Horseback riding can be a fantastic hobby, a true passion, and even an athletic pursuit. Whether you’re looking for thrills, competition, or a new way to relax, it’s a hobby that suits all kinds of people a little differently, and works for riders of all ages. If you’re thinking of getting into horseback riding, here are a few tips to make sure your first ride goes smoothly, and that you ease into the hobby as happily as possible.
Finding the right teacher
As with any sport, hobby, or discipline, your choice of instructor can make a big difference in whether or not you’re going to have a good time getting into it and learning the ropes. Sites like Horse and Hound can help you find riding schools near you. With the internet, it has become a lot easier to see how these schools review, as well as to find online riding communities where you can ask for recommendations. Furthermore, you should check to see if they have the proper licensing, as well as approval from standard-setting groups like the BHS or ABRS.
Invest in good gear
When you’ve chosen a good riding instructor, it’s likely that they will provide you with a fitted hard hat, essential for your safety while riding. Otherwise, you’re going to want to invest in proper riding boots and jodhpurs. Take a look at brands designed specifically for equestrian sports, such as Ariat. The comfort difference and practicality of these brands makes them well suited to horse riding as you may find the ride uncomfortable in any other kind of clothing. Riding gloves and a body protector are also recommended.
Start working out
Horseback riding can be surprisingly taxing, and you will undoubtedly find it improves your physical conditioning over time. However, to make sure it doesn’t prove to be too much, you might want to take some time to work your legs, core, and lower back. Your Horse recommends a range of exercise routines specifically designed to help you get in shape for riding, maintaining your posture, and avoiding too many aches while you’re up there in the saddle.
Don’t rush into a purchase
If you love horses, then it may be all too easy to want to buy one of your very own. However, there’s a big difference between wanting to ride, riding, and taking the huge step that is ownership. For one, the costs of horse ownership can be much steeper than you might imagine. Furthermore, the relationship you have with a horse and even how you are able to ride it will differ depending on where you bought it and whether it has been trained at all. If you’re dead set on purchasing, then at least take the time to learn what mistakes you should be avoiding.
Take your time, don’t commit more to the hobby than you’re ready to, and give yourself the chance to feel out whether it’s right for you. Just remember, safety and fun are the biggest priority, so if you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable, let your instructor know.
Image Credits: jplenio