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Everyone starts off as a beginner at some point. The best thing you can do is learn from a patient and experienced instructor. Listen carefully, practice faithfully, and have some fun! Western riding is a wonderful sport for guys and gals.
Here’s some advice to start you off right…
Beginner Riding Tips
1. Stay calm: It can be nerve-racking to ride a horse, especially in the beginning. Horses can sense your feelings though. So, try to remain relaxed and calm. Take a few deep breathes and don’t over do yourself.
2. Easy on the reins: Newbies love to grab and jerk the reins when they start off. It could be out of fear or maybe just confusion. Remember to ride with your legs and seat though.
3. Sit on your pockets: It can be easy to arch your back, but that’ll throw you off balance. Tuck your tail bone and sit deep in the saddle. Your back should stay nice and rounded.
4. Eyes up: Stop watching your hands or horse’s neck. You’ll lose your balance! Instead, keep your eyes up and forward.
5. Learn the lingo: Western riding has it’s own set of vocabulary words. Do you know what a lope or jog is? How about a headstall or cinch? Some of the words vary from English disciplines.
6. Dress appropriately: It may be fashionable to wear a cowboy hat, but protecting your head it more important. You’ll need boots with a heel, a helmet, and gloves.
7. Slow & steady horse: Beginners need to find a horse that matches their experience level. Your instructor should be able to help you. In fact, it’s a good idea to hold off on buying until you’re more confident.
8. Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask other riders and your instructor any questions you may have.
9. Mix it up: Keep learning by trying new things. Don’t be afraid to leave the arena and go on the trails. You can also ride through a barrel pattern (at any gait) or experiment with different shapes. It’ll make things stay fun!
10. Watch events: What better way to advance than to seek out the competition. Seriously though, it can be helpful to watch other riders perform. You can even learn about different disciplines!
You can also check out: How To Introduce Your Child To Horses!