Top 10 Beginner Horse Riding Mistakes

Horse riding mistakes are inevitable when you are just practising a new skill when on top of your horse. As a beginner, improvement begins to set in when you realize your errors and set things right.

We have come up with the ‘Top 10 beginner horse riding mistakes‘ to serve as a pointer to your missteps and also show you how to fix them.

Read on!

  1. Soft Grip On The Reins

Beginners usually have a hard time holding the reins tightly at the nearest proximity to the horse. As a result, the hands shift from the regular position and the reins become too long for the rider to create the right balance. This mistake can be costly because you may fall off the horse and get injured.

How do you improve? You want to make sure you hold the reins firmly close to the horse. Take your time and study the flow of the horse gallop. Even though it may create tension that could make you release the reins longer than normal. When this happens, you have to quickly adjust your grip back to the right position. Remember! To keep your balance in check, you must hold the reins tightly and not allow it to slip off.


  1. Clutching With Your Legs

It should be clarified that it is not about how tight you hold with your legs. In fact, clutching will only get you exhausted within a short period of time. Because it puts all muscles from the thighs to the other parts of the legs to full use. Also, leg-gripping the horse means you want to run faster which may be a false signal. beginner h riding mistakes

The solution to this, however, is to make sure that your legs hang from your waist when you are on the saddle. And let your weight drop directly on your heel when galloping. Also, the position of your foot must be in a vertical line to your shoulder and your ear. Don’t force your body weight to be on the stirrups, you may end up jamming the horse if you do.

Go with the flow of the gallop and your weight will fall to your heel momentarily. This will ease your back strains and let you enjoy the ride.


  1. Plopping Your Entire Feet Into The Stirrups

Forcing your entire feet into the stirrups can be inconvenient, and also hazardous. You don’t need to let in all your feet into the stirrups before you gain the right balance. You want to make sure that the widest part of your feet (the region after the toes) is resting on the stirrups and that you do not drag your feet deeply further.

It can even be tough for you when you try to come off the horse which may lead to twisted ankles. As a beginner, it is advisable to be on the right boot, also make use of safety stirrups.



  1. Standing On Your Toes

Okay, so you were just taught how to post a trot and the next thing you do is standing in a tippy-toe position. This is not the right to practice. When you stand on your toes, your body would not be well-positioned on the saddle. This may create double-bouncing which could get you out of the riding flow and lose balance eventually.

To correct this, you have to concentrate on your leg stance. Your heel must lay horizontally on the stirrups. Note that you are standing on your toes if your heels bend diagonally towards the stirrups. This could cause your muscles to wear in exhaustion and you wouldn’t be able to ride for long.

Ensure that your feet enter the stirrups well enough that it is reaching your ankles, that way, your weight will properly be on your heel.


  1. Pulling Up Your Knees

This is another common mistake among beginners. You don’t need to look like the jockeys, at least not when you are just starting out. Firstly, understand the rules, and you can add your own creativity after. Pulling up your knee means that your feet will not be fully resting on the stirrups.

Correction. Do not try to stand up or else the horse throws you up. Standing up will raise your knees above the regular position which could make your feet swing forward at the wrong time. Sit right and make sure that your feet fall under your body. Your knees can shoot a little forward but not like when sitting on a chair.


  1. Holding Breath

Maybe you need to be reminded that horseback riding is not an anaerobic sport like weight lifting where you have to hold your breath tight to pull up the weight. Holding your breath will only get you exhausted quickly when riding on a horse. Horseback riding requires a constant flow of oxygen if you want to ride for long. So, holding your breath will NEVER work.

Let your breath out and go with the horse strides rhythmically. Don’t hold back any breath and breathe freely as convenient as possible. It is even okay to laugh, shout, smile. Just enjoy the ride and not choke yourself by imprisoning your oxygen.


  1. Staring At The Horse

Hey! Yeah, that’s you on the horseback, so will you stop staring at the horse in excitement before you fall off and face the front?“My coach said to me when I wouldn’t stop looking at the horse constantly. I later realized that it wasn’t just me, it is common among beginners.

When you bend your head trying to look at the horse, you may incur fatigue from your neck down to your spine which would get your back stiffened. And when this happens, you will not be able to straighten your back for the right balance and makes it tough for the horse to move conveniently.

Whether you are looking at the horse in excitement or in nervousness. Whichever reason, it is a bad practice and may put you in danger. Keep your head held high and always face ahead.


  1. Bending Your Back

Bending your back when riding is another mistake you should avoid. For whatever reason you have for bending your back, maybe it is out of nervousness or just because you want to look like those cowboys you see in movies. It is never a good thing to do. Because when your back is bent, it will be hard for you to cue your horse properly. This can also affect your balance.

You have to sit up properly and not hunch your back. Keep your shoulders at the regular height and face your front. Also, shoot out your breastbone to allow your breath to flow freely. This stance will give you chill and you will be able to ride longer while having proper control over your horse.


  1. Neglecting Safety Measures

Another common mistake to watch out for is having total disregard for your safety when you are learning to ride. You have just done only a week practice, then you started feeling like a pro and say to yourself, “Yeah, I don’t need helmet any more”. Calm down rider! You still have a long way to go.

Do not feel like you are good enough until your instructor says so. Do not risk your well-being by being carefree. Always wear your helmet and put on the right boot. Neglecting safety measures is risky. And whenever you feel like going full Jack Bauer, always remember this saying: “It is always good to be safe than sorry“.



  1. Letting The Reins Slip Off

Now, this can be costly. You have to learn to conquer your fear of riding before you can win this battle. The only fear is capable of letting the reins slip off your hands. But if you don’t entertain fear, you will remember that handling the reins firmly is your best bet.

This is a hard battle to fight for beginners especially when you jam the horse unintentionally and the horse starts to run faster. If you don’t hold the rein tight enough, it could lead to your fall and result in serious injuries.

Learn to grip the reins tightly. You can ask your instructor to check your gripping method if it is the right way and if you hold it firmly enough. No matter what happened on the horse, whether the horse is going faster or jumping up, your fate will be determined by how firm your grip is on the reins. So you’ve got to hold on the reins properly as your life depends on it because it actually does.

Final Thoughts on Horse Riding Mistakes

When you are just starting to learn how to ride, you are prone to make mistakes. And when you do, don’t be hard on yourself. It is okay to make mistakes. But learning from your mistakes will get you improved.

Lastly, for a fast improvement in horseback riding, you will have to keep practising from time to time. And don’t forget to ask your instructor any questions that you need an answer to.

Now that you have figured out the common mistakes beginners make in horseback riding. Get on the horseback now and up your riding game. Good luck!