So you’ve decided you want to go horseback riding. You found yourself a stable that offers trail rides or signed up for your first lesson. Before you go riding off into the sunset, there are a few things you can do that will make your experience both safer and more enjoyable.
Outfit Yourself for Success
When it comes to horseback riding, picking the right outfit is about more than just fashion. Avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing. Scarves, baggy sweaters or flowing tops could get caught on the saddle if you fall, potentially causing a severe injury.
Instead, opt for more form-fitting riding clothes made of smooth fabrics. Select materials that are gentle on the skin and clothing that’s form-fitting but comfortable. Choosing soft attire will help to prevent chafing and keep you comfortable in the saddle all day long.
Do Your Research
Before you go climbing on a horse, make sure you check out the stable. A clean, reputable barn will be the best and safest choice. Be sure to check reviews and speak with other riders who have ridden there before, too. Check to see who its instructors are and what types of classes it offers. Try to find a good instructor who has experience in training beginners.
Knowing some of the jargon equestrians use can also be helpful. It would help if you understood the distinction between the barrel of a horse and the crest. Learning the difference between girth and the horn of a saddle could come in handy too.
Get There Early
Plan to arrive at the stable 15 to 20 minutes before your scheduled ride. Say “hi” to your horse and get to know one another. Check out the barn and chat with some of the other riders. Let yourself get comfortable in the environment.
Getting to know the other riders can be beneficial. More experienced riders are sure to have advice for novices, and having a new riding buddy is sure to make your time that much more entertaining.
Get in Shape
If you think riding a horse only involves sitting in the saddle, think again. Don’t be surprised if you are a little sore after your first ride. Horseback riding involves a good deal of core, leg and lower back strength. Putting in an additional workout or two in advance can strengthen those muscles and alleviate some pain.
Relax and Enjoy Yourself
Don’t get so centered on the details that you forget the entire reason you wanted to horseback ride in the first place. Make friends with your horse, enjoy the weather and focus on the present. Taking a ride is a beautiful experience and an opportunity to get away from the bustle of daily life.
Relax, have fun and be safe. With a little planning and preparation, your first time on horseback is sure to be unforgettable.