Ride A Horse
By Wendi Garcia
Some people make the mistake of thinking that all a horse rider does is to sit on top of a horse and guide its way. The truth is, riding a horse is one challenging sport that actually requires extensive knowledge and lots of rigorous training and practice.
Of course, when we say "challenging," we do not mean impossible, so if you have not tried riding a horse before, you can still become a master rider eventually if you have the right attitude and perseverance to learn, train, and practice. To give you a heads-up, here are a couple of tips on how to learn this sport.
Steps on How to Ride a Horse
1. Look for a qualified riding instructor. You cannot simply hop onto a horse and gallop away unless you were born with innate horseback riding prowess. If you are new to this sport, you need to have an experienced and knowledgeable instructor to teach and guide you.
2. Prepare to ride the horse. Take note, you must be fit and healthy. Obviously, horse riding is a physical sport. If you are on the weak side, chances are you would have a difficult time engaging in this activity. You need to exercise daily to get into shape. Improve your flexibility, range of motion, and strength not only to ride a horse properly but also to avoid injuries.
3. Get onto a horse. To do this, first, stand on the near left side of the horse. Then you put your left foot in the stirrup, hold the wither and pull yourself up while swinging your right leg over the back of the horse. Do not hold the saddle while mounting because this will cause it to slide towards you.
4. Get ready to ride it. Once you have mounted into the horse, gather your reins and hang your legs near the stirrups. Slide your feet into these stirrups. Next, you start with a slow walk. Squeeze your legs gently on the horse’s lower calf and the horse would start moving. If it does not, give it a few gentle kicks.
5. During the slow first ride, keep your heels down. Also, straighten up your back and hold your chin up high. Form a straight line with your body from the heel to the hips and to the shoulders.
6. Practice regularly. Learn the basics and make it a habit to practice what you have learned until you see improvement, and then eventually you will get into the hang of it.
Reining – Learn to steer using your legs. If you want to go right, use your left leg to put pressure on the horse's body. Do this while loosening up the rein on your left hand and pulling it outward as if to open a door.
Stopping – Pull back your reins and sit deep.
Posting – This is the method of rising to the beat of the trot.
Cantering – To do this, squeeze your outside leg a bit on the horse’s body. You should be able to sit back slightly, rock forward and backward. This is also known as the “lope.”
Galloping – This is the fastest gait, which can be taken on during cantering. While cantering, squeeze your calves and then sit slightly forward with your bottom elevated.
More Pointers to Keep in Mind
Release your reins when you stop.
Don't hesitate to ask your instructor any questions.
Get to know your horse.
Be sure that you are comfortable during your ride.
Keep your heels down.
Look where you are going.
Move along with the horse.
Wear safety gear such as a helmet, riding boots, long pants, and a back protector.
Do not ever sit or kneel near a horse.
Mount from the left side.
Riding a horse can be an exhilarating experience but remember that it can also be quite dangerous.
So if you want to engage in this sport, keep these tips in mind and always be on the safe side.