Chomping at the Bit?

Learn These Five Basics of Horseback Riding and the Rest Will Come Easily

Have you signed up your youth for riding lessons? Horseback riding lessons can help teach patience, discipline, understanding, empathy, compassion, self-control, and dedication. If you are thinking about signing up your youth or are about to start your riding lessons, here are a few tips to help you prepare for your first horseback riding lesson. 

1.) Posture is key.
This is something you can practice before you even arrive at your first lesson. Proper posture includes sitting up straight, pressing the balls of your feet in the stirrups, and pushing your heels downward. Rookies are known to sit on the saddle with their legs dangling in the stirrups, but if you want to start your lessons with an advantage, get used to sitting with your weight evenly distributed to the balls of your feet. This will make the ride more comfortable for you and the horse, as well as help you stay in control.


2.) Level hands.
Hold your hands at hip level.  This is important so you will be able to effectively keep control over your horse. If you raise your hands to stay stable, this is not good for you or the horse. If you hold them incorrectly, you could also hurt the horse’s mouth when you yank in an upward motion with the bit. A helpful tip is to hold the reins toward your stomach and pull toward your belly button.

3.) Body language.
Your reins are not the only way to communicate with your horse. You can also use your body weight. Try using your legs and body to direct your horse. To stop, try leaning back, lowering your heels, and sitting deeply while gently pulling on the rein. To turn right, move your right foot away and gently press your left leg into the horse’s left side. To go faster, lean forward. That’s why position is key as it helps give clear direction and doesn’t confuse your horse.

4.) Start slow.
Confidence is key when starting out, as horses are great at reading body language. If they sense you are a new rider, they might break into a run or attempt to make you fall off. So, start slow, master the walk, trot, using the stirrups, and stopping. Once you’ve mastered these, you can attempt running, but it’s important to start slow.


5.) Safety equipment.
Even if you have the most docile horse on the ranch, accidents still happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to wear the proper safety equipment, including closed-toe boots, a safety helmet, and gloves.

Once you master these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the full benefits of horseback riding lessons such as physical health, psychological health, socialization, relaxation, and the love of a human-animal relationship.

It all begins by being prepared and mentally ready for your lesson, then the ride will be more comfortable for you and the horse, as well as help ensure proper form and a safe ride. So, follow these tips and enjoy your next riding lesson. Then you will be well on your way to enjoying all the benefits horseback riding has to offer.

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