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Horse Riding For Beginners

In this post we’ll list some advice to bear in mind when considering horse riding for beginners, including additional equestrian classes for more advanced training.

Having selected a convenient riding school and a good trainer, you will now be eager to start your riding lessons. Riding requires time, patience and hard work. Be mentally prepared to overcome your fear. Horses are sensitive animals and easily understand the riders’ emotions. Choose comfortable riding gear.  Always wear a riding helmet and suitable boots. Wearing a puttee protects your leg muscles from cramps.

With your instructor’s help, learn how to saddle your horse properly. Do not be in a rush to master everything the first time itself.

Always mount your horse from the left.  Adjust your leg stirrup and make sure it does not slip out of your foot. Your heel should always point down and toe up.  Balance your body on the horse. When holding the reins, make sure your elbows are kept close to your body. Your forearms should appear as extensions of the rein.

Your lower legs should be fixed to the body of the horse. Grip the horse using your lower leg. All movement should come from above your knees.

The first step will be to get your horse to move. Believe me; it can be embarrassing when the horse refuses to move. The trick is to squeeze with your calves .You can apply some pressure with your heel as well. While walking, if you feel unbalanced, hold onto the front of your saddle/horse mane.

To turn your horse, pull the rein of the side you need to turn and apply pressure with your outside leg. To halt your horse, use your legs, hands and seat. Sit deeply in your seat, apply pressure to your legs and pull your reins back. Relax once the horse responds to your command.

Once you are comfortable with the Walk, move onto Trot. You learn to move up and down in rhythm, gripping the horse with the support of your lower leg. Learning to trot without a saddle /blanket is one of the most painful lessons, however one of the best techniques to balance yourself.

Squeeze tighter and raise in your stirrup every alternate step. The Canter follows the trot. Before a canter, resume a slow trot and apply pressure with your outside leg and jerk your reins slightly. Relax and get comfortable with the speed. You can really enjoy a Canter with a bit of practice.

General Tips:

  • Begin on an old horse.
  • Change horses to get more confidence.
  • Never stand or sit right behind the horse.
  • Approach the horse by talking to him softly so that you do not startle him.
  • Always remember to pat your horse after your ride.
  • Maintain your posture as per instructions from the start itself to be a good rider.

horse riding for beginnersEquestrian Classes in the UK

A number of horse riding centres in various parts of the United Kingdom offer equestrian classes and courses for riders of all ages. Regardless of whether the rider is a professional or a novice, the qualified staff at those riding centres can help polish the riding abilities.

For example equestrian centres in the London area such as Kingston Riding Centre, Wimbledon Village Stables, Hyde Park Stables, The British Horse Society, and Wellington Riding in Hook, Hampshire offer standard lesson packages as well as tailored courses to suit specific needs of certain riders. Most of these equestrian centres offer classes such as:

Lunge Classes

A 30-minutes lunge class is usually offered for novices who want to learn the ropes but are afraid of being alone with the horse in the beginning. For safety purposes, an instructor accompanies on a lunge line, and provides lessons on balance, riding aids and coordination. The purpose of these classes is to equip the rider with enough confidence so he could handle the horse by himself.

Lunge classes are useful for those riders who haven’t had any professional training before and want to sort out any bad habits, improve sitting trot and fine-tune suppleness.

Private Classes

Private classes are most appropriate for beginners just off the lunge who are not yet ready for group lessons. Additionally, riders who need advance training for professional purposes also make use of private lessons and classes. Most of the times, the instructors determine the content of the classes according to the rider’s specific requirements.

Group Classes

Once the rider gets enough confidence in trotting, walking and cantering, he naturally progresses to advance lessons in group settings. Group classes provide an opportunity to learn alongside other riders in the presence of horses. Group lessons for advanced riders typically entail working the animals in lateral movements, for instance, shoulder-in or leg yield. These lessons cover show-jumping for advanced as well as novice riders, and help them understand how to send the horses from leg to hand for accomplishing a better self-carriage from the animal.

Summer Classes

Many equestrian centres throughout the country offer summertime programs as well in addition to the all-year round classes. Summer programs are short courses, which incorporate several aspects of equestrianism in a single course, which is suitable for both beginners and experienced riders.

Stable Management Classes

For those interested in expanding their skills and knowledge of equestrianism, “theory-based” classes are also available. In the form of lectures, instructors cover basic to advanced topics concerning horsemanship. At the end of these courses, the enrolled clients have to undertake an examination, which is usually made available by the British Horse Society. The clients who clear the exam are academically qualified for barn management jobs and other equestrian staff jobs.

 

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Health benefits of horse riding

As Winston Churchill famously said, “There’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” It was true at the time, and it’s even more accurate in modern times. As anyone who rides regularly will know, horse riding is excellent for both toning your body and relaxing your mind.  But the benefits don’t stop there, as this post about the health benefits of horse riding seeks to demonstrate.

People have been using horses for transport for thousands of years, and in many parts of the world horses are still essential for transport and agriculture. However, once we no longer relied upon horsepower to work the land, or for transportation, riding for pleasure became a popular pastime.

The fact that so many of us continue to ride when we no longer have to do so for practical reasons, is a testimony to our enduring love of horses. According to figures published by the British Equestrian Trade Association, there were two point seven million riders in the UK, in 2015. Of these, one point three million were regular riders.

However, both these figures show a decline from the totals for 2011. This fall was partly due to economic factors, rather than a lessening of enthusiasm on the part of the British public. Other ex-riders cited loss of access to a horse or stables.

Health benefits of horse ridingThe Physical Benefits of Horse Riding

Horse riding is one of the best forms of exercise for improving muscle tone and balance. It helps to improve your coordination, confidence and overall posture. A low impact exercise, it’s often suitable for people who can’t manage more high impact sports, but it will still give you a thorough aerobic workout – riding can burn up to 300 calories an hour. If you have your own horse, don’t forget all the related activity as well – grooming, mucking out, picking up droppings and cleaning tack will all help to keep you fit.

The Mental Benefits of Horse Riding

In today’s high speed, high stress society, horse riding is an excellent form of relaxation, as a combination of fresh air, exercise and adrenaline provides the perfect escape from modern life. Building a relationship with your horse is intensely satisfying, as you both improve and start to stretch your boundaries. Horses are extremely sensitive and intuitive, and helping a young, scared or confused horse to overcome physical or behavioural problems is one of the most intensely positive experiences you can have as a rider.

The Emotional Benefits of Horse Riding

Apart from the obvious benefits of fresh air and exercise, the main pleasure of horse riding is the chance to build a partnership with an intelligent, sensitive animal. If you’re lucky enough to have your own horse, you’ll appreciate how a good partnership can evolve and develop as you work together to improve.

However, even if you only ride occasionally, riding is a series of immensely pleasurable moments – whether it’s the satisfaction from finally achieving a correct rising trot after weeks of trying, or the short but intense adrenaline buzz from a flat-out gallop. Even riding once or twice a year on a trekking holiday brings its own pleasures, and offers the chance to see new countryside in a way that’s in tune with the natural surroundings.

Horse Riding Improves Your Social Life

Unless you insist on riding alone, there are plenty of opportunities to meet people and make new friends in equestrian circles.

There are many chances for interaction at events, on holidays, or just out riding. As a fellow equestrian, you’ll find plenty to chat about with strangers. Horse riding has also been known to improve your love life too!

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Why I ride horses and how realised the answer

Here’s why I ride horses and how I came to realise the answer.  We all have at least one close friend that does not share your love of horses. You know the type.

She has perfect nails, and by perfect I mean there is no stable dirt underneath them. She has perfect hair, with no trace of a crimp circling her head, where the riding hat has sat for hours.

She owns clean, open-toe shoes, jewelry not in the shape of snaffles or horseshoes, and more long gowns in her wardrobe than you’ve owned since childhood.

Take pity on this friend. She must be a sad little creature, spending her days shopping or decorating.

Maya is that friend for me. She was born in the city and has lived there her entire life. For her, the countryside is any piece of land that isn’t paved over. The closest to livestock she has ever been is her house cat.

She asked me once why I ride horses. In her words they are big and smelly, and their hair gets everywhere. My explanations always sound inadequate when I hear the words spoken aloud. “I love the outdoors”, I tell her. “Then take up walking”, she’ll say. “I enjoy the competition”, I’ll counter. “So play chess”, she’ll recommend. “It’s the quiet time I enjoy”, I smile. “Read a book then”, she’ll smile back.

It was after one of these conversations that I had an epiphany. I asked myself, “Why do I ride?” Is it really the quiet ride in the countryside? Is it really wanting to get a better score on my Dressage test? I thought about what types of horses I have ridden and owned.

Andalusians

why I ride horses

Was there something similar between them? I have always loved Andalusians. I have owned two. Why did I choose this particular breed? What are the traits that drew me to them? First of all, they are beautiful. The long wavy mane and tail. The gorgeous line of the arched neck. The graceful movement of their paces. They are athletic and excel in all disciplines, it’s true, but I had discovered why I love horses and riding. I always felt like an ugly duckling as a child. I was large, clumsy, and shy.

Horses were my polar opposite. Beautiful and graceful, they possessed the traits I wanted for myself. I realized how much attention I got for my horses’ beauty. I was taking those compliments as my own. I was living vicariously through my horses, becoming a swan any time I was with them. This self-reflection put me at ease. I love horses because they are beautiful. I wasn’t embarrassed to tell Maya this and I knew it was the truth when she said, “Oh, that makes sense”.

We all have our reason for riding. Maybe it’s power, strength, or speed. Maybe it’s the rush of the cross country course or the thrill of winning. Maybe you just look good in your riding clothes. Whatever the reason, the universal truth is that for horse lovers, you know you can’t live without them.

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Do you love horse riding?

Do you love horse riding?

Do you love horse riding? Is it something you could not live without? You’re not alone. Millions of people around the world feel the same way.

Those who are involved with horses and the equestrian world generally, whether on an occasional basis, or as a full time occupation, do not need to be reminded of how the love of horses can take over one’s life.

A passion for equestrianism can last a lifetime, and may be more important to a person than anything, or anyone else.

Horse riding is one of Britain’s most popular activities. For some this means just the occasional pony trekking holiday in Wales.

For others it’s a regular weekend ride through the beautiful English countryside.

For some it means daily rides and practice in order to compete in show jumping and dressage, or to exercise and train for regular horse racing events.

Horse riders engage in all kinds of equestrian sports; horse racing, hunting, polo, eventing, show jumping, gymkhanas, to name a few.

And of course there are other sports which may not involve horse riding, but which still include horses as the main feature, like carriage driving and ploughing competitions with heavy, or shire horses.

Horse & Rider Relationship

Do you love horse riding?There is often a symbiotic relationship between horses and their owners, or those who take care of them on a regular basis. They need each other and the partnership is mutually beneficial. It may not always seem that way when you have to get up long before dawn to feed your horses on a freezing winter’s morning, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Someone once described horses as the dolphins of the land. By that they meant that our equine friends are super intelligent, and in partnership with human kind. They have accompanied us on our journey through history since humans first tamed and domesticated wild animals, and despite all the advances in technology and transportation this relationship shows no sign of abating.

If anything, horses and humans need each other now more than ever. We have become divorced from nature to an extent that it’s becoming bad for our health and caring for horses can put us back in touch with the natural world; fresh air, clean water, open skies.

So whatever your interest in horses, whether you are a skilled horseman or horsewoman, jockey, or just someone who loves horse riding on an occasional basis, cherish the time you have in the saddle.

Experience it again with fresh senses. Tune in to the elements and seasons around you.

Riding your horse in this way is probably the most rewarding and enriching experiences you can have, but then you probably know that already.