When you’re just getting started with horseback riding, there’s a relatively steep learning curve. To become a better rider, you need to continually work to improve your skills.
Overcoming some of the most common challenges faced by beginning riders is a great way to get a better handle on riding. Here are some tips on how to deal with several challenging situations you may face:
The Horse is Difficult to Approach
Sometimes, horses can get a little bit antsy or uncomfortable if you approach them directly in a straight line. A better route is to walk in a curved path toward where the horse is standing.
This will give them a chance to see you’re coming. Don’t look the horse directly in the eyes and make sure they are facing toward you.
When you get close to the horse, gently stretch out your hand so they have a chance to smell it. Spend a few minutes petting the horse before you get into the saddle.
Taking the time to bond with the horse before you ride can provide a much better experience for both of you.
It’s Challenging to Get on the Horse
Mounting a horse can be a difficult proposition when you’re just getting started.
This is the way most horses are trained. If the horse starts to move, don’t try to keep it still.
Instead, allow it to move while at the same time trying to direct it where you want it to go. To avoid putting all of your weight on one side of the horse, push down on the shoulder on the opposite side during the mounting process.
This will help evenly balance your weight.
You feel Unsteady on the Back of the Horse
If you’re not seated in the correct position or if there is a problem with your alignment, it could leave you feeling unsteady when you ride.
Check your alignment, making sure your hips, shoulders, ears and heels are all straight up and down from one another. Keep your back straight.
Making.sure your feet are properly seated in the stirrups with the widest part of each foot making contact with the stirrup. General purpose saddles are ideal for beginners, you can get something more specific later on.
You are Having Trouble Getting the Horse to Stop
Simply pulling back on the reins may not be enough to get the horse to stop. Also, you have to give the horse other clues through your spoken words and body position.
Start by saying “whoa” to the horse. Then, gently pull the reins backward while at the same time deepening your position in the saddle.
You Don’t have Control of the Horse
Unexpectedly, horses can sometimes bolt, ignoring your commands. If this happens, it’s important to have a handle on emergency techniques that can be used to get the horse back under control.
Grasp the reins firmly with both hands. Next, begin pulling on one side of the reins, forcing the horse’s head to turn.
This will cause them to start moving in a circle, making them slow down. Known as the 1-rein stop, this technique is a great way to regain control of a bolting or bucking horse that has bolted or bucking.
However, use this strategy with caution. If the horse is moving too fast in a straight line, you could wind up making the situation more dangerous if you try to pull it into a circular turn.