Learn Horse Riding

How to Test-Drive a New Horse

It’s easy to buy the wrong horse because basic precautions weren’t taken before money exchanged hands. You want to learn horse riding on an enjoyable and safe mount, and by taking the following measures you’ll increase your chances of purchasing the right horse.

Don’t Go Alone

Trying out a new horse is a daunting business. If you’ve only just begun to follow structured riding lesson plans take along an experienced horse person for moral support and practical advice. This should be someone who’s seen you ride and understands what kind of horse will suit you – for example, your riding instructor.

Ground Manners

Watch the horse being caught. Does he come willingly or run off? It won’t be amusing to chase your new horse round the field every time you want to ride.

Observe him being led, groomed and tacked up. Is he relaxed and friendly or does he try to bite or kick? You want to feel confident around your new horse, and he must behave well at all times.

Who Goes First?

No matter how quiet and well-mannered the horse appears to be, never get on him first. The owner should ride him before you do, allowing you to see whether he’s obedient and relaxed.

Even if it’s been a while since you began to learn horse riding, your experienced friend should pop on him now. Some horses have only ever been ridden by their owners and become anxious with a new person on board. It’s a good idea to let a more confident rider test his reactions. If all goes well, it’s time for you to ride him.

Being on Display

Don’t be intimidated because the owner is watching, or imagine your riding is being criticized. You’re the customer and you don’t have to impress anyone.

You must feel comfortable with the horse: take your time and walk for as long as you need before going into trot or canter.

What Happens Next?

If you like the horse, ask if you can try him at another venue. This is a big test: if he behaves well in unfamiliar surroundings, he may be the right horse.

When Should You Hand Over the Money?

However much you like this horse, get him checked by a vet before buying him. The expense is far outweighed by the danger of purchasing a horse which proves unrideable for reasons of lameness, broken wind, old injuries, etc.

Use a vet you trust who is totally independent of the buyer.

It’s a long process, but well worth it when you bring home a horse you can love and enjoy for years to come.

Using the Older Equine to Learn Horse Riding

Posted on 2010-07-24

Although horses live much longer these days than before, many people wanting to learn horse riding still look for an animal under ten for their first mount.

The fear is that an older horse won’t last more than a few years. But with proper care your mature horse will be around for a very long time. And using older horses for lessons makes a lot of sense.

Definition of an Older Horse

Originally defined as ‘aged’ at ten years old, horses are not considered older until they turn fifteen. Even that is changing with the constant improvement in horse management and nutrition. In humans thirty has become the ‘new twenty,’ and forty is the ‘new thirty,’ etc. and the same concept applies for horses.

Move It Or Lose It

As with humans, it’s important to keep the horse in constant work to maintain not only his fitness level, but also the mobility of his joints. Older horses tend to become arthritic, which doesn’t prevent them from being useful mounts, especially for beginner riders.

As an example, the horse you’ll see in the photographs and accompanying video of the ebook Horse Riding Lessons: Teaching Yourself to Ride is a nineteen year old gelding. He’s fit and healthy, moves happily and shows no signs of slowing down due to age!

He continues to teach adults and teenagers how to ride, yet I still compete in dressage shows with him because he’s in such good shape thanks to constant work.

Maturity Comes with Age

Like many humans, a lot of horses become ‘older and wiser’ as they get on in years. Certain breeds are known for their even temperaments as younger animals, too. The horse in the ebook is half Irish Draft, a very popular breed due to its sensible disposition at any age.

When you learn horse riding, no matter how dependable the breed, you need an older horse which has been completely trained and has plenty of experience. These are referred to as ‘school masters.’

For such horses, lessons with beginner or novice riders are easier to accept, as these animals tend to have less fizz and exuberance. If you’re starting on your horse riding journey, look for the mature horse. He will give you many years of education and enjoyment and bask in your affection and care during his golden years.

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Develop a Good Partnership When You Learn Horse Riding

Posted on 2010-05-01

When we first learn horse riding, we often forget that our mounts are live animals with feelings.

Think of your horse as a three to four year old child in terms of his reasoning skills and emotional maturity. He needs firm but gentle instruction from his handler, and if treated well will willingly learn.

Like us, horses vary widely in character and temperament: but they’re born good and kind treatment keeps them that way. You need to be part of that process!

When you go for lessons, horses used by the riding school will be gentle, older horses which look after you. Many equines have an uncanny knack of being extra patient with beginners.

I have a horse which fits into this category. At high level one day events he would constantly challenge me in the dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping. As soon as my eleven year old son rode him in dressage or over jumps, that same horse would behave immaculately. He took care of that inexperienced rider on his back.

Such horses deserve special kindness from us: so next time a riding school horse exasperates you, remember what he’s going through, too!

If you need to correct your horse, do it within four seconds of the infraction. Otherwise he won’t understand why you’re telling him off and get confused. He’ll become nervous and unable to concentrate on what you want.

Horses are very forgiving. If you do accidentally upset yours, stop what you’re doing, relax in the saddle and loosen your hold on the reins, while you speak soothingly and stroke your buddy’s neck. Kind words and gestures go a long way: he’ll calm down because you’re his friend, and willingly listen to you again.

To learn horse riding properly means developing a good relationship with your horse. Like good parents being firm with their child, we must also show the same respect towards our horse as we want him to have for us.

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