At the end of 10 weeks of extensive training, you will no doubt have learned how to ride a horse. This timeframe appeals only to those adults who are mentally and physically fit and are interested in partaking in the learning process.
The items that one is supposed to go through include the following:
1. Walking, cantering, or steering a horse
2. Trotting and halting a horse
3. Achieving basic balance
4. Understanding and grasping controls
Some horse-ride learning platforms find the items, as mentioned above, achievable within ten lessons of private biomechanics. While you can take up to 10 weeks (as noted), a fast learner can do everything in over two weeks.
Experienced riders who need refreshment courses need one lesson – these can have a significant impact on their riding. If you learn and become a pro rider, you shouldn’t stop with the lessons. Every time learning happens, a rider gets an excellent opportunity to refine and develop their performance and their horse’s performance.
Benefits Of Riding A Horse (Tabulated)
So, before we even look at the details on horseback riding learning, why don’t we check the benefits we can reap from experiencing the ride? Read on.
|No.||Type Of Benefit||Specific Benefit||How The Riding And The Benefit Connect|
|1.||Physical||You get more strong muscles.||Of the many isometric exercises, horseback riding is one of them. It helps in the maintenance of muscle strength by targeting specific muscles. Each horseback ride engages core muscles such as the abdominals and the oblique – they are used to achieve balance when a rider is on the horse’s back. Other non-core muscles (pelvis, chest, back, inner thighs) get toughened since the rider will always try to achieve and maintain a balanced posture.|
|2.||Physical||Your coordination levels get improved.||For the most part, riding a horse requires a jockey to perform various movements all at the same time – meaning that most body parts will get involved simultaneously. This eventuality implies that the person riding becomes efficient in utilizing their body parts all at once.|
|3.||Physical||You get a chance to improve your posture.||The lower-back and abdominal muscles involved in horseback riding are essential in maintaining a good sitting and standing posture. This sport will give you an excellent way to improve your posture since it affects the target muscles. The poses that you take while steering a horse all help you to become better and balanced.|
|4.||Mental||You get stress relief.||Inherently, horseback riding is a relaxing activity. This is due to the horse’s trot’s natural rhythm. Also, the gentle-bounce motion can be likened to a pelvic massage – it has a massaging effect on the rider. This effect boosts the relaxation and circulation levels in the rider. The calmness of riding comes this way – a rider on a horse is like an athlete on the track; they are both getting physical exercise and all the good things that go with it.|
|5.||Mental||You get to have improved temperament – good moods for long periods.||Like any other form of active leisure, horseback riding triggers the body to produce serotonin, which is a hormone that enhances moods. In turn, there is a positive contribution to the level of happiness. Also, spending time with the animal and stroking it produces the same chemical. The overall result is that your disposition as a rider will be improved.|
Steps Of Becoming An Excellent Horse Rider
This section is the center of action for the entire article. Horses are worth loving, and even better, riding. Before we step into the action, you should know that learning a horse doesn’t get completed by reading a text titled ‘The How-to of Riding a Horse’ – if you know what I mean.
As mentioned earlier, it should take you around two and a half months (10 weeks) to become a good rider. Like any other subject, it may take you longer – sometimes up to 3 – 4 months, or even years. The ability to understand the basics and the complexes differ from one person to another. In the background, issues like control and physique of the rider play a big part. Other things that influence horseback riding learning are:
1. The trainer and their level of understanding
2. The particular technique being learned
3. The frequency of practice
To give an example, you will find a hard-to-learn skill which will take you longer. If you learn a technique and fail to put practice, you will soon forget it.
Apart from those variables, horse riding needs a lot of muscle coordination and control. To get your body accustomed to that of the horse, you need to take frequent rides.
In this part, you will know the steps of becoming a good horse rider. Some of the details here will deal with the mental aspect of riding. Remember, mentality sharpens physicality, and rewiring and preparing your brain helps in receiving the horse-riding lessons well. The other details will start you off on the horseback riding learning you are about to take up. Let’s go!
1. Understand Your Purpose With The Horse And How To Care For It
Whichever it is – a rented pony or a bought horse – the animal should get the warmth it deserves since it has emotions and feelings. Since we want to manipulate the horse’s mind, we need to master the animal’s specific details.
The call to action (CTA) here is that you learn about your horse. You can do that by getting and reading equine-related books or asking other experienced riders. As you meet your horse, ensure that you know how to groom it. Skills like tying your horse may seem trivial but are very significant in building a relationship with your animal.
A tie should not be too tight, and neither should it be too loose. A right tie leaves the horse comfortable and restrained at the same time.
Grooming is the highest form of care you can give your horse. This will help in bonding, and the horse will learn to become subservient even before your saddle it up and start to ride.
2. Plan The Experience
Sketch out how your plan on riding the stallion or the mare. Once you know the results you want to achieve, you can create a program (like a riding curriculum) to get you to that place.
3. Improve The Ambiance Of Your Life Into A Horse-Rich One
Since you are learning about horseback riding, you should start reading books and watching movies that open you to horseback riding. This will give you the encouragement and motivation you need to start learning. Also, it will make your love for horseback riding unfold naturally.
4. Ensure That You Have The Right Attire – Gear Up!
Riding needs special preparation that should make you suitable for taking rides. The basic gear-up lessons include how to saddle up a horse. Before this happens, you need to ensure that the saddle fits the horse and suits you. The brindle and the reins need to be appropriately done too.
5. Learn Horse Mounting
Before you mount a horse, you need to ensure that the animal is calm – it should neither be startled nor intimidated. If you need to, use some form of support such as a stepping stool. It would help if you didn’t have any fearful thoughts – this could send the horse into panic mode, and an accident may occur.
6. To Walk The Horse, Start By Guiding It
Get hold of both the reins and listen to your instructor and the posture that you are to follow. More often than not, your guide will tell you that the elbows are to be kept straight to the bot.
On the horse walking basics, the typical style is taking a straight line. This should be done slowly, and you should level up when you see that a horse understands your instructions.
7. Learn The Steps Of Turning And Stopping
When you are on the horse and are taking it for a ride, you need to master the art of making it stop or turn. Of the two skills, turning is the easier one if you are employing the approach known as direct reining. This approach guides you to hold the reins. Then, going left will need you to use your left hand to signal a cue (move to the left) and then pulling your horse’s reins towards that (left) direction.
Also, your body posture will tell the horse the direction you want it to turn. If you go left, your horse will move in that direction. Do not forget to incorporate your hands on the turning dynamics.
8. Learn Trotting And Cantering
This skill set is arguably the most difficult to master; they may take up the longest part of your horseback riding training. If you must know, horse trotting is a rhythmic gait that is appreciated in equine events. Before you decide to trot your horse, you will need to be fully used to horse walking.
Be warned – trots may scare you and confuse your whole body. Also, your muscles may be caught up in the struggle of keeping up with the various movements and engagements involved. The only way to learn a trot is to do it, which is spine-tingling for a learner.
Once you have mastered the art of trotting, cantering will come after much quickly.
9. Learn Trotting And Cantering
The necessary six horseback riding skills are the only ones you should master. Once you accomplish that, you can ride your horse anywhere.
You should know that with all the riding business going on, you are likely to fall. The best way to fall – yes – is to fall safely without getting any of your body parts harmed. Like humans, horses experience mood swings that make them behave erratically to the point of throwing you off. It will help if you read more about this to get yourself prepared for that eventuality.
Mistakes That Beginner Horseback Riders Make
Now that you know the items you can learn, how about we look at the mistakes? People make errors and mistakes in every aspect of life, and it doesn’t stop when one learns horseback riding. This part of the article will page you with the common blunders. Let’s roll!
1. Putting Their Hands Out In The Air
You can do free-hands on your bicycle but not when you’re on a saddle and are on top of a horse. They say that it comes as something instinctual, and then, we find ourselves using our arms and hands to find balance. This mostly happens when we start feeling insecure, and mind you, you will still be holding on to the reins.
To fix this, ensure that your hands remain at the hip level. This should be done while keeping an evenly-tense and light grip on the reins. If the horse pulls the reins loose, readjust them. Also, ensure that your elbows are at your side when holding on to the reins.
2. Putting A Tight Grip With Your Legs
While many riders think that riding is all about grip, it is more about balance. You can have your muscles relaxed and still have them working actively. If you use your lower or upper leg to clench on the horse’s back, it is easy for you to get tired. Also, it may communicate to the horse that you need it to move forward. Since gripping and clenching will only make you have a tensed-up body, don’t engage – the horse’s attitude will get affected.
3. Slouching On Hunching Your Body While Sitting On The Saddle
The cowboys and cowgirls we see in movies tend to hunch over. But, just because those movie heroes do it doesn’t mean that they are right. All the positions – slouches, hunches, and curls – tend to affect our balance. When the effect happens, it trickles down to the horse. Consequently, the horse fails to do its job as well as it could do it.
The solution to these unaccepted postures is ensuring that you sit up relaxed and straight. If you don’t know how to sit on a horse, read about it. Ensure that every riding experience is a tension-free and supple one.
4. Holding One’s Breath
This mistake does not only apply to beginners but also experienced riders. Beginners who find it hard to concentrate and are tense often hold their breath.
The fix here is to smile, hum a tune, laugh – all these things need air inflow and outflow.
5. Gripping On The Reins In Deathly Fashion
When you decide to pull on the reins too hard, the horse will get frustrated and confused. Over an extended period, the horse will ignore the rein aids since their mouth will have become desensitized. They will then toss their head to avoid the pain and the pressure.
Treat the horse’s mouth like the chick you don’t want to squash. So, hold the reins with a light but firm grip. Do not tug or yank the reins, but rather, squeeze back when your hands are transiting downwards.
6. Trying To Look At The Horse
Riders who are their entry-level get obsessed with their horse. They want to keep looking at it. Because they are nervous, they may focus on the horse instead of the course. The riders always want to keep an eye on their moving beast.
Remember that when you look down, you are unlikely to see where you are going. Your neck is bent, and your head is down, meaning that you are stiffening your spine. A stiff body means that the horse is feeling overburdened.
It would help if you always watched where you are going. Your eyes should always be forward and your chin up.
7. Disregarding Safety
Beginners sometimes get overexcited with the horse and the riding that they forget to gear up. To properly ride a horse, never forget safe footwear and a helmet. This is probably the biggest mistake any horse rider can make because it can inflict injuries.