Horse Riding

the horse riding site_1If you are a first time horse rider, you’re in for a life-changing experience. Horses, and the riding disciplines they accompany, can bring joy and confidence to your life.

Even if you’ve never touched a horse in your life, you can find a starting point in the horse world.

Often, there’s a common misconception among the uninitiated that even getting into the world of horses will require an immense amount of time and money. While horse sports can become quite expensive depending on your level of involvement, simply taking riding lessons can be an affordable – and fun! – endeavor that can take as little as one hour per week.

While many people think of old western movies, with galloping horses and western saddles, when they think of horse riding, the truth is that there are numerous styles of horse riding; you don’t have to be the next John Wayne to enjoy horses.

If interested in starting your equestrian journey, chances are you have a lot of questions. Below are some of the most common aspects of getting involved in the horse world. Click on the different links for more information on each topic. Keep in mind that although the horse world can seem overwhelming at first, once you’re involved it’s much less confusing and can be an invaluable experience.

And Don’t Forget To Get Your Guide to Equestrian Pilates, to help get you in the physical shape you need to get the most our of your riding lessons.

Different Styles of Horse Riding:

Before you can begin your journey in the horse world, you should first decide what kind of path you want to pursue. While each and every equestrian experience gives you an invaluable opportunity to work with horses, there are a wide array of different horse riding styles. Before you decide on a style of riding be sure that you explore all of the options. With a bit of reading, and maybe watching a few classes or competitions in each style, you can begin to have a feel about which style would suit you best. Don’t forget to ask other riders and teachers for their input, too.

Often, horse people will choose disciplines that fit their personal goals and personalities. For example, someone who is a perfectionist in other areas of his/her life would enjoy the equestrian sport of dressage, as it requires very accurate riding. On the other hand, if an individual prefers a bit more of an adrenaline rush, an exciting sport like show-jumping might be the better option. Whatever your personal style is, you can find a horse sport that can satisfy your desires.

Choosing the Right Riding School:

Once you have a good idea of what kind of riding style you want to pursue, the next step is to find a riding school that can help you get started with your riding endeavors. A lot of emphasis should be placed on choosing the right riding school. The riding school you choose will be your first introduction to the horse world and you want the experience to be as positive as possible. While the majority of riding schools are professional and well-run, there are the few bad apples that should be avoided at all costs.

Horse riding classes, Concentration

Horse riding classes, Concentration—Harpersbizarre (Flickr.com)

Beginner Riding Lessons:

Once you have chosen a riding school, you will be well on your way to starting your riding lessons! Just like with so many other sports, it’s imperative with riding that you start with the basics so you can lay a solid foundation from where you can build proper riding skills. While riding is a fun sport, it can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. The riding school you’ve chosen will set you up in a beginner program that will put you well on your way to learning all of the fundamentals.

Intermediate Riding Lessons:

If you feel that you already know the basics or have just taken beginner-riding lessons and are ready to move on, the next step is intermediate riding lessons. This will introduce you to the “fun stuff” that comes after the basics. Not only that, but if you are interested in continuing on with your riding career, intermediate riding lessons build off of fundamentals and can set you up for more advanced lessons in the future.

Advanced Riding Lessons:

By this stage you are probably a horse-addict and you can’t get enough of your horse riding lessons. Advanced riding lesson programs will often differentiate depending on the individual riding school and your chosen riding style. You will also probably be expected to compete more frequently, if you choose to do so.

Different Breeds of Horses: 

Horse Riding

Horse Riding (Flickr.com)

Perhaps one of the best aspects of the horse world is the wide variety of horse breeds. When it comes to different riding disciplines, certain horse breeds are better than others, but each individual breed has their positive traits. Learning about different horse breeds is vital for all serious equestrians.

Equestrian Clothing:

Wondering what you’re going to have to wear to your first riding lesson? Equestrian clothing may seem strange at first, but is designed for safety and comfort. For safety reasons, as well as your own comfort, the majority of riding schools require students to have proper clothing.

Other Horse Riding Gear:

If you think you might need other gear than just riding clothes, you’re on the right track. Proper foot and headwear are required by most riding programs. In addition, there are also other types of riding gear that you can use while riding to make your experience more comfortable.

Horse Riding Terminology:

When you take your first riding lesson, you might begin to wish for an “Equestrian Dictionary.” Horse people tend to have terminology that is lost on non-horse people. Of course, after you’ve been around the stables for a little while, you’ll start to pick up on common horse terminology.

Communicating With Your Horse:

Riding isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing during your lessons; communicating with your horse is a big part of the equestrian life. While horses may seem intimidating at first, after you learn what works best when interacting with them, you may be on your way to becoming a horse whisperer!

Show-Jumping: What You Need To Know:

Show-jumping is one of the most exciting equestrian sports around. If you think you might be interested in having show-jumping goals, you’ll be happy to know that your goal is perfectly attainable.

Dressage: What You Need To Know:

Almost like ballet for horses, dressage requires high levels of athleticism and precision from both horse and rider. Not only that, but the intriguing and captivating sport of dressage can provide a solid foundation for all other equestrian disciplines.

horse sticking its tongue out

Not only is it rewarding when you achieve a certain goal in one of your horse riding classes, the interaction and companionship that horses provide cannot be compared to any other experience in life. Any horse person will tell you that horses have a way of erasing hurt, inspiring confidence, and bringing out the best in you. There are even horse riding classes that are used as therapy for people with special needs. For children, horses can help with developing compassion, encouraging goal setting, and teaching responsibility.

Furthermore, the horse world is often a very social place and children who are around other horsey children can pick up on the same positive character traits that their peers possess. For some people, horses define their lives and bring traits out of them that they never even knew they had. Whatever your ambitions are with horses, whether you simply want to say that you’ve sat on a horse, or are interested in pursuing a higher level of riding, horses can have a positive impact on your life.

Useful resources:

Equestrianism – Wikipedia
Inspirational Horse Quotes

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