Horseback riding can be an incredibly joyful experience. Riding a horse gives a person a sense of mystical pleasure. However, the activity is not a walk in the park as it may sound. It requires a lot of training and experience to competently ride a horse. A rider must have proper knowledge on how to mount, steer, and signal the horse so that it moves properly. Furthermore, for an amazing horse riding experience, one must train their horse properly and do the essential groundwork before riding. Groundwork serves to calm the horse and enable the rider to control it easily.
The following are essential tips on how to do horse riding:
#Mount the horse
Before beginning to ride a horse, its essential that one does some sort of groundwork. Secondly, it is important to mount the horse correctly. Although beginners may experience a hard time with mounting , staying calm while doing it proves to be easy and fun. A person can either mount straight from the ground or use a mounting block. Mounting becomes easier with the use of a block as it is a bit of a stretch to get a foot into the stirrup and the pull oneself up from there. Besides, a mounting block prevents putting too much pressure on a horse’s back. There should be another person to hold the horse’s head during mounting.
Mounting should be done from the horse’s left side. Place the left foot in the left stirrup and pull the body upward. Swing the other leg around the horse’s body sort of hugging the horse with the leg, and insert the right foot into the right stirrup. For beginners, its advisable to use an older and well-trained horse which may not shift and move during mounting. Mounting a horse that shifts and moves becomes difficult even for advanced riders. So its important to choose a calm and cooperative during riding.
#Take the right position for balance
Horse riding is a lot more about balance on the move as opposed to gripping with the legs. One should sit squarely in the saddle and ensure their body moves with the horse. The back should be kept straight. In short, one should be able to draw a straight line through the ear, shoulder, hip, and heel. Keep the shoulders straight with the bulk of the weight resting on seat bones in the buttocks. Its important to stay calm to avoid bouncing while on the move. Staying in tune with how the horse is moving reduces the chances of being thrown off balance. For beginners, its advisable to sit near their back pockets without slouching the upper body. Moreover, having body weight set further back will keep a rider secure if the horse stops suddenly.
#Put the legs in the correct position
After securely balancing in the middle of the saddle, the rider should get their legs in the right position. The rider’s legs should turn inwards and not outward as most novices tend to do. Keep in mind that the rider is sort of hugging the horse with the legs. Its not advisable to squeeze the horse too tightly. The toes should point upwards while riding and the ankles should be kept stable.
#Hold the reins evenly without having too much slack in them
The manner in which a horse rider will hold the reins will depend on whether they are riding English or Western. For English riding, the rider should make a fist and pass the reins through the fist such that the loop of the reins faces upwards. Then, the rider should remove both pinky fingers from the fist and place them on the outside of the reins. Place the thumbs on top of the reins to secure them in place. But for Western riding, the reins are not supposed to form a loop. The Western bridle features knotted reins at the top. The rider should keep the reins loose at all times and hold them in the left hand.
#Signal the horse to move.
This also varies depending on whether one is riding Western or English. For English riding, one can gently squeeze the horse’s sides with their legs. This alone will signal the horse to start walking. But if it doesn’t move gently kick it with the heels. In some cases, verbal cues such as clicking can be used to signal a horse to move.
#Ensure the arms follow the movements of the horse’s head.
When a horse is moving, the head moves back and forth following the rhythm of the body. A rider should as well bob back and forth according to the rhythm of the horse’s head. Not following the horse’s movements causes discomfort to its mouth. Besides, it can send mixed signals to the horse since pulling back on the rein signals the horse to stop.
#Steer the horse
While riding English, the rider should keep more contact with the horse’s mouth. In order to signal the horse to turn right, pull back slightly using the right hand. And to signal the horse to turn left, do the same using the left hand. The rider can pull slightly harder if the horse doesn’t respond. Alternatively, one can use their legs and body to signal the horse to move. Its also essential for the rider to look in the direction they wish to move as it helps to guide the horse alongside the legs and rein aids. Horses are usually intuitive. They feel the slightest movements of the seat bones. They are also good at reading a rider’s intentions.
#Trotting the horse
After learning how to properly steer a horse, telling the animal to go from walking to trotting is another area most beginners experience hard times. However, its simple. A rider just needs to gently squeeze the horse’s sides with the insides of the legs. If the horse doesn’t respond , kick it gently with the heels. A stable seat ensures the rider does not bounce out of the saddle.
Horse riding experts strongly advise against holding breathe when the horse is moving in high speed and gait as it can give one side ache, back ache and transmit emotional tension to the horse.
Another important aspect of horse riding is safety. Before embarking on riding, one must ensure they have safety helmets, back protectors, and t proper horse riding attire.
Overall, horseback riding gives a person a marvelous feeling. Talk of the reconnection with nature, the speed, the fresh air , and the partnership with such a magnificent animal. For better learning on how to to do horse riding , its advisable to work with a competent coach or instructor. A professional coach can easily identify mistakes and suggest ways to avoid them. They can also offer worthwhile advice and encouragement to keep the rider safe and comfortable.