5 Horseback Riding Basics for Beginners

Do you know the basics of equestrian sports?

Horseback riding is an amazing way to exercise, get in touch with nature, and bond with your horse. While it may look simple from on top of a horse, equestrian sports are actually quite difficult.

If you are getting started with riding, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the new terms. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Follow this comprehensive list of horseback riding basics to get you started.

1. Saddle Up

The saddle should be placed in the center of the horse’s back and adjusted to fit. The saddle’s stirrups should hang at the rider’s armpit level and the girth should be done up firmly.

Once it is in place, the rider should ensure the last thing to do is to place the bridle on the horse’s head and secure it. Gathering the reins, the horse is then ready to have the rider mount securely. 

2. Grooming

Grooming is more than just keeping your horse looking clean and shiny. It should involve using the right tool like horse brushes, paying attention to the horse’s feet, and cleaning the tack. Such attention ensures your horse is healthy and comfortable.

You should brush your horse from head to toe, paying careful attention to areas where mud and dirt collect, such as under the mane and tail. Inspect your horse’s body for any lumps, swelling, or tenderness during the grooming process, and more importantly, use as much opportunity as possible to bond with your horse.

3. Ride Position

To achieve this balance, the stance is important, with feet in the stirrups, the lower leg in a relaxed position in line with the horse’s rib cage, and an upright, “tall in the saddle” posture. The hands also need to be in the right place, with wrists curved inward and thumbs outside the handle.

Practicing the correct ride position and paying attention to details while on the horse helps riders become more capable and confident. When mastered, you’ll be able to communicate with your horse and enjoy your rides!

4. Know the Horse 

It is important to observe the horse’s attitude and receptiveness to the rider to figure out the horse’s personality and what would be the best approach for riding them. Make sure to check for signs of stress such as stamping, yawning, or ears laid back as these show the horse is not comfortable. Also get used to the horse’s movements and once comfortable, make sure to reward the horse with a stroke or gentle pat. 

5. Ride Often 

Scheduling frequent rides is beneficial, not only for the rider but also for the horse. The horse learns to look to the rider as a trusted leader and to stay calm and comfortable in the saddle. Riding allows the rider to practice spending time with the horse and to learn to know the horse’s small movements and ways of going.

It is important to remember to start with shorter rides that include warm-ups, walking, trotting, and cantering. Plan to give the horse breaks, work in circles for collection, change of direction, and transition between gaits. 

A Guide to Horseback Riding for Beginners

Horseback riding is a rewarding, fun, and challenging equestrian sport that can be enjoyed for years to come with the right basic foundation. Take your time as you learn the basics and never forget safety.

With the right tools, knowledge, and horse care, you’re ready to start your horseback riding journey. Get started now!

Need more info aside from these basics about how to ride a horse? Check out our other articles.

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