Mar 05 2013
Some Horse Riding Tips Based On My Experience
It’s a great experience when you first mount up on a horse. For young riders, the excitement of future adventures tends to dominate. Older riders might notice how high up they are and how hard it is to balance.
All new riders feel the thrill of partnering with the horse. But, if I may be allowed the pun, hold your horses a moment. Horseback riding starts long before that first ride.
Before going near a horse you need to find a good trainer.
There are so many things to learn about managing the horse in the stall or paddock, grooming, tack and how it goes on, leading a horse on the ground, mounting, riding, dismounting, cleaning up after and general horse care that getting an expert to walk you through is vital.
Fortunately, trainers are everywhere. You can find ads for them online or in feed stores. Most stables have trainers on staff. You can also go to horse shows to meet trainers. Finding a trainer is much easier than picking the right trainer. You will want to watch the trainer work with students and talk to them after to make sure you are a good fit.
Some trainers are very directive, giving riders a constant stream of corrections. Other trainers are more hands off letting you make mistakes to learn your lesson. Most trainers are somewhere in between. You will quickly see the trainer’s style by watching them teach other riders. Make sure that her style fits for the way you learn.
You can learn a few things about riding without a trainer, and even without a horse. Hundreds of books have been written on horses and riding. Avoid books on riding technique – you will only learn technique from actually riding. Instead, look for books about understanding horses.
Several experts such as Sally Swift and Monty Roberts have written great books on how to approach riding and the mentality of horses. Swift concentrates on how you can balance your mind and body in riding. Roberts focuses on how horses interact with each other and what that teaches us about how to communicate with them.
When you climb up onto 1200 pounds of bone, muscle and hooves, there are inevitable risks. Riders fall, get stepped on, and get kicked and bitten. Being aware of you and your horse at all times is key to reducing accidents.
For example, while you are working near a horse, if you are aware of where your feet are, you can make sure they don’t get stepped on. Seeing the horse raise his foot can keep you from getting kicked.
In addition to these physical things, you need to also be aware of the horse’s mood. If he pins his ears back, calming him down can keep him from lashing out at you.
Not all accidents can be avoided. Learning how to get off a horse safely can reduce the chance of injury in a dangerous situation. Ask your trainer to go over emergency dismounts with you until you can do it confidently. This will teach you to get off an out of control horse and land on your feet.
“Horseback riding can be fascinating, thrilling and satisfying. Working together with a large animal appeals to something human inside us. While you are scooping up poop, trying to stay seated while the horse balks and getting berated for forgetting to keep your heals down, remember that you are there to have fun. Give your horse a pat on the neck and take an easy walk or a nice canter around the arena once in a while to remind yourself what a great thing it is to ride.”