A private lesson is the best way to begin learning, just as with tennis, golf or other sports, the individualized attention and focus on detail afforded in a private lesson is likely to provide the most effective learning. Once you have become comfortable on a horse and have acquired some rudimentary riding techniques you may want to move on to group lessons, which allow for peer interaction and offer more fun, especially for the children.
There are two basic styles of horseback riding; English and Western. Generally pleasure and trial-riding are done Western-style which many people find more secure as the saddle provides hand holds, the saddle horn and rear swell. As a rule; experts recommend that beginners initially learn to ride English-style since it emphasizes balance and provides a stronger foundation with a wider range of riding techniques. The English saddle is lighter and more streamlined than its western equivalent.
Learning to ride can be a pleasing and rewarding experience, but it requires a number of safety considerations. As in most sports, the number one safety-consideration is proper riding attire. Begin with a riding helmet, all stables require the use of helmets and most provide them with horse rentals. Long pants preferably jeans are important as they provide a barrier between you and the horse; a long-sleeved shirt is also a good idea. Sturdy boots with a heel prevent your foot from slipping through he stirrup and boots are safer and cleaner than lightweight shoes or sneakers when you’re around horses and stables.
The riding ring is the best place to be trained, however sooner or later you’ll want to get out of the controlled environment into the GREAT OUTDOORS and hit the trail. It is important to consider that horses can be readily frightened by loud noises or sudden motion. In their natural evolution, horses are prey animals, and they are inclined to run away from danger rather than challenge it. When a horse becomes panicked, it may be tricky to get it to stop running, so it is vital to avoid situations and trails that are accessible to motorbikes that could startle or spook your mount.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Everyone should always wear a helmet when trail riding.
- When going out on a trial, always let someone know where you’re going.
- It’s a good idea to carry a cell phone in case of an emergency.
- When riding in a group, always keep a distance from the other horses, the one in front of you should be one horse’s length away.
- At the end of your ride, your horse will be hot. Walk the last part home to give him a chance to cool down. Stabling a horse before he’s had a chance to cool down may be harmful to him.