Beginner Horseback Riding

Eventing for the Beginner Rider

Over time riding in the sand arena can get stale for the beginner to horseback riding. Once the rider has adequate control over the horse, it may be time to consider eventing.

Eventing comprises the three basic areas of English riding: dressage, show-jumping and cross-country jumping.

The top competitions - Rolex in Lexington, Kentucky or Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire, England - will probably come to mind when you think of this sport. But those are the ultimate ‘three-day events.’

There are many opportunities for the beginner rider to experience the fun of ‘one-day events’ at much lower levels.

The Dressage Phase

If you’re going to event, you must be able to comfortably canter your horse, because of the jumping phases. But the introductory levels of eventing are geared to beginner horseback riding and only require walk and trot movements in the dressage test.

The judge is looking for nothing fancy: just smoothness of transition from walk to trot and back, and from walk to trot. Ribbons are awarded in the dressage class, regardless of how well the other phases go for you.

Jumping Phases

You may worry about height when you think of the jumping phases of an eventing competition. But there’s no need for concern as entry level classes have really low jumps, including the ‘tadpole’ classes with 18 inch fences.

Stadium phase: you ride over a set of pole jumps in an enclosed arena.

Cross-country phase: the obstacles are rustic, fixed fences, such as log piles or wooden gates, spread over a wide area of undulating grass terrain with plenty of room between them.

Number of Jumps

You’ll have between 6 and 8 obstacles in each of your jumping phases, and they’ll be very inviting to you and your horse.

Lower level cross-country phases are not timed, so you can trot your horse quietly over the fences at your own pace.


Even the least strenuous one-day-event demands a reasonable level of fitness in your horse and yourself.

Since you’ll be completing all three phases in one day, you must have a horse in good physical shape. Read a horse riding book on conditioning a horse for competitions and you’ll find that the goal of getting your horse fit will increase your riding enjoyment.

When you’ve completed your first one-day event, you and your horse will have developed a deeper trust in each other, and you’ll be fired up for that next competition!

How to Lose Weight While Horseback Riding

Posted on 2010-06-05

For the beginner, horseback riding often has weight loss for major motivation. You aspire to becoming a slim, toned rider with that healthy outdoor glow.

As a result it’s disheartening to find that you’re actually putting on weight instead of losing it when you begin learning to ride.

Here are some reasons why this could be happening and how to overcome them.


Any type of unaccustomed exertion combined with fresh air will give you an increased appetite. Consequently you end up eating more calories than you’ve used, which of course puts on weight.

Try to eat no more than usual on days when you ride, and eat filling foods with fewer calories, such as pasta. If you get hungry immediately after riding, take an apple or other piece of fruit with you to the barn to snack on. Don’t be tempted to take a packet of potato chips or M&Ms! Take water - not soda - in a cooler with you to replace fluids lost in sweat.

Muscle versus Fat

Since muscle weighs more than fat, even with the above eating habits you’ll put on weight for a while as the lighter fat in your body converts to heavier muscle.

But your body will be getting more toned. You’ll notice this especially in your legs and arms, and the more often you ride the faster you’ll get in shape.

If you take private lessons you’ll use many more calories than in a group lesson.The instructor will be 100% focused on you – there’ll be no breaks in the action!

Volunteer to do calorie-consuming chores around the barn, such as cleaning out stalls and hauling hay bales which will also build muscle.

Stay on Target!

Don’t be put off if you don’t immediately see positive results when you stand on the scales. Weigh yourself once a week at most, and feel proud of yourself for doing something to become healthier.

Keep in mind your rewards for losing weight as a beginner: horseback riding will become easier, your energy levels will increase, and you’ll improve as a rider even faster than before.

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