Horse riding is one of the fun sports anyone can get into. If done right, you will count every moment in the activity. And if done wrong, you might have to pay for the mistakes. As a beginner, you might be nervous, anxious, and have trillions of questions regarding horseback riding. Snowy Mountain holidays are the best places to go for that beautiful horseback riding.
Here, we came as your guide to share some helpful horse riding tips from experts who were once beginners, just like you. We can assure you that you will feel safe and comfortable every time you put on the saddle if you consider these tips. In this article, we tried to cover as many basics as possible for you to get started.
13 Pro Horseback Riding Tips to Consider Every Time
- Research for horse stables and burns in your area
You might wonder what to research just for a horse ride? If you are a beginner, you have to know about the trail riding stables in your area. In horse jargon, these trails are also known as hack stables, from where you will find horses for riding.
Hack stables have horses that are perfect for beginners who do not have horsemanship. Those horses are calm to guide, as they are used to walking along a single line while following the leader. You can check horsevills.com to help you select the tools you need to give your horse the best care throughout their entire lives.
The next thing you want to do is to find any boarding burns near you. Boarding burns are places where you can keep the horse if you don’t have enough space in your house.
- Get Comfortable with The Horse
Both you and the horse are unknown to each other. The horse is a living being too, so it needs to become comfortable with the rider beforehand. Animals dislike strange humans. They might feel threatened, fearful, and nervous. Therefore, you need to make it feel safe and comfortable with you. The simplest way to interact with a horse is by ‘horsemen handshake.’ It is a proven way of introducing yourself to the horse by letting it smell your hand.
Extend your arm and gently take your palm closer to the horse’s nose, and let the horse smell it by touching it with its nose. In this way, you are asking the creature’s permission to ride on its back.
- Wear Comfortable Attire
One of the biggest mistakes a beginner horse rider can make is to wear baggy or inappropriate clothes. Bulky pants, flowy scarves, loose-fitted sweaters, and other types of baggy and flowy apparel can get stuck in the saddle while you are about to fall. They can get tangled in a tree or even bushes while you are riding. These types of clothing are too risky. Therefore, no matter whether you are riding western style or English, wear form-fitted and trimmed apparel covering your skin.
- Emphasize Your Footwear Too!
Wearing the proper footwear is essential for all horse riders, whether beginner or expert. Highly avoid any flip-flops, sandals, heavy hiking boots, or other footwear that tends to slip. You can have a disaster if they accidentally slide in a stirrup. As a beginner, you must find yourself a good pair of cowboy footwear or something very similar, with the heel height exceeding no more than 1.5 inches. Therefore, when you fall, at least your foot gets wedged into a stirrup.
- Start with Walking
When you are a beginner at horseback riding, you would want to first start with the most effortless horse gait. Out of the four gaits of horses, walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping; walking is the safest. For a beginner, galloping should be the least choice while riding because you should learn first how to handle the horse. There is a high chance of you falling and breaking your bones! Walking the horse is safe, and as you become an expert after a few practices, you can promote yourself to other gaits.
- Don’t Attach Yourself With the Saddle.
It would help if you did not make a habit of holding the saddle for safety as you ride the horse. Attaching yourself with the saddle or holding it while riding is one of the biggest mistakes in horse riding. You wouldn’t want to fall. But if you do while being attached to the saddle, you will get dragged on the ground while you fall as the horse keeps galloping. If you feel like falling, try to adjust your postures a little and balance yourself by lightly holding the reins.
- Don’t Let Go the Reins.
It would help if you did not let off the reins at any cost, as it helps to stay balanced during the ride. At some point, if you get scared, don’t toss the reins as it will frighten the horse and make it act more vigorously. So, if you are panicked or feel about to fall, hold onto the reins and listen to your coach’s instructions. Even if you like everything is falling apart, it’s not; stay calm and relax.
- Don’t Keep Sitting Like A Statue.
Horse riding requires coordination for both humans and horses. If you think you will keep sitting like a statue and let your horse do everything on its own, then horse riding is not for you. You need to move your body with the rhythm while keeping a straight body posture as the horse moves. Keep your feet on the stirrups on the side so that the horse does not feel like carrying a heavyweight on him. Here, you will play the role of a leader and not a dictator.
- Appear Confident While Riding and Sit on a Good Posture
Even if you feel nervous on your very first ride, you have to act confident to make your brain believe that. Chances of mishaps are when you try to do something with a restless mind. Also, the horse will realize your nervous vibes and will act like you wouldn't want it to. So, sit up straight, have a good posture, and go with the flow.
- Listen Closely to the Coach and Trust His Instructions
Coaches are experts who are at this level after many trials and errors. Therefore, go for a horse that your coach chooses for you because they are best at matching riders with appropriate horses. Also, while riding, listen to your coach’s instructions very carefully and follow them. Don’t try to experiment because it’s not child’s play. If something is done wrong, at worst, you will hurt yourself. If you are a beginner, this applies to you the most.
- A helmet is a Must!
Even if you are at the walking stage with your horse, as mentioned in point 5, you still must consider wearing a helmet. The helmet is the primary safety equipment while doing such risky activities for any level of horse rider. Whether you are going for a horse riding holiday or race, take a helmet with you. Buy a good-quality helmet for horse riding.
- Dismount Smoothly
As a beginner, tell someone to hold the horse so that you can dismount smoothly. First, let your feet off the stirrups and slide any sideway on the ground. Next, have a final interaction with the horse by thanking and appreciating it, giving it water or some food. Animals understand the language of love.
- Don’t Quit
When you experience horseback riding for the first time, you will experience lots of muscle soreness and confusion about many things. After all, it is an activity that requires many practices, trials, errors to ace it. Not to mention, horse riding is lifelong learning; you will never know enough. Don’t let minor troubles and inconvenience demotivate you, and quit your favorite hobby.
How to Mount from a Horse Like a Pro
As beginners, mounting on a horse may seem like mountain-like work. Horses are indeed tall creatures. But we are sure that with little practice, you will ace it too. So, you need to:
- Ask someone to hold the horse while you are mounting
- Check on the perimeter to make the saddle fit for you
- Hold the reins lightly at the end
- Put one of your feet on the stirrup
- Put pressure on that foot and step up to a standing position
- Now swing your other leg up above the horse to the other side (make sure you don’t accidentally kick the horse)
- Put the additional feet on the other stirrup, and adjust both the stirrups
- Make sure you put the balls of the feet on the stirrups, not the heel or toes
- Sit on the saddle gently and take your posture
Finally, you are on a horse to start your riding journey!
How to Dismount from a Horse Like a Pro
After the ride, when you are ready to dismount, you need to:
- Make sure the horse is entirely steady and standing on its feet
- If you want, you can ask someone to hold the horse
- Hold the rein lightly but firmly, but don’t pull it as it will disturb the horse
- Lift each of your feet from the stirrups
- Swing one of your legs to the other side of the horse
- Slide down on the ground
Learning horseback riding is like learning to ride a bike; you will require lots of practice. Nowadays, in the internet era, you may think learning horse riding is a piece of cake. But it’s not; horse riding is as complicated as any activity, made easy with many techniques. For this, you require a coach to instruct you.
The idea is not to do too much too soon to impress anybody. Therefore, keeping all of these tips and suggestions in mind, get onto your first-ever horseback riding journey.