Every horse is undoubtedly unique as it has its own characteristics. When it comes to learning how to ride a horse, it takes a little bit of time to get to know the animal first and then the required techniques. Some horses will adapt well to riding. For the new rider who is going to ride this type of horse, most of their attention will be put on riding it correctly. For horses that are not used to being ridden, then this is not the type of horse a beginner rider should start with.
The Proper Attire
Before even getting on the horse, the rider should wear the proper clothing. This is somewhat dictated by the style of riding that is going to be enjoyed. Which will be either English or Western riding. English riders usually wear a helmet style hat, whereas Western riders tend to go with cowboy hats. For footwear, both types of riders will wear boots although they are different styles just as the rest of the attire is.
The Horse Outfitting
Before beginning to ride, the horse also has to be outfitted. This will be comprised of the blanket, saddle, girth, bridle, bit and reins. Again this equipment will differ in style depending on whether the horse is being outfitted for Western or English riding.
Mounting the Horse
Now that horse and rider are prepared, it is time to mount the animal which is usually done from the left side. Although it can be done from the right, tradition dictates the left. The rider will put their left foot in the stirrup and pull themselves up while swinging their right leg over the horse.
The posture the rider will utilise will depend on the type of riding. The three basics are:
- Hunter style: Normally used in English riding, the rider sits straight up and leans slightly forward
- Western: The rider, while sitting straight up, will grasp the reins in one hand
- Saddle seat: The rider sits up straight and leans slightly back, so they are not resting on the horse’s shoulders.
The rider now needs to learn how to balance themselves properly on the horse and this takes practise before getting into the full riding mode. The rider can begin to practice this by walking the horse slowly around the paddock. The rider gets the horse to move with a gentle but firm nudge with their heels against the side of the animal. New riders do well at this stage to have someone walk the horse by taking them by the bridle and leading them. This way, the rider can focus on developing their balance instead of also having to control the horse.