Horseback riding can be an enjoyable activity for anyone who likes horses and enjoys spending time outdoors in a natural setting. Riding offers an opportunity for beneficial physical activity, and you can explore many beautiful places on horseback. Novice riders can gain knowledge and experience by taking lessons. You’ll need to learn how to approach and ride a horse, how to care for it, and how to maintain its living quarters in a barn.
Anyone riding a horse needs to take safety precautions. However, beginners must be especially careful to follow safety practices such as sitting squarely in the saddle and wearing the proper attire.
New riders often make mistakes as they get comfortable in the saddle. Work on gaining balance on the horse without using your arms and without gripping the horse too tightly with your legs.
Horseback riding has a number of benefits, including giving you moderate-intensity exercise and helping you learn how to take care of horses.
The most common injury that happens while horseback riding is either falling off or being thrown from the horse. When accidents happen to dismounted riders, they usually involve being stepped on or kicked by the horse.
It’s important to match a horse’s temperament with the experience and skill of a rider. Spirited horses demand riders with skill, while older horses are best for novice riders.
If you ever wonder how your horse is feeling while you are riding, look at its ears. Horses move their ears according to their moods.
If a fall occurs during horseback riding, a helmet can help prevent a head injury. Riding with a partner is also wise in case an accident occurs.
Horseback Riding (PDF)
Part of horseback riding should also involve learning about horses and how to care for them. Horses need grooming, feeding, and a clean stall in the barn.
Riding equipment should include a helmet, riding boots, a saddle sized for the rider, and a protective vest to lessen the chance of injury if a fall occurs.
Taking riding lessons is beneficial for novice riders. Anyone without riding experience should have supervision while they learn the basics of horseback riding.
Experienced riders often enjoy going on extended overnight rides, camping at night and riding on trails during the day.
Strive to align the shoulders, hips, and heels while in the saddle to center and square yourself on the horse.
Riding Trail Tips (PDF)
Horses have to be in good condition for trail riding. Always make sure that the horse is in adequate condition for an extended ride and trained for the type of terrain.
Horseback Riding (PDF)
Learn about a trail before you try to navigate it, and make sure that both you and your horse have adequate training for the level of difficulty of the trail.
Before riding, check your horse to make sure that it is healthy and without injury. Check the horse’s feet to ensure that rocks are not present.
Riders often experience arm injuries when falling off of horses due to trying to break the fall. Fractures of the shoulder, elbow, or wrist are possible.
Head injuries are the top factor in serious injuries and deaths from a riding or dismounted horse accident.
Boots are important apparel while riding because they provide protection and they fit snugly into stirrups.
Wearing gloves is helpful because they help you grip the reins securely and they protect hands from chafing injuries.
Horseback riding helps riders develop coordination and balance. You will use core, shoulder, and leg muscles as you ride a horse.
Rider Overview (PDF)
You will need to know how to lead a horse out of the barn and back into its stall when you go horseback riding. Being comfortable approaching a horse and caring for it is part of horseback riding.
Control your movements and speak calmly when around horses to avoid scaring them. Horses may react and startle to balloons, dogs, flags, and bicycles.
When riding trails, clean up after your horse and leave the trail better than it was when you got there. Be courteous to other people using a trail, even though horses technically have the right of way.
Sharing the road with cars while horseback riding requires care. Horses that frighten easily should never be ridden on the road, and you must always ensure the visibility of both you and the horse.
Equestrian Safety (PDF)
Experienced riders are actually more likely to be injured than novice riders. Riding English-style is considered to be more dangerous than Western-style riding.
Learn tips for jumping to help both horse and rider train successfully in the arena.
When approaching a horse, do so from the left front of the animal to avoid startling it. Never walk up to a horse from behind because this will put it on the defensive.
Making your presence known to a horse before approaching it will help keep the animal relaxed. Never make direct eye contact because this could threaten the horse.
Horseback riding on the beach can be enjoyable, but riders should observe safety guidelines. Crashing waves can make horses feel seasick, so if the horse acts strangely, ride up onto the sand away from the water.
A respected riding coach offers riding tips to help novices learn more about horseback riding.
Considering your horse to be your partner is helpful for riding successfully and happily.