Riding a horse for the first time can be exciting. That is until you are right next to a horse about to get on, which is when it starts to get scary.
Horses are not only big, but also fast and strong animals. If you’re not well prepared, then you could make a mistake and end up with injuries to yourself or your horse.
That’s why you must first learn the basics of riding and controlling the horse. To help you out, here are some tips for beginner horseback riders.
Get the Proper Equipment
Before you go near a horse, you need to get the proper horse-riding equipment to have a safe and comfortable experience.
For starters, you always need to be wearing a helmet whenever you’re horse riding. Even professionals wear helmets because anything can happen.
Then, you need to wear proper clothes. That means long pants and the right type of shoes. While you can wear any full-length pants, you should ideally get low-heeled boots to avoid slipping.
Finally, you can consider getting your own saddle and reins. Instead of using worn-out or used equipment, you can get your own English or Western saddle along with the reins and anything else.
Greet Your Horse First
If you’re used to having pets or riding any animals, keep in mind that the horse is a living creature. It might not be happy with strangers riding it.
That’s why you need to do something called “The Horseman’s Handshake” when you first meet the horse. You can do this by putting the back of your hand near the horse’s nose. Then, you wait and let the horse come to you, touch your hand, and smell you. This is its way of giving you permission to ride.
Mount Your Horse Properly
After greeting your hose the right way, you can finally get on it. But, keep in mind that you need to be confident. When you’re nervous, the horse might sense that you’re nervous and it might become uneasy too.
Your guide will tell you which side to mount the horse, and they will probably be holding its head so it doesn’t move. If you’re alone, ask someone to come and hold the horse’s head gently so you can get on easily.
Now, the getting on part. Put your left foot into the stirrup, hold both reins with your left hand, and propel up with your right leg. Avoid pushing the horse down with your arms because that can hurt it. Since it’s your first time, you can put your right hand on the back for balance.
Be Gentle on Your Ride
When you get on the horse properly, you might get a sudden rush and feel quite excited. You can finally ease up, have a straight posture, and start riding the horse.
But keep in mind, you should be gentle with your horse on the ride. You can’t expect it to be running the entire time, and you shouldn’t hit the horse with anything either. Walking is perfectly fine, and be gentle with the reins.
Keep in mind, you shouldn’t hold on to the saddle for balance. If you feel like you might fall, adjust the way you’re sitting and have the proper posture.