How to Prepare for Your First Horse Ride | Tales of a Ranting Ginger

How to Prepare for Your First Horse Ride

Riding a horse can be a lot of fun, but it can be a bit scary too when it’s your first time. In fact, if you are not well prepared for your first ride, it may not turn out to be a pleasant experience at all. On the other hand, a novice rider who has prepared appropriately for their first ride is going to have the time of their life from the very first lesson. To make sure that you are prepared and to avoid common rookie mistakes, take note of the following tips.

The Right Trousers

Despite some people telling you that jeans are fine for riding, you should never be wearing jeans while riding a horse. The seams will inevitably rub against your skin and by the end of the day, your legs will likely be bleeding from all that constant friction. Shorts and skirts are bad ideas as well since they do not protect your legs properly, therefore, exposing them to scraping and pinching from the saddle. Breeches are the most appropriate trousers for riding. There are many different providers, but an example would be Equiline breeches. Providers such as Equitain sell Equiline breeches certified by professional riders. The breeches offer better grip to the rider and are super comfortable for long rides. Don’t put off buying breeches just because it’s your first ride – you will need them from the very first day.

Buy Riding Boots

Avoid trying to ride in trainers because you will soon find them to be a poor decision. Instead, opt for riding boots with a heel and a smooth sole. Even if you cannot get hold of a pair of riding boots right then, try to find something with closed toes and make sure that it at least has a bit of a heel to stop your feet from slipping through the stirrup.

Wear a Rider’s Hat/Helmet

Falling from a horse is not that uncommon really and that’s why you need to wear a helmet at all times to protect your head. The good news is that your training institute should provide one to you for the first week or so, but feel free to buy a helmet of your own if you don’t like the idea of sharing sweaty riding hats!

Dress Neatly

Aside from the gear already mentioned, one should preferably opt for a Polo t-shirt on top, tie up the hair if it’s long, and wear riding gloves to protect the hands against the constant friction. Everything should look tidy and be compact when you are going for your first riding lesson.

What about Fitness?

Riding a horse does require at least some degree of fitness, but it’s nothing to worry too much about since the horse will basically be doing all the running! Just hit the gym regularly for a month before starting to ride if you are totally out of shape. If you are already a moderately fit person, you don’t really have to do anything extra. Besides, riding itself is good exercise and it will likely make you fitter by default.

Have Patience

While the first official lesson is going to be on the lead-rein, expect your trainer to introduce you to your horse first. It is important that you take out the time necessary to understand your steed’s behaviour patterns first. Listen to what the instructor is telling you and never be impatient with your horse. Let things flow naturally and don’t try to skip or fast forward one lesson to get to the next.

Arrive Early

Arriving early is not only polite, it’s actually part of the preparation itself. It will give you the time to get acquainted with the training grounds, your horse, and your trainer. In addition to helping you be more comfortable in your surroundings, this will also let you learn more about how to prepare a horse before actually riding it. If you arrive late or just on time, your trainer will have prepared your horse by then and you will lose the opportunity to learn how to do it yourself.

Be Ready to Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid of irritating the trainer with too many questions because he/she is there to answer them; that’s pretty much the job. In fact, some trainers may find it refreshing to see new riders who are actually interested, rather than just going through the motions. The bottom line is, if you have a question in your mind regarding horse riding, ask away.

Most of all though, it’s about enjoying the actual feeling of riding a horse than anything else. As long as you are in a relaxed mood and follow all the instructions as best as you can, your first ride is going to be something that you will remember for the rest of your life. However, do not forget the gear, or it could become memorable for all the wrong reasons!

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