Riding horses when you are already used to it is quite thrilling and even if it has been quite some time since you saddled one, you still have the hang of how to guide the horse, how to mount it, how to calm it, and generally what to do if it doesn’t seem comfortable. But what about beginners? What should they do to ensure they won’t have too many nasty surprises?
First, there is safety to think about. Several people have had awful experiences, and we do not wish to have the same thing happen to us. Therefore, learn from an expert first or, at the very least, have one accompany you should anything happen. Wear a helmet and all the proper gear. Don’t get frightened when mounting the horse as this animal has a very strong intuition. And, especially, take it easy. Ride slowly for your first time – don’t believe that because things seem to be going well, that you can gallop or run immediately. Start at the beginning!
Then, you need to ensure you are wearing the right type of clothes. Jeans and a pair of boots with heels are a must (the heels are to keep your foot from sliding in the stirrup). If you don’t own boots, wear very sturdy sneakers. Your jeans must be long – no shorts or capris because you could end up rubbing your skin raw by the saddle.
Before jumping on, though, you need to meet the horse. This is an animal that likes to smell you before you can touch him, so offer him the back of your hand – right under the nose and mouth. Horses, and many other species of animals, greet each other this way, and they appreciate when you do it too.
If you are riding in a place where there are several horses to choose from, ask for one that is used to beginners. They are usually more forgiving of your mistakes should you make any!
As for riding per se, the idea is to keep your balance by moving with the horse, not by keeping your legs and upper body stiff. Try to sit near the back pockets but don’t slouch; this position helps keep the rider secure should the horse stop suddenly.
Always look where you are going. Not only does this ensure you don’t get lost, but horses are actually capable of reading our intentions. This will help you guide him. Also, keep the ball of your foot on the stirrup so if you fall, you don’t stay stuck. Always look where you are going. Not only does this ensure you don’t get lost, but horses are actually capable of reading our intentions. This will help you guide him. Also, keep the ball of your foot on the stirrup so if you fall, you don’t stay stuck.
Once you are walking, hold the reins evenly and make sure you have a good grip on them – don’t let them too loose. This is to make corrections more quickly if necessary. However, don’t hold them too tight because this can hurt the horse’s mouth.
Keep these tips and tricks in mind, and you will have a pleasant first experience!
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