Woman rider adjusting the length of her stirrups on her saddle as her horse stands ready in an indoor equestrian school

How to Ride a Horse: 7 Important Tips for Beginners

Have you recently picked up an interest in learning how to ride a horse? You’ve seen people riding horses on television and have always admired the animal, but are you ready to ride yourself? Although riding a horse might look easy when you’re watching a professional do it, there’s much more to it than you might know.

Horses are mystical creatures and are breathtaking to watch trot around. With that being said, it’s important to treat them as such. Horses each have their own personality and will need time to trust a new person.

With the right horseback riding tips, however, you’ll be riding with confidence in no time. If you want to learn how to respect and ride a horse with grace, then you’re in the right place. In this guide below, you’ll find more information about horseback riding for beginners and how to develop a relationship with your horse.

Continue reading to get started.

1. Wear the Right Equipment

The first step to riding a horse is knowing what to wear. You should have all the necessary equipment to make the ride comfortable and smooth for both you and the horse. Always avoid wearing shorts, skirts, or sandals while riding.

Instead, choose to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Low-heeled boots are ideal because they’ll prevent your feet from slipping out of the stirrups. You should also refrain from wearing any type of accessories that could become tangled in the reins or the saddle.

Items like purses and scarves are two examples. Last, don’t forget your helmet. In case of a fall, your helmet will keep your head safe.

2. Take Time to Greet Your Horse

Now that you’re dressed and prepared, it’s time to greet your horse. That’s right, you’ll need to greet your horse before mounting it. Your horse is a creature with its own mind and thoughts.

Many horses need time to trust their riders. Take your time when greeting your horse. Be patient.

All horses are different, and you never know if your horse might be scared, nervous, or even tired until you greet them and pay close attention to their body language. Greeting your horse before riding is a good way to begin establishing a relationship. To greet your horse, you’ll want to extend your arm in front of the nose.

Offer the back of your hand to the horse and wait until the horse touches your hand with its nose to smell you. This is commonly known as the horseman’s handshake.

3. Learn How to Mount Properly

After greeting your horse, you can prepare to mount properly. If you’re feeling nervous, then there’s a good chance that the horse will sense this and also feel nervous. For this reason, you want to mount with confidence.

Practice mounting on a few times before you mount the horse. To mount, you’ll lift your left foot and place it in the stirrup. Hold onto both of the reins with your left hand.

Then, push yourself up using your right leg and in a smooth motion, mount the horse. Try not to use your arms to push down on the horse while doing this, as it could hurt the horse.

4. Relax and Sit Up Straight

Now that you’ve mounted the horse, it’s time to relax and sit up straight. Be sure not to slouch while riding the horse. Sitting up straight and tall will also help you keep more control over the horse.

Be sure to hold the reins gently in your hands and keep your back relaxed. Each foot should be in its stirrup and you should be holding your own weight to prevent weighing down on your horse.

5. Pull Gently on the Reins

You may believe that you need to pull tightly on the reins in order to control your horse. However, this is not the case. Instead, you want to pull gently on the reins.

There are a couple of different ways to hold the reins, depending on your riding style. You’ll take both reins in one hand when practicing Western riding. You’ll hold one rein in each hand when practicing English riding.

In both riding styles, you’ll want to relax your arms and refrain from pulling on the reins too hard as this could hurt your horse. During the majority of the time, your arms should create right angles at your elbows. To turn right, you’ll gently move the right rein to the right.

You’ll do the same with the left rein to turn left. Practice and remember to be gentle and patient.

6. Slow Down Before Stopping

When you want to stop the horse, avoid coming to an abrupt stop unless absolutely necessary. Trying to quickly stop can frighten or surprise your horse. In return, your horse might react in an abrupt way.

To prevent this from happening, you want to slow down before coming to a stop. To slow down, gradually lean back in the saddle while gently pulling the remains towards yourself. Then, while pulling back, push down on your heels and state a stopping command, such as “halt” or stop.”

7. Schedule Horse Training

To improve your horse riding skills and to help prepare your horse for riding, it’s never a bad idea to schedule horse training sessions. Professional trainers can work with riders and horses alike to create a wonderful riding experience for both the rider and the horse.

Do your research and find a training facility that uses natural horsemanship to help train your horse, such as Liberty Training Horses. With practice, patience, and understanding, these trainers can help you build a better relationship with your horse, which will help improve your riding skills as well.

You Can Learn How to Ride a Horse in No Time

Riding a horse takes time a patience to get it right, but once you learn how to build a relationship with a horse and ride like a professional, you’ll soon find a new passion. If you want to learn how to ride a horse in no time, then be sure to keep these tips in mind and don’t hesitate to schedule a few training sessions as well.

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