Riding a horse is one of the best ways to relax. It can also be an exhilarating experience and one you’ll want to repeat over and over. Here are the basic steps.
Finding a Good Instructor
The best way to find a qualified instructor is to ask a friend. If that’s not possible, look for some horse training facilities in your area. It won’t hurt to go to online forums to find one. Make sure to specify your location so people can recommend one near you.
Checking the instructor’s qualifications is essential of course. But make sure they know you’re a novice. This is very important; you’ll never learn the art of riding a horse if your instructor doesn’t know your skill level.
Even before the lesson begins, make your intentions clear. There are different lessons for casual horse riding, racing horses, going on trails etc.
Getting on the Horse
The process is as simple as strapping your feet on and mounting the horse. When you get on the horse, avoid kicking the animal’s flank. When mounted, hold the reins. Check the stirrup; they need to be around your ankles.
Squeeze your legs and the horse will walk slowly. Lightly pull the rein to move in the other direction. Pull the reins to stop and settle your weight on the animal. Let go off the reins and get off the horse. Give it a pat.
Riding the animal may make you uncomfortable. There are many riding styles (English, Western etc). Some riders prefer one style to the other. Your instructors might use different methods too.
You need to be patient when riding a horse. The first few rides may feel awkward and bumpy. You just need to keep calm and relax your body. Horses that instructors use for beginners are well trained. There is no need to worry about the horse throwing and kicking you.
Over time, the horse and rider will develop a rhythm. Don’t be surprised if some days riding is very easy and other days you feel uncomfortable. Be patient and keep practicing. Do not move on to advance training lessons until you’re ready. Don’t hesitate to ask the instructor for help if you feel uncomfortable.
Tips and Warnings for Riding a Horse
New riders should wear some protective head gear. Wearing long pants is also recommended. Don’t hurry when riding for the first time. The process is to walk and then trot and canter. Don’t gallop unless you’ve had several lessons and ready for it.
Don’t do anything to antagonize the horse, like not letting go of the reins when you stop. In case you fall off, don’t take your frustrations on the horse or instructor. Just get back and try it again. Don’t tense your muscles when on the horse. If you’re nervous, the horse will sense this and it might tense up as well.
One more thing needs to be said about riding a horse. You should always wear a saddle when training. You can try bareback later on. Keep these things in mind and you’ll be fine.