As with all things, we have to start somewhere, right? The same goes with horseback riding. We know that you want to immediately become a great horseback rider but as all successes go, there are no shortcuts for a successful horseback riding.
Whether you intend to learn horse riding for the purposes of joining an equestrian competition or for pure pleasure and hobby, the fundamentals of learning it are pretty much the same and universal.
Before you start to ride
First of all though… before you proceed to the actual riding part, you need to have the proper and the necessary gear – for your horse and for yourself too. Invest on a good quality saddle, saddle blanket, bridle, as well as grooming kit. So, why is it important to groom your horse, anyway?
First, brushing your horse promotes good blood circulation. Second, grooming your horse allows you to bond with the animal. Third, it makes the horse looking clean and shiny, so it’s important that you should groom your horse before the ride, as well as after it.
Purchase a good riding attire. For a full list and detailed descriptions of horse riding gear and attire, you need to check out this link: “Equipment Needed to Start Riding Horses.” Then tie your horse safely and securely so that you can saddle it up for the ride.
With your horse groomed and saddled up, then it’s time for you to do the mounting part. Understanding how to properly mount on a horse is very important, and it’s a first big step towards everything else that follows in horse riding.
Before you get on though, check the gear on your horse first to see if it’s properly fitted and snug. When everything’s in place, it’s time to do the mounting part. Hold both reins with your left hand then grasp the horse’s tuft of mane. Hold the back of the saddle with your right hand.
Next, lift your left foot and place it into the stirrup, then pull yourself up, throwing your right leg over your horse’s hindquarter. Be careful not to kick your horse’s rump or hit your leg at the back of the saddle.
Steering the horse
The reins are basically the “steering wheel” of your horse. So if you want your horse to turn left, pull the reins on your left; if you want to turn it right, pull the reins on your right.
Another style of steering consists of holding the reins by both hands, where one hand holds the reins steadily while the other hand applies gentle pressure straight backwards. This will cause the horse to react to the pressure, inciting a response in return.
You may also steer the horse by coaxing in a couple of ways. One is to gently press your leg into your horse’s sides; this will cause the horse to react and respond in turn. Another is to say verbal commands. Don’t forget that horses are extremely intelligent creatures, and most of them will respond to common verbal commands such as “Get up!” to move forward, and “Whoa!” to stop.
Riding and walking
As a first-time rider, it is not generally advisable to ride in places where there are things that get in the way or things that get close to your path, such as fences or tree branches.
Therefore, start your first ride by going to vast and open areas. This will help you concentrate on more important things such as balancing your posture while you’re on the saddle. Horse riding requires a considerable amount of concentration and balance, so the key here is practice.
In your first rides, you are likely to have an instructor who rides close to your side as you are still learning the basics, such as reining and cuing the horse to walk. If you have not taken horse riding before, it would take some time to get accustomed to your horse’s motion.
Eventually, with lots of practice, riding a horse will become much more easy and natural. Make sure to keep your horse under control – be careful not to excite the animal too much, or watch out for things that may alarm or frighten your horse and cause itself to rear.