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Learn Basic Horseback Riding Skills


Here's what you'll need to know to ride a horse safely. You can't learn to ride from a website, book or video. The best way to learn is from a competent coach. But these articles will help you understand what you'll be learning once you're on a horse--whether you plan to ride English or Western.
  1. Before You Begin Your Ride
  2. Saddle Up
  3. Mounting Up
  4. Walk On!
  1. Trot or Jog, Canter or Lope
  2. Riding Safety
  3. After Your Ride
  4. Beyond the Basics

Before You Begin Your Ride

Learn about leading your horse, safe tying, and grooming your horse. But first, we'll take a look at why you would want to ride. It may be obvious but there are many benefits you may not have thought of.

Saddle Up

With your horse safely tied and groomed it's time to saddle up for your ride. Learn how to put on an English or Western saddle and bridle, and how to do up the cinch on a Western saddle. Do you think you know the correct steps to get your horse bridled and saddled? Take the quiz and find out.

Mounting Up

Your horse is waiting groomed and saddled up ready to ride. These articles will help you understand how to get on your horse and once you're up there how to sit co

Walk On!

Once you're safely in the saddle it's time to get moving. The first thing your instructor will explain is how to to cue the horse to walk. If you've never ridden before it will take a little time to get used to the motion of the horse. When you first begin riding you will feel awkward. You may feel unable to make all your body parts do all the things they are supposed to at the same time. You may be using muscles not familiar with the job you are asking, and have difficulty remembering all you are supposed to do. The key is practice.

Trot or Jog, Canter or Lope

When you feel confident walking, turning and halting it may be time to move on to the faster paces. Trotting can be a lot of work to learn, especially posting the trot. Again practice is key. It will be up to your coach and your own confidence level how quickly you will progress from walking to trotting/jogging and cantering/loping.

Riding Safety

horses on road

These articles don't focus on riding skills, but on staying safe while you are riding in a ring, arena or on the trail. Safety with horses should always be first priority.

After Your Ride

Being a good horseman/horsewoman means you look after your horse even after its job is done. Here's how to get out of the saddle and reward your horse for a job well done.

Beyond the Basics

Here's a few extra skills that go beyond the basics. Learn how to do a 'rein-back' and learn about riding bareback. You should learn how to fall off and do an emergency dismount with the supervision of a knowledgeable instructor. These skills may help you if your horse bolts, bucks or otherwise misbehaves, although there is no sure way to prevent accidents and injury when riding horseback. Always wear a helmet and proper boots or safety stirrups. Consider using a chest protector and a mouth guard as well.

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