There is nothing quite like riding down a trial on the back of a beautiful stallion. But if it is your first time riding a horse, the idea might be a little scary. Horses are power and amazing creatures – it is important to understand the animal you are on and to respect its strength. Here are a few tips to make sure your first horse back riding adventure is a positive one. And always ask your horse wrangler if you have questions or are not feeling comfortable – they are the pros!
- Get to know your new buddy. Approach the horse at a 45° angle to the shoulder while saying his/her name. This approach is least likely to startle the horse.
- When greeting your horse on the ground, offer your hand to smell for a proper introduction. Speak in a low, calm voice and avoid sudden movements or noises.
- Refrain from mounting a horse in a confined area with low roofs or doorways
- Have someone hold the horse’s head the first few times you mount it
- Wear long pants such as jeans and boots with a heel
- Safety first! Always wear a helmet
- Do not shout if your horse takes off or spooks
- Never wrap the slack of the lead rope around your hand
- Keep your hands as still as possible while handling the reigns
- Loosen up and move your body with the horse. Tensing up will cause you to bounce.
- Help direct your horse by looking to the place where you want to go. Horses are very intuitive and will pick up on your focus. Horses go where your eyes go.
- Point your toes to the sky and heels down while riding
- Keep your back straight without slouching
- Avoid the natural tendency to hold your breath
- Be patient
- Be kind to the horse’s mouth by not holding the reigns too tight
- Start with an experienced horse, as they tend to have the best temperament
- Be sure to have a qualified instructor
Ready to give horseback riding a try? Look at our Horseback riding tours! Let us book a Mountain Trail Ride or a Shoreline Beach Ride for you. We also have Horseback Pack Trips available. Call 805-884-9283 to get in the saddle!
Any tips to add to our list? Leave us a comment below!
Photo credit: Flickr/Phil Plait