Getting on the back of a horse can seem daunting at first. It’s not only a new experience for you, but it’s a new adventure for your horse as well. You and your new companion are going to need a lot of space, time, and patience. The Cottonwood’s equestrian center is here to assist you at whatever level you may be. When you’re getting ready to ride for the first time, you may not be aware of the necessary steps and tools. That is why we put together a list to help you avoid rookie mistakes.
Grab a Partner
It can be beneficial to have a trainer or a friend with previous experience to help you start. Not only will you feel safer with a guide, but you’ll also have the opportunity to correct any problems from the beginning. Horses typically train better when there is an instructor involved. Instructors at The Cottonwood’s equestrian center can help you build a strong foundation and skill set to embark on this new adventure!
Mind Your Posture
A rider’s posture should form a straight line. Your hips, shoulders, and legs should all be in line with each other, and it is important not to slouch. Don’t rely on the saddle for balance, but rather focus on having a firm grip on the horse with your legs — balance yourself by having a loose grip on the reins. Keep breathing, keep your eyes looking forward, and you’ll feel just fine at any equestrian center. You can find more details on the correct horseback riding posture right here.
Confidence is Key
Your horse will be able to sense when you’re afraid. Confidence comes with practice and time, of course. However, you should spend most of your time building a relationship with your horse. Be sure to greet your horse when you first meet! The best way to greet your horse at an equestrian center is by extending your arm and offering the back of your hand to smell. If your horse touches your hand with his or her nose, you have successfully executed the “horseman’s handshake.”
Having the proper attire can do wonders for your training. You don’t want to show up at the equestrian center in a mini skirt and tube top. You want to make sure that you’re wearing long, comfortable pants to protect your legs from trees, shrubs, saddle soreness, and the sun. You’ll also want to make sure you’re wearing closed-toed shoes, a long-sleeved top, and, most importantly, a helmet. When you feel experienced enough and ready to take on significant events, you can start looking into performance outfits!
Patience is a Virtue
Be easy on yourself. Give yourself grace and patience when you’re first starting. There will be hiccups along the way, and that’s okay. Your horse is right there, wanting to become a power couple with you. It is constructive to have an equestrian center instructor assist with any challenges you face and inspire you to keep practicing. Like any good relationship, your partnership with your horse takes time and work. Be consistent with your training, and soon enough, you’ll be riding like a pro!
Everyone must start somewhere, and you should feel proud of yourself for taking your first significant steps! Horseback riding is a unique method to escape the daily struggles and stresses of your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who have experience or others who are also just beginning their equine journey. Surround yourself with a community of fellow horse riders and lean on each other for support. If you’re looking for an ideal place to train, The Cottonwood’s equestrian center has space and events available to you and your new equine companion.