Horses are a man’s best friend. And men have been riding on their backs, galloping from one side of the world to the other for ages.
Coming back to the ‘now’ of horseback riding, it’s more of a leisure activity.
All theatricality aside, horseback riding is a skill that requires mastering.
Not being comfortable while you’re on your four-legged friend can be unsettling for you and your horse.
And it doesn’t take much from a horse to throw you off if he decides that he doesn’t want you on his back anymore.
So before you hop on that stallion, let me take you through some beginner guidelines for horse riding.
Horse riding mistakes you need to avoid:
Do not wear loose clothes!
While loose clothing can be comfortable to wear and keeps the body aerated.
They tend to get tangled up somehow. And the saddle is a tight fitter.
So in case you need to jump off your horse abruptly, a tangled-up scarf can send you dragging alongside your horse.
Equestrian clothing is, therefore, an avoidable option.
Sandals, trainers, flip-flops, and any sort of thick footwear is a no-go for horseback riding.
The stirrup can be a snug place to jam your feet into. And any sort of slip out can make you lose your balance.
On the other hand, getting your foot stuck in the stirrup is just as bad.
Just like loose clothing, getting tangled up in any way can send you dragging with your horse.
If you’re a first-timer and you haven’t invested in gears yet, try cowboy boots.
Leather boots with thin soles should also do it.
Fastening yourself into the saddle
Getting off the horse, when needed, is just as important as getting on it.
Horses sometimes don’t want you on them, and you need to be able to quickly get off.
And therefore, you should never tie yourself to the saddle.
You might think securing yourself firmly in the saddle is the best way to avoid falling off.
But that is a big mistake. There has to be ease between getting on and off the horse whenever it’s called for.
So don’t over-do it!
Letting go of the Reins
The only way for you to control your horse is with the reins.
The reins guide your horse to go left, right, and stop.
While a slight touch with your feet will tell it to go forward.
Without the reins, the horse wouldn’t know what to do and when to stop.
Sometimes, beginners tend to get nervous, let go of the reins, and grab the horse’s neck.
That is only going to make matters worse.
Never let go of the reins no matter what. It’s the only way you can control the horse.
Thinking that only sitting there should do it
People often think that horses take you where you want to go, and all you need to do is sit there.
But that’s not how it works!
Horse riding is a combination of balance, practice, and coordination between the animal and you.
Your body needs to learn to move with the momentum of the horse.
Any sort of change you make in your body position will affect the horse and vice versa.
So before you go horseback riding, prepare well. It can be a pleasurable activity to run wild with an animal.
But a single mistake can result in devastating consequences.
However, horseback riding isn’t a difficult skill to master. You only need to know your ways and do accordingly.
Breathe with the horse as you ride it, and become one with it.