Horse riding is a fun and relaxing, challenging and demanding, invigorating and rewarding activity. As with any sport, horse riding calls for training before you can participate safely and effectively. You should know that horseback riding is not as easy as it looks although watching an experienced rider on saddleback looks cool!
Because horseback riding involves the use of many muscles, it is important that you lose weight, improve your endurance levels and increase your strength by a flexible and stretching exercise program before you start your horse riding training program. You also need to be mentally strong so you are in control, not only of yourself, but also of your horse.
You need to exercise a few safety tips when you are near horses as horses are large animals and handling them needs some skill. The more you spend your time with horses, the more you will understand how to deal with them. Besides a qualified horse riding instructor should always be present around you to help you get knowledge.
The first thing you need to do when you are going to learn horse riding is to wear appropriate clothing. Especially designed heavy riding boots and safety helmets are a must-have without which you shouldn’t even think of riding. You need to put on riding pants so your legs don’t get chafed.
The funny part is that even the horse comes with a lot of stuff on it. A saddle and pad, a bridle, a halter and rope are a few must-have things for a horse which you are going to mount for learning horse riding.
The next thing to understand is the different horse movements so you are prepared for any unexpected horse movements and jerking. You should know when to stall the horse, when to maneuver it and when to pull it back.
Getting to know the mood of your horse is equally important. There are certain equine expressions which are easily readable. Learn to interpret the mind signals that your horse is sending out because horses are sensitive animals. No wonder you see people whispering something into their horse’s ear most of the time.
There are a number of different horseback riding styles that you can choose to learn. For example, the most popular ones are the Western Riding style which is the best style to learn for beginners as Western saddles provide the greatest security. Or you can opt for the English Riding Style which has a few variants in it.
The initial part of learning horse riding is to learn the art of mounting and dismounting a horse. Protocol dictates that mounting and dismounting should always be done form the left side. Once you are honed in this art, the second most important thing is to get a grip on the different gaits of a horse – the walk, the jog or trot, the lope or canter. Mastering the gaits takes much time and practice. Once you get the hang of this, you can try out some stunting activities like horse jumping, hurdling etc.