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Horseback Riding

There are many different types of sports you can begin that are related to horses. The easiest and most casual to get into is regular horse riding in ranches and trails. There are links to great trails across the US and world for escaping on guided trips. If you are more serious about riding then I recommend getting into Dressage which is a tournament based riding where you take the horse through courses.

Below is a terrific introductory article where you can learn the basics and how to get started. You can help grow our learning community by contributing your knowledge to the article. Just click on the edit tab in the wiki article below.

Use the white subtabs above to navigate the other Horseback Riding resources. We have a Horseback Riding forum where you can get your questions & doubts answered, a page with Horseback Riding how-to videos, a page with the best handpicked links to other sites, and a page with the best Horseback Riding books and products.

Good Luck and Have Fun!
Duncan Davis

 

Intro


There’s a fabulous sense of adventure associated with horseback riding because it instantly brings to mind a feeling of freedom with the wind blowing in your hair as your horse trots or gallops! When you decide to take up horseback riding as a hobby, you also enjoy many other benefits. Your perception of nature improves manifold as you also enjoy several health benefits. Look at these:


• Fitness and health – horse riding is a great exercise that tones your body




• Weight loss




• Reducing stress as horse riding helps you get rid of stress




• Horse riding is an excellent confidence builder as well as making you more disciplined.


 


You get to meet likeminded people when you go horseback riding. Spending time with a horse and therefore with nature can be a pleasant experience. Horses are known for their intelligence and loyalty. Learning horseback riding is not difficult or expensive, so you can rest assured that your hobby will not burn a hole in your pocket. It is not necessary to own a horse to learn to ride it since you can rent both the horse and the accessories you need to go riding.




In addition to all the above advantages, your hobby of horseback riding could well open up opportunities for you to take part in polo, racing, dressage, rodeo, fox hunting, etc. turning your hobby into a part time or full time profession depending on how much time you want to spend on it.




Getting Started With The Hobby


Apart from being a lot of fun, horseback riding can be a rewarding experience letting you discover the horse lover in you. All you need is the right gear, a good instructor to get started. Did you know there are different styles of horseback riding? We basically hear about the Western and English style. People usually feel that western can be learned more easily since the English style can be tough. If your aim is to learn horse riding for fun, go in for the western. If you intend participating in shows, etc. then it would be a good idea to learn the English style. Children invariably start with bareback. The English and western differ in that western riders hold the reins with one hand and English hold the reins with both hands. But no matter which style you decide to learn, you must remember to sit up straight with your toes pointed forward and your heels down. Also, never forget to look where you are heading. You must, at all times, show kindness towards the horse and make sure you don’t lose your temper or get irritated.


 




What You Will Need In Terms Of Horseback Riding Gear


You will need some basic gear, starting with the saddle, reins and stirrups and you can rent these from wherever you plan to learn. At the time of enrolling you can check for a good fit so that you have a comfortable ride. It is necessary to ensure that your horseback riding lessons are safe, so don’t forget to wear a helmet. Here’s a must-have list:




• Well fitting clothing with your shirt tucked in


• Breeches or thick leg wear. Jeans are okay but the stitches down the inside of the legs can chafe and hurt.


• Preferably go in for an ASTM approved helmet


• Riding boots that have about a one-inch heel so that you can avoid your foot from slipping through the stirrup.


• Accessories, which are optional, are riding gloves, chaps, boots etc.




Choosing Your Riding Stable


You can look around or ask for the stables in your locality, shortlist a few and personally check them out. You can take a look at the horses and their stalls here. Good stables will take proper care of their horses. Check whether the staff readily answers questions you might have. Most stables require you to sign a liability waiver. Get all the information about schedule for the lessons and the fees applicable.




Other things you can take a note of are whether the horses and their stalls are clean. Since this is a hobby where safety is very important there’s no harm in clearing any doubts you might have.




Your First Lesson


Do not forget to inform your instruction if you are learning horseback riding for the first time. This will help them choose a horse that is gentle, slow and well trained. First lessons are generally one on one and last a maximum of half an hour. During the first few lessons you will also learn to saddle your horse and be instructed on how to ride safely. The instructor will show you how to lead the horse and how to mount and dismount your horse. You are also asked to practice walking the horse. Your instructor will teach you how to ask your horse to move forward and stop in your first lesson. You will learn the right thing to do when there are other riders around. Most horseback riding lessons are once a week and this is preferable, as it will help you keep in touch with what you learn.




Horseback riding as a hobby is a very pleasurable thing and with the right instructor there’s no limit to your enjoyment. You must remember that you and your horse are a team and both must understand each other to ride as one, communicating with ease. Over time, you will realize that you are relaxed on your horse and who knows, you might just end up doing shows!




This information is just a trigger to start you off on your hobby learning horseback riding. For exhaustive information and tips, check on Discover A Hobby as you will not only be able to see instructional videos, but will also find some fantastic books and links that will help you tremendously and tell you all you need to know about horseback riding. Happy horseback riding!