Horseback riding can be a fun and rewarding hobby or even a great profession for those who love the craft, but it is important to learn the basics if you are beginning. Once you have decided you wish to ride horses, there are a few things you should familiarize yourself with in order to avoid any setbacks or unnecessary falls and injuries while riding and handling your own or someone else’s horse or horses.
Firstly, it is important to know basic terminology when riding horses such as a stallion (Non- castrated adult male horse 3 years+) or mare (adult female horse 3 years+) will help you in understanding others at the stable when riding. Especially if you are considering buying a horse sooner or later, knowing your terminology is essential. Either taking riding lessons or deeply studying a guide to riding horses is highly recommended to further understand horse terminology and other useful information.
Second, understanding both your horse’s body and the various gaits of a horse are extremely important when riding. Learning a horse’s body will help you to utilize a horse while riding to ensure neither you nor the horse is injured. Also, learning the various gaits of a horse is a great asset when learning and improving riding techniques to the fullest potential. The difference between a canter and a trot, for instance, is beneficial in both everyday recreational riding and even more so in competitions when obstacles and courses are employed.
Tips While Riding Your Horse:
• Stay calm! Animals can sense nervousness, anxiety, and fear. Some will seize your fear as an opportunity to get out of working so keep your cool and relax.
• Wear a helmet! Make sure you are wearing the proper gear while riding including long pants, long shirts, and the proper riding boots in order to protect yourself from discomfort and injury.
• Enjoy Yourself!
When beginning to learn how to ride horses, it is also important to learn the various riding styles and rein techniques. The two main styles of riding are English and Western. Western style saddles are considered better for beginners are they involve a sturdier saddle that stays in place and has a horn which you can grab onto if you wish. English saddles are lighter in weight and have no horn. Other techniques to learn are rein techniques which differ within the two aforementioned styles and can assist you in better directing your horse while riding and not wasting unnecessary time and energy during your lessons or time at the stable.
Another important thing is to buy the right equipment for your horse. This includes the above mentioned saddle, saddle pad, bridle, and a bit. Before riding your horse, consider walking around with it, petting and grooming it, and getting more comfortable being around one another. This can create better familiarity and improve your comfort level if you are uneasy in the beginning. Lessening your fear and learning to relax is very important because this can interfere with giving commands during riding and may even get you kicked off a horse which can be more dangerous than anything. Getting kicked off a horse can be very dangerous and even life threatening. It is essential that you get comfortable with the horse you are riding and learn the techniques to keep riding steady and calm and keep you out of harm’s way.
Overall, the most important thing is your safety. Learning as much as you can about a horse’s nature and behavior as well as the best riding techniques and terminology is very important in keeping yourself on the horse and not on the ground. 90% of horse-related injuries are said to be caused by inexperienced riders therefore reading up on horse riding and general information on horses is recommended. The other most important thing is finding a good trainer who can instruct you with the best knowledge in order to make riding enjoyable and safe. Although lessons can be pricey, they are absolutely worth it to keep you safe and sound. There are many trainers out there that may better fit your price range so shop around.
Reading so much information and understanding the dangers can be discouraging, but don’t be. If horse riding is something you aspire to learn and even compete in the future, it is important to know the risks and to invest in learning as much as you can about these majestic animals in order to become a great rider who is as much esteemed by their horse are they are by their peers. Good luck!