Horseback riding is an exquisite sport. It brings out our competitiveness and helps riders form a special bond with their horses. Horses are one of the noblest kinds of animals that can be tamed easily by a certified trainer, and in terms of the health benefits of horse riding, there are many.
The sport helps people develop incredible upper body strength, great posture, and efficient leg strength. It can also be risky, so riders should have proper training first. While horse riding can be tricky, it is a worthy sport to practice and enjoy. Here are some helpful tips on how to make the most out of horseback riding.
1. Greet Your Horse
Horses are living creatures, not vehicles or tools we get to control, and they are observant and intelligent. This is why you should learn how to form a good relationship with your horse. They can also be nervous or exhausted, especially at the beginning of their training. It is natural for them to feel scared of a new rider. Introductions are necessary, so you should start by greeting your horse as soon as you see it in the barn.
Let the horse sniff the back of your hand and wait for an accepting gesture, such as touching your hand with its nose. When you feel accepted, you can scratch its neck and show affection. This way, the horse will be comfortable to be mounted.
2. Dress Appropriately
This may be stating the obvious here, but looking the part is essential. You would not want to wear casual, baggy clothes for a horse ride. If you want to feel like this is not your first rodeo, style yourself with horse riding gear that is suitable for riding adventures.
For instance, you can get a comfortable pair of jeans, a shirt, and cowboy boots. Layer up according to the weather because you will be riding for long periods of time. Appropriate riding attire helps you get comfortable in the saddle and have a pleasant experience.
3. Be Confident
While riding a horse may not be a walk in the park, it is better to try to be as confident as you can. Keep in mind that horses can sense when you are nervous, and they may become uneasy as well because of that. You should pay attention to your posture on the saddle and grip on the reins.
You can ask trainers if horses are trained to be mounted from a certain side and what the best way to hold the reins is. Go with the flow with your horse, and try not to pull too hard on the reins. Find the rhythm between the two of you, and you will be off to a good start.
4. Keep Your Eyes on the Road
It is good to focus on the road ahead, instead of just fixing your gaze on your horse. This will help you take more control if you want to change the route or jump over obstacles. You can look through a horse’s ears to steer the way. Your posture is still important here as it will make the trail ride go smoothly.
5. Practice Frequently
Horseback riding takes practice to master. To familiarize yourself with your horse and how to take the lead, you should ride once or twice a week at least. This will teach you many things about riding, such as getting comfortable in the saddle and learning about ground skills, and safety measures.
It is essential to receive training from a professional to get the full experience. Your instructor will have the expertise, so you should do as told and should not be afraid of asking questions. This will further develop your skills and instincts when dealing with horses.
6. Learn about Safety
Horses can be unpredictable sometimes regardless of the expertise of their riders. You should learn as much as possible about safety measures when you can apply them during horse rides.
For instance, you should be aware of a horse’s personal space, likes, and dislikes, as well as any dos and don’ts that your trainer tells you. Try not to scare the horse with any surprise moves and let it know when you are present, by gently approaching it and patting it on the neck.
7. Work on Your Seating Position
It may be tempting to slouch, but it does not do you any good. The ideal position is to relax your back, sit tall and straight, put a foot on each stirrup, and gently hold the reins. Finally, it is essential to pay attention to your posture throughout the ride so that your horse does not feel like it is carrying a heavy load on its back.
Riding a horse is a versatile sport. The thrill of the ride, the bond you build with the horse, and the techniques you use to make horse riding a special experience. To make the most out of it, you should consider being trained by a professional. This way you can do it like a pro in no time.