Even for those of us who have ridden a long time, it’s tempting to stick with what we find most comfortable and the least demanding. This is all the more true for beginners. Horse riding is not easy to do properly, and human nature prefers to stay within a defined comfort zone rather than work on something more difficult.
That’s why the beginner rider can easily fall into the following pattern without being aware of it.
When you learn to ride in an enclosed area – which you should, as it’s by far the safest way – you’ll feel a strong temptation to walk round and round the outside track.
Between lessons, horses will happily oblige their undemanding riders. Especially for beginners, horse riding takes unaccustomed effort and if there isn’t an instructor telling you exactly what to do, it’s less stressful to wander aimlessly for an hour than put work into your riding.
If you’re in the arena riding and chatting with a friend, it’s even less likely that you’ll put any energy into mixing things up a bit!
How to Break It
Right from the very beginning walk your horse round the outside track only a couple of times, to get relaxed in the saddle again. Even then, go round once on the left rein, then once to the right.
After that, start riding in circles. Keep them large, as this is easier for you and the horse. Ride a couple of circles to the left, then go round the outside of the arena, change across the diagonal and ride a couple of circles on the right rein.
When you continually repeat the same movement you and your horse fall asleep. If you ride ten circles on the left rein, you’ll have a tough time waking your horse up and getting him to ride in a straight line instead.
So you constantly need to change movements. For example, ride a figure of eight, then ride two right circles before riding your left circle. Now ride three left circles to one right circle, then one left circle to one right circle. Keep your horse’s attention on you, awaiting instructions.
Do the same thing in trot, if you’re ready to move onto that gait.
Varying your riding routine takes thought and effort, but this keeps you thinking forwards, a vital element in controlling your horse and the path to successful riding.
Posted on 2010-06-12
You may dream about breeding a horse of your own and raising it from a foal, but those of you who are beginners to horse riding should carefully weigh the pros and cons of such a plan.
In addition to the mare’s insemination and birthing related expenses, you’ll have to pay for the foal’s upkeep and his veterinarian bills for those years when you can’t ride him.
By the time he is three your baby will have cost as much to breed as to buy.
From Foal to Three
You need to teach your youngster how to halter lead, have his feet picked up and accept blankets etc. while he’s still small.
You can’t do this when you’re just learning how to ride. Your baby needs expert handling to avoid mistakes which will be hard to correct later. A cute foal soon turns into a big monster without firm treatment.
The Three Year Old
As a three year old your horse needs to be backed - trained to accept the saddle and rider. Even if you consistently learn horse riding throughout those three years, you still won’t be experienced enough to be the first person to sit on a horse or train it. And you shouldn’t try! A green horse and a green rider always lead to disaster.
This means paying someone else to back your horse and train him in the basics of being ridden. It will be several more years before you have the know-how to train a youngster, while you keep paying a professional to train this one.
Riding a home-bred horse is wonderful, but not for the beginner rider. Buy an older, experienced horse to teach you how to become a competent rider and horse handler. Then you’ll be in a position to breed your dream horse.