Recent world events have made outdoor vacations a great idea. If you have always dreamed of learning to ride a horse, spending part of your summer on a ranch that offers riding lessons could be a wonderful way to connect with your inner cowboy. The right trainer can help you learn the skills to become a more confident rider.
Start With The Basics
The first step in learning to ride is learning to care for your horse. Careful monitoring of the skin and hair on their back will reduce the risk of skin breakdown and sores. If the saddle is rubbing your horse and creating hot spots or scabs, your horse will learn to hate the saddle and resist being ridden.
The first step is to brush your horse to remove grit or dirt. The hair needs to lay flat to avoid irritation. Remember that the saddle girth will need to wrap all the way around your horse, so you will want to check the skin and hair down their sides as well.
Use The Right Posture
You can find guides for horseback riding in Gardiner Montana that can help you find the right spot on the saddle. Your comfort will depend on finding your “seat” or learning to support your body in the right position on the saddle with the muscles in your back and your legs. If all your weight is on your bottom, you will get sore quickly.
The length of your legs and the stirrup adjustment will also have a big impact on your comfort on the saddle. The first time you saddle up will take some time; you may not have riding boots but it is possible to get settled in comfortably and ride confidently in sneakers. Do make sure that you have closed-toed shoes to avoid getting injured while getting to know your horse.
What To Do With Your Hands
The reins that attach to the bit in the horses mouth are part of how you control the horse. Never yank hard on the reins; you can hurt your horse and teach them not to trust you. Start with verbal commands; talk to your horse in a normal tone so they can get used to your voice.
To handle the reins effectively, get in the habit of tightening and gently releasing the reins. Watch your trainer or guide on the trail to see how they manage their reins. If you fell in love with horses watching old westerns and watched movie cowboys yank back hard on the reins, avoid the temptation.
Learn To Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
While working on your position and balance, you will need to learn to be aware of what your horse can see. A good trail horse will not be likely to spook. However, a blowing piece of vegetation or debris can startle any animal or human if you’re not aware of them. As soon as you are comfortable on the trail, get your head up and look around.
Horses can actually see a much wider range of the world than humans can. You will need to keep your eyes up and be ready to turn your head and scan the trail in front of you to see what your horse can see while staring straight ahead. Your safety and the safety of your horse is dependent on your ability to stay aware of the world around you.
On many trails, the trail horses that you can rent while you’re on vacation are placid enough that you don’t need a helmet. However, if you are planning to own a horse, learn to race or learn to jump in competition, your instructor may require you to wear a helmet. Do so.
On a trail horse, it’s also a good idea to get in the habit of wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Anyone can fall off a horse and it’s much easier to recover from a torn shirt than a badly scraped arm or shoulder.
Horseback riding is an old world skill that you will be happy you learned. Start on a trail horse and carefully watch how your guide treats your horse and manages their own. Use your voice before you tug on the reins. Learn to support your body with your legs to protect your bottom.