Learning to ride a horse takes time and practice. To become an efficient rider can take years and considerable fitness. In this equestrian blog, we share tips and competition rider secrets to help improve your riding skills to ride like a pro.
Start with the basics: Before venturing out for long rides or tackling rugged terrain, ensure you understand the fundamentals of riding. Horse riders need to learn to mount and dismount correctly, be proficient in walk, trot and canter and understand the basics of riding. You should find an advanced riding instructor to help you become a skilful rider. Regular lessons will make you a more balanced rider and help you develop a strong body position.
Build up endurance: Long rides require a good fitness level in both rider and horse. To become a good rider, you should build your core strength and try strength training to ensure you are balanced in the saddle. By riding in the correct position, you will ache less and help your horse with smooth riding. Start with short rides and slowly build up your horse’s endurance and fitness.
Learn to read your horse: Pay attention to your horse’s body language and listen for any cues they may give you. Understanding horse behaviour is imperative to becoming a better rider. This will help you understand your horses’ mood and how and why they react in different situations. Recognising body language and knowing where to look in the body for tension will make you a more intuitive horse rider.
Stay alert: Stay aware of your surroundings while riding your horse. Look out for hazards such as low-hanging branches, dogs off leads, bikes or other horse riders when out hacking. If you have to ride on the roads, make sure your horse is used to traffic and you are courteous to other road users. Professional riders will always be aware of their environment and how their horse feels underneath them.
Practice makes perfect: Even experienced riders can make mistakes sometimes. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t go as planned – keep practising, and you will eventually master the techniques. Experienced riders learn from their mistakes and move forward with there riding successfully. If you have a supportive instructor, they can help you through any riding issues you may be having with your horse.
Dress appropriately: Always wear a riding helmet, and wear comfortable riding clothes that allow for a full range of movement when riding. Also, avoid wearing loose-fitting items that may get caught on the saddle or stirrups, and wear correct riding footwear. Riding gloves will give you a more secure feel on the reins, and when road riding, wear a fluorescent tabard so you are seen from a distance by others.
Equipment check: Whether you are a professional rider heading into the competition ring, a police rider about to go on duty or an everyday rider hacking out, inspect all of your equipment before taking off on a ride and ensure it is in good condition. Check the bridle, reins, stirrups and saddle for any signs of wear and tear before mounting your horse. Also, check your riding equipment after every ride.
Develop a bond: Horse riding skills includes spending time with your horse before and after each ride. Grooming, talking to, and spending time with your horse will help create an emotional connection between the two of you, making your relationship much more enjoyable. Whether you have a new horse or want to strengthen your relationship with your current horse, spending time together will see you reap the benefits. Whether you plan to introduce your horse to competitive experiences or want to enjoy riding out in the countryside, your approach to riding should start with building a relationship and developing trust.
Be patient: Learning to ride takes patience and consistency – it won’t happen overnight! Set realistic goals for yourself and your horse, and take the time to celebrate the small victories along the way. Following instructions from your instructor or trainer is one of the most important things you can do when riding. Not only will it help you learn proper technique, but it will also reinforce good habits, improve your ability in the saddle and keep everyone safe. If you have a sharp horse, improving your riding will help you feel more secure and confident.
Get feedback: Ask for feedback after each ride and be open to constructive criticism. This will not only help you develop your horse riding skills quickly, but it will also allow you to address any issues that may arise during your riding sessions. If you want to become an excellent rider, you need to take criticism and use it to improve your skills in the saddle.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to fast-track your horse-riding skills and become a more confident rider. Remember to be patient and enjoy the process of learning – the more practice you get, the better you’ll become!