Riding a horse is one of the most fun activities you can take up. But it is also a complex sport with many nuances that you can spend a lifetime learning. Even the most seasoned professionals make riding mistakes. Recognizing those mistakes and fixing them is the first step in becoming a better rider.
So, what riding mistakes should a beginner avoid or fix? The following list will help you recognize some common mistakes fresh riders make.
Four Riding Mistakes You Need to Watch Out For
- Not Working on Your Riding Position – Many beginners fail to realize that the way they ride a horse contributes to the horse’s behavior. If you are squeezing the horse with your legs, you could be telling the horse to go. If you are not properly balanced on the horse, you could fall or cause the horse discomfort. Using the right body position is key to riding well. Maintain an upright posture and do not slouch. Keep your elbows down and avoid using your arms to balance. Avoid squeezing your legs to maintain a grip on the horse. Proper balance will do much more to keep you in the saddle than squeezing. Make sure your feet are properly in the stirrups so you can maintain the balance you need during your ride.
- Not Checking Your Tack – Your tack is important to riding and this is not just because it connects the rider to the horse. Ill-fitting tack can cause horses to buck or interfere with their stride. This can injure both rider and horse. You always want to check that your tack fits correctly. Check the tack before and after your ride. Does the leather need cleaning? Have the straps been properly conditioned? Is there fraying or wear that may indicate the need for replacements or repairs? A broken piece of tack can cause as much trouble as a piece that is not placed right.
- Not Watching Where You Are Going – Keep your eyes focused on where you are going rather than staring at the horse or obstacles. Horses are very intuitive, and they can tell what their riders are doing. If you stare at an obstacle or a distraction, your horse will probably look at it too. This could lead to the horse missing a cue or losing confidence in your commands. Keeping your head up and your eyes on your path communicates to your horse that you know what you are doing.
- Not Wearing Safety Gear – Before you get on a horse, you should always put on your boots and riding helmet. Your boots protect your feet and allow you to effectively use the stirrups. Your helmet helps protect your head from falls and other impacts. A blow to the head could lead to a critical injury or even death. That means putting on a helmet could save your life.
There’s Even More to Learn About Horse Riding and Our Trainers Can Help!
When it comes to horseback riding, improving your skills is the key to having fun and becoming a great rider. At Bear Creek Stables, we offer riding lessons that help riders of all experience levels identify their riding mistakes and fix them. Have a youngster interested in horses? Check out our summer camps! To learn more about our classes and camps, give us a call at (408) 872-8238 or fill out our online contact form.