Thinking of going horse riding for the very first time? It is normal to feel nervous and anxious for the first ride, after all, it is a large living animal that we are talking about. Horseback riding is a great vocation and a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. The significant point is to get trained by professionals and learn all the tips you possibly could for a safe and enjoyable ride.
So here are 10 tips for absolute beginner riders which when kept in mind you might probably end up being an equestrian.
1. Invest in the right horseriding gear
Just as the quote goes, you need to dress for the occasion. Long pants and the right footwear are considered the most essential for horse riding. The shoes could be anything that closes off the toes but the most preferred option is boots that are of low heels. These help with the right placement in the stirrups and avoid any slip up if at all. Be sure to avoid any extra accessories like long earrings, purses, scarves, or anything that could potentially get stuck in bushes, saddles, or trees. Wearing a simple yet functional attire is the key to moving forward. Last but not the least, wear a helmet at all times while you are riding to ensure your safety.
2. Greet your equine partner
Creating a friendly equation between your horse and you are an essential part of horseback riding. Establishing a good relationship with the horse is a stepping stone towards an amazing lesson and experience. Understanding that it is a living animal makes you appreciate the experience more so than ever. The horse itself could be overwhelmed and the small meet and greet before the ride could ease the waters of both parties. Just extend your arm and let the horse smell the back of your hand. This is often termed a horseman’s handshake and is often looked up to as seeking the agreement of the equine partner to successfully mount him.
3. Be confident while mounting
The feeling you experience is very much transpired and felt by your equine partner too. So make sure you mount the horse with utmost confidence so the horse is also feeling easy and calm. Most of the time the trainer usually holds the horse still while you mount and hence the scare of falling or the horse moving from the spot could be removed from your system. The right way to mount the horse is to use the left foot and place it on a stirrup. Hold on to the reins using your left hand and push yourself putting propulsion on your right leg so you can mount as smoothly as possible. Be sure to not put your entire pressure on the horse as it could strain him. Just support is appreciable while mounting.
4. Maintain a straight, calm posture
The best position to maintain on the horse is a straight composure that is calm and tall. The idea is to relax your back, holding on to the reins, with your foot on the stirrups on each side while balancing on the horse. Horse riding thus requires an immense amount of strength and stamina while balancing the posture. A position that is comfortable for the rider and the horse is the key element of focus here. The horse is to be given the impression of not carrying something heavy and enjoy the ride as much as the rider.
5. Tender touches with reins
Holding the reins depend on the type of horseback riding you are training for. With Western and English riding, there are different ways of holding reins. Like in English style riding, reins are maintained on each hand while Western-style focuses on both reins hold by one hand. It doesn’t matter what style you use, the idea is to be gentle with the reins and to always keep the horse’s comfort in mind while tugging or pulling. Steering to either left or right could be done by gently directing the rein and pushing the heels down to the stirrup.
6. Use saddle horn sparsely
It is often seen in beginner riders to overuse the saddle horn for maintaining the balance up there. However, this practice needs to be curbed and a more organic way of adjusting posture should be incorporated. Extend your legs a little more or use the reins accordingly every time you feel unstable. If there is a habit of using a saddle horn for the right posture, there are high chances of you falling over if an unexpected situation does arise along the way. Be sure to learn the right tips right away so that the wrong techniques could be avoided from becoming a habit. It is also to be noted that in the UK and other countries, saddle horn in itself might not be included.
7. Maintain your gaze forward
This might feel like a very usual tip, but for most beginners, the major focal point is on the horse. But this needs to be changed and fix your gaze on the trail ahead so that you can grasp the entire environment and analyze situations accordingly. Holding a straight posture up, while on the horse and looking forward on the trail is the right and optimum way to move forward on the horse riding trip. It is often hard to just focus on the road ahead when the equine partner is graceful and beautiful, but it is similar to focusing on your car while driving rather than on the road ahead.
8. Be in sync with the horse
This has to be taken with a pinch of salt. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to let the horse do whatever he wants, but the idea is to strike a balance inc composure and the journey of the horse. Be the horse and try to flow with the rhythmic movement f the horse instead of resisting the movement. Be free and calm and sway from side to side as the horse walks and you will see yourself enjoying the lesson much better and also reduce the chances of any falls or accidents. Flow with the horse’s movement.
9. Take it slow
Gradual gradation is of utmost importance in horseback riding. For beginners or novices, it is highly recommended to just take a walk on the horse. Let the horse get used to you, and let you get accustomed to the position, movement, and overall feeling. The need to graduate and move to further movements could cause frantic accidents especially when you are new to horseback riding. So make sure to try and enjoy every single step in the training and keep at it. With time you are sure to get to higher levels of speed and agility.
10. Dismount with confidence
Be sure to dismount from the house with the same energy and feel you mounted with. Always make sure your equine partner is all still before you get ready to dismount. If you could get your trainer to hold your horse still while you dismount yourself, there could be more calmness and safety to it. Show gratitude to your horse, provide him with some water and just appreciate the valuable experience you just had.