You’ve always had a fascination with horses, ever since you were a child.
The way they move with such grace and power, the way they seem to communicate with their riders without even needing words – it all intrigues you.
So, when you finally have the opportunity to learn how to ride, you jump at the chance.
You start by researching different riding schools in your area, looking for one that is reputable and has experienced instructors. You want to make sure you’re learning in a safe environment with experienced teachers.
After reading reviews and asking around, you finally find a riding school that seems to be the right fit. The instructors are highly trained, the horses are well-cared for and well-trained, and the facilities are clean and organized.
You sign up for a beginner’s class, feeling excited and a little nervous at the same time.
You arrive at the stable early on the first day of class, eager to meet your instructor and get started.
As you walk through the stable, you’re struck by the peacefulness of the place. The horses seem to sense your presence, and they watch you with their soft, gentle eyes as you pass by.
You finally reach the riding arena, where your instructor is waiting for you. She greets you warmly and introduces you to your horse for the day, a gentle mare named Lily.
You’re a little intimidated by Lily’s size at first, but your instructor reassures you that she’s a sweet and patient horse. You climb onto her back, feeling a bit wobbly and unsure, and your instructor guides you through the basics of riding.
As you start to get the hang of it, you feel a sense of exhilaration and joy.
Once you start finding your balance with Lily’s swaying gait, you start to relax. That steady sound of clopping hooves is one of the best sounds you’ve ever heard.
By the end of the class, you’re hooked.
You know that you want to keep learning, to keep improving your skills and building a deeper connection with these beautiful animals.
You continue to attend classes at the riding school, each time feeling more confident and comfortable on horseback.
It’s never too late to start riding horses.
Horseback riding is a wonderful and exhilarating activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.
These are some of the common questions beginners have about riding:
1) What should I wear for horseback riding?
When it comes to horseback riding, it’s important to wear comfortable and practical clothing that won’t restrict your movement.
You should wear long pants, preferably ones that are made of a stretchy material, and close-toed shoes with a low heel.
It’s a good idea to wear clothes that fit closely to the body because something flapping (like a long coat) can spook the horse.
A riding helmet is also essential for safety. Some schools or instructors will also require you to wear a safety vest.
2) What kind of horse should I ride?
The type of horse you should ride depends on your skill level and the type of riding you plan to do.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to ride a calm, well-trained horse that’s used to working with inexperienced riders.
If you’re an advanced rider, you may want to ride a more spirited horse that’s trained for a specific discipline, such as dressage or jumping.
3) How do I mount and dismount a horse?
Mounting a horse involves standing next to the horse, placing your left foot in the stirrup, and swinging your right leg over the horse’s back.
Dismounting involves sliding down the horse’s side, using your right foot to push off the stirrup and gently landing on the ground.
Mounting horses from the left side is a tradition that has been practised for centuries, and it is believed to have originated from a practical reason.
When soldiers wore swords, they carried them on their left side, which made it easier to mount their horses from the left side without the sword getting in the way.
This tradition has continued to this day, and it is now considered standard practice for riders to mount horses from the left side.
Additionally, mounting from the left side helps to maintain consistency and order in group riding situations, as everyone will be mounting their horses from the same side.
4) How do I communicate with my horse while riding?
Horses communicate with body language, and as a rider, you’ll learn how to use your body to communicate with your horse.
You can communicate with your horse through your hands, seat, and legs, and it’s important to be gentle and consistent in your movements.
Some horses are also trained for voice commands.
The way you learn to communicate with your horse will also vary some by the style of riding you do.
5) What kind of equipment do I need for horseback riding?
In addition to a helmet, you’ll need a riding saddle, bridle, and reins.
Every horse gets fitted for equipment individually, meaning that the equipment on one horse is rarely used on another.
This is especially true in a riding school, where safety, comfort and security is important.
The tricky thing about using equipment that is fitted to the horse only, can impact the quality of your riding. A saddle that isn’t the right fit for your height or body shape can poorly impact your balance and ability to communicate with the horse.
However, only when you own the horse and are responsible for footing the cost of the equipment, will you be able to get the kind of equipment that suits you both.
You should keep in mind that making sure the equipment you have for your horse is the right type and fit, is a continuously ongoing process.
You can’t just buy a piece of tack and forget about it.
Once you’ve bought it, it needs proper upkeep and monitoring to ensure it continues to be the right fit for your horse.
6) What are the basic riding techniques I should know?
The basic riding techniques include mounting and dismounting, steering, stopping, and walking, trotting, and cantering.
It’s important to learn these techniques from a qualified instructor to ensure that you’re riding safely and correctly.
When you join a beginner’s class, you don’t have to have any prior knowledge about horses or riding – all you need to bring is your enthusiasm for learning.
7) How do I stay safe while horseback riding?
Staying safe while horseback riding involves wearing a helmet, riding a well-trained horse, and following proper riding techniques.
You should also be aware of your surroundings and avoid riding in areas with potential hazards, such as uneven terrain or low-hanging branches.
Understanding what your horse is communicating to you is also a part of improving your riding skills and safety in general.
If you feel uneasy or afraid, it’s best to not mount the horse until you feel more confident or taking it slow so that you have time to acclimate to every new thing.
If you’re scared of riding or afraid of horses but still want to ride, starting with some private lessons might be the way to give yourself enough time to work on your fear.
8) How often should I ride a horse?
The frequency of your horseback riding will depend on your availability and personal preferences.
Some riders may only ride once a week, while others may ride several times a week.
Depending on what your goals are with riding, your instructor can also recommend levels, groups, and lesson frequency.
If you wish to compete, you’ll ride more often. If you’re simply doing it for the enjoyment of riding, you can do it less often since you won’t have to worry about competition dates etc.
9) How do I choose a reputable riding school or instructor?
When choosing a riding school or instructor, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable establishment.
Look for a school or instructor that has a good reputation, experienced instructors, and well-trained horses.
You can visit a few stables and observe their classes to help you make up your mind.
10) What are the benefits of horseback riding?
Horseback riding has numerous physical and mental benefits, including improving balance, coordination, and strength, reducing stress, and increasing confidence and self-esteem.
The experience of riding a horse can be exhilarating, and the connection between horse and rider can create a sense of serenity and calmness.