Horse riding has been a popular sport for many centuries now. In the olden times, warriors rode on them as they engaged in battles. They later became a popular mode of transportation. Nowadays, horse riding is more popular as a sport or as a hobby. And unlike what many people think, it is not that difficult to ride a horse as long as you know some basic facts.
What to Wear
What you wear can greatly impact your riding experience and safety. You should wear something comfortable to allow free movement. Avoid wearing clothing or unnecessary accessories like bracelets, necklaces, scarves that can easily get caught in a branch of a tree, on the saddle, in the horse’s mane, or other parts of your riding equipment. Additionally, any flashing or reflection from the jewelries that you may be wearing can startle the horse. Clothes that flap around can also scare the horse and cause it to lose its concentration; so avoid wearing them.
The best attire for horse riding is long pants or jeans and a shirt that is tucked into the pants. Your footwear should completely cover your feet to avoid injury and it should have heels to prevent accidental sliding from the stirrups. Boots with heels are preferred since they also protect your shins and ankles.
Greeting the Horse
You do not immediately ride a horse without first introducing yourself. Approach it calmly, gently and in a confident manner. Let the horse smell the back of your palm as a way of greeting it. Be sure to show that you are not scared or nervous as the horse can sense that and could affect its attitude during the ride.
Mounting on the Horse
When properly mounted, you can go a long way while developing trust between you and the animal. If it is your first time to ride, request someone to hold and keep the horse steady while getting on. Also, be sure you are already familiar with the use of the various riding gears including the reins, stirrups, saddle and others. Be sure that you are also mounted comfortably on the stirrups and that your bodyweight is evenly distributed in the middle part of the horse. Hold the reins loosely over the front of the horse. Holding the reins too tightly might confuse the horse and let it think you want to stop.
Walk Your Horse
Many horses are trained to respond to pressure on the rider’s leg. To avoid confusing the horse, keep your legs still unless you are giving a signal to the horse. To let the horse walk, squeeze both of your legs to the side of the horse. If the horse does not respond, give it a gentle kick to the side while you also signal it with a clucking sound. Lean with a straight back on your seat while the horse is walking; lean back when you go downhill and lean forward when you go uphill.
Steer Your Horse
To steer a horse, hold both reins using one hand and pull them to the right if you like the horse to move to the right, or pull them to the left to let the horse go left.
Stopping the Horse
To signal the horse to stop moving, just firmly pull the reins toward you and then say “Whoa.”
Knowing these horse riding basics helps you prepare for a comfortable and enjoyable horse riding activity.