Equestrianism is an art that has existed for such a long time and cannot be fizzled out as it is as old as man. A unique art that brings excitement and thrill to anyone familiar with it and is defined to be the art of riding, driving and vaulting on the back of horses whose purposes may include work, transportation, recreational activities, artistic exercises, and sports. Horseback riding tips for beginners are needed for newbies to get the hang of the sport. More so, individuals who indulge in this form of art are called Equestrians.
A horse is a mighty huge animal, full of magnificence, breathtaking beauty with the power to leave a long-lasting impression on and stir hidden emotions in individuals. The thought of riding upon such could be both fun and suspense-filled which is expected yet the results are solely determined by our approach towards it. Just as various recreational activities have rules guiding them, so do horseback riding, and strict adherence to these would guarantee an amazing experience for not just those old in the game but beginners. Stay with me to find out more!
Horseback Riding Tips For Beginners
Have a Trainer- You Need Guidance
There is always somebody out there who knows a thing or two than you do, somebody who has the right set skill of a thing, somebody who has mastered an art you yearn to master, therefore such a person has to be sought after to make easy your initiation into the cult of whatever it is you are getting into. Go out, get yourself an experienced person to walk you through those baby steps in horseback riding which is the focus here.
Your professional trainer is there to give you the exact moral support, assurance needed to feel comfortable about the task ahead and share the right tips. After all, experts were once like yourself and went through the same cycle which is; having a trained professional.
Remember not all cases is experience the best teacher and who wants to fall off the back of a tall, large living animal and break a bone or two because of inexperience when it can be avoided? Do the right thing!
Come Looking Like a Horseback Rider
Kit up! Come looking like a horseback rider! Come looking professional and ready because that puts you in the right mood to go on with the task ahead. What exactly do you wear when going on horseback riding? Well, you need to know that every horseback rider should own a horseback riding gear and tack which serves as an aid and covering against injuries that may be encountered along the way. Below are a few that make up a horseback riding gear:
- Helmets; they aren’t negotiable: You have to ensure that a horseback riding properly fitting helmet is not missing from your riding gear as this is in most cases a lifesaver. A helmet prevents the occurrence of head injury if for any reason an unplanned dismount occurs or the horse suddenly throws you off its back in the course of training. Ensure to use a helmet.
- Neither skirts nor shorts; long pants and shirts only: It is not advisable to put on shorts when going on horseback riding either as a professional or a beginner. The right thing to put on are long fitted pant trousers, buttoned-down long-sleeved shirt and fitted jacket to go with to prevent your legs from catching against the saddle and loose shirts or sweaters getting tangled with the machines. Also, avoid scarves to prevent injuries that could occur.
- Riding gloves and leather belts should not be missing because you’ll find yourself clutching and pulling on the reins in other to propel or control your horse. This cannot be done with bare hands, therefore gloves are a must put on.
- Riding shoes/boots: Close-toed shoes or comfortable steady riding boots with small heels would be beneficial when going on a ride for two reasons. First, boots or shoes made of sturdy leather your toes if for any reason your horse accidentally steps on them. Secondly, the right shoes help to keep your feet in place especially from slipping off the stirrups and if you are thrown from the horseback to avoid being dragged along.
3. Horses Have Feelings Too
Yes! Horses have feelings, therefore create a long-lasting relationship with it; great bonding goes a long way to ensuring a smooth ride. Greet your horse, get familiar with it, it’s more like you because it is a living creature. Your horse is not anything like the regular vehicles you jump in and out of or move as pleases you so expect a reaction from it the very first time you would be mounting it. Horses could either be tired, nervous or reluctant to let you climb on its back as a first-time rider but it is possible to get it on your side if due process is followed.
How do you greet your horse? Slowly walk up to the horse shoulder, neck or side of their head, extend your arm, offering the back of your hand for it to smell and nuzzle. Remember patience is key and you need to create a relationship, therefore you wait till the horse touches your arm with its nose. This simple act is called the “horseman’s handshake” which implies your request for permission and consent to mount.
4. Brace Up! Be Prepared
Does a soldier go into the battlefield with a mind-set of defeat? No, he doesn’t and so also should you not. A task already thought of positively most certainly yields positive results. A horse rider should possess these two important traits: courage and endurance which sets you on the right path to becoming an astounding horseback rider who would someday give lessons to those interested in this very art. Of course, you can do it, therefore call forth all the positive energies in the universe because you’ll be needing it all the way through your first horseback riding lessons. Remember, no excuses.
5. Are The Stirrups Rightly Set?
Stirrups are an important part of a saddle that ensures smooth, balanced and safe horseback riding, hence the left and right stirrups should be set to even length to aid safe mount, leg placement, and swift movement.
6. Confidently Mount Your Horse
Your approach towards mounting the horse determines its reaction towards you. As said earlier, it has feelings unlike vehicles and would sense your uneasiness, therefore mount confidently by holding its head. You take it further by simply lifting your left foot into the stirrup, holding both reins in/with your left hand, and propelling upward and forward with your right leg. Ensure your arms do not rest on the horse to avoid hurting it, rather put a hand on its back to gain more balance.
7. No Slouching On Horseback
When learning to ride a horse, the best position to assume is to sit up straight, have your back relaxed, go gentle on the reins, set each foot on the stirrups and remain balanced. Leaving your horse feeling comfortable sets it in the right spirit to go about the task of the day in high spirits.
Start With a Walk
As a beginner, do not go directly into a trot or lope rather start with a walk to get comfortable in the saddle or being on horseback. Never has it been said that a toddler ran before he/she walked or walked before crawling, therefore take it slowly and ensure you’re under the close watch of a professional.
Go Gentle On The Reins
The reins are the control room of the horse. It is usually attached to the neck or mouth thus serving as the steering wheel and brakes which is used to steer it in the direction you wish or bring it to a halt. The reins should, therefore, be loose, while the rider uses his/her body to direct and control the horse. Note that clutching tightly to the reins should be totally avoided because the horse does not stop when you pull back on it but rather reacts in the negative way which could be harmful to the rider.
10. Keep Your Eyes On Your Instructor
This is very important so as to avoid mistakes that could result in bodily harm. Never be faster than your instructor; you stay either behind but not too far from or beside but never in front. This is because he/she is in total control of the situation and is diplomatic about the line of actions to take so trusting such leadership is key because professionalism is at play.
11. You Do Not Know Better
Be slow to speak but quick to listen and attentive enough to carry out every instruction given to you. Never forget a little disobedience could cost you a lot when casualties can be avoided.
Finally, mastering an art is a process that takes time and doesn’t happen immediately. Discipline and hard work amongst other important qualities are required to achieve the goal set.