Tips for beginning horseback riding
Horseback riding has practical applications on a ranch or farm and is also popular as a recreational activity for people of all ages.
Horseback riding is generally safe, but there are risks involved whenever someone deals with an animal with the size and strength of a horse. It can also be a nerve-wracking experience for someone the first time they ride a horse.
Here are a few tips for any beginner equestrian:
- Become acclimated to and comfortable around horses. That means spending time around horses to become familiar with their size and mannerisms. An experienced rider can point out cues in body language indicating if a horse is calm or skittish. For example, ears positioned forward generally indicate a horse is relaxed, while ears pinned back can be a sign of aggression.
- Learn good horsemanship. his involves more than being able to mount and ride a horse. Learn to put tack on the horse and how to clean and store equipment after use. Learn to groom a horse, which can help the animal and rider bond.
- Stay calm yourself. A horse can sense how its rider is feeling. If its rider is calm, the horse is more likely to be calm. A nervous rider can make the horse nervous as well.
- Dress appropriately. Beginners who don’t know if they will continue long-term don’t need to invest in specific riding clothes. Long jeans and a decent pair of boots are enough. Beginners should also wear a helmet.
- Ride in an open area. When beginning, you will need to learn how to guide the horse. Riding away from obstacles makes it safer to learn.
- Never stand directly in front or behind a horse. Directly in front is a blind spot for the horse, while standing behind a horse risks being kicked if the hose is spooked.
Last modified Nov. 13, 2013