What to Do When You’re Riding for the First Time
Riding a horse is an amazing experience. You feel the power of nature, and you truly connect with your pet. However, it can also be very intimidating – that one horsepower beneath you is still a living being capable of crushing you. Here are a few tips on what to do when you decide to get on a horse for the first time in your life.
It is very likely that you will have access to proper equipment before you ride. Many facilities that provide this service already have some equipment on hand, but, just in case, it is important to get a hold of some riding pants. They may look ridiculous, but they are durable and comfortable.
Another thing which is an absolute must is a helmet. Similar to any situation where you’re doing something dangerous, you should wear protective headgear for protection in case of an accident.
Imagine for a second that you are a horse. Would you let just anyone hop on your back and lead you where they please? Me neither. Then, it would be unfair to expect royal treatment from a horse that doesn’t know you from Adam.
Approach the horse and let it smell you. Make no sudden movements and have a few treats handy. When you approach the horse for the first time or any time, do it from the left side. This will prevent the horse from perceiving you as a threat.
To connect with the horse and to let it know you will be in charge of it pretty soon, it is a good idea to lead the horse around for a while. Don’t tug. Instead, gently pull on the reins to make the horse follow you. Remember to stay on the side of the horse while leading it, and don’t loop the reins around your hands, as this is very dangerous – in case the horse gets frightened, you will be trapped and dragged along.
Climb onto the horse gently. You will not be in control for the first time since the horse will still need some time to get used to you. Keep your feet in the stirrups and the reins in your hands. Don’t tug and pull. The horse’s trainer or another experienced rider will lead the horse while you are riding it.
Pay attention to where you’re going, even if you’re not the one leading. This is good practice for all subsequent rides. Also, keep your back straight and get comfortable. The horse’s back, even with a saddle, can be tricky to get used to at first.
The horses are great at reading people’s emotions. This is especially true of horses who have been raised all their life. They know how humans behave when they are scared, nervous, glad and angry. If you’re relaxed, it will show the horse that you are comfortable riding it and it should be comfortable with you on its back.
Another reason to relax is the fact that riding a horse should be fun and enjoyable, and not a chore. If you’re unhappy with riding a horse, just imagine how it must feel. Connect with your pet and feel the wind in your face and hair. It’s awesome.