horses, you should know that it takes balance, a strong core, and stability to stay on the saddle. You have got tons of things to learn, but the above tips will help you become more familiar with what you’re about to sign up for. So have fun and happy horse riding!