How To Learn To Ride A Horse

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“Learn”, “Horses”, “Ride” 

 

Three words that tell what this article is all about.  I had a gentleman ask the question, “Is there some way that you could tell us how to learn to ride a horse”.  He found the horse training articles interesting, but he had never even rode a horse.  That just goes to show, that horses are just naturally interesting to almost all of us.  They display a beauty, and a sense of freedom, that seems to appeal to everyone.

 

I’ve said it before; Many times I’ve just enjoyed going out to the pasture and watching the horses as they grazed and walked around, just admiring the beauty of God’s creation.  And we’ve all seen movies that show a horse galloping across the screen,  just as free as nature intended.  It’s no wonder that we find horses so interesting and fun to watch and be around.

 

Just look at the picture at the top of the page.  Is that beautiful or what?

 

 

“Learn”

 

images8SK2SETZIt makes us want to learn more about horses, and it makes us want to be a part of their world.  And it makes us want to have a “partnership” with them, and even to “build a relationship” with horses.  If you were fortunate enough to have been raised around horses, you have really been blessed.  But if you’re like me, and wasn’t quite that lucky, it’s never too late to begin your adventure.  I began riding when I was 18 or 19 years old.  I really can’t quite remember.  But what I do remember is that once I got started, I didn’t want to quit!

 

 

 

I’d like to urge you to take a look at the page on this website titled “About Me”, and read some more about how I got started with horses.

 

You’ve heard the saying haven’t you, that someone “learned by the seat of his pants”?  Well that’s exactly how I learned to ride.  Let me tell you a story… We’ll go back about 47 years.

 

A friend of mine named Debbie, suggested that I go riding with her some weekend.  And so we found a place out in the country that rented horses, a livery stable is what it was, (we lived in the city).  She had ridden before, and so she just sort of told me what to do, and since she was the “expert”, I did what she told me.

 

The first thing she told me, was that when we got there, we should tell the managers that we wanted to ride “English”.  I really didn’t know anything back then, so I gladly went along with it.  Debbie told me that an English saddle was so much more comfortable, and that’s why we should ride English.  Well, the barn people did have English saddles as well as western, and so they were glad to accommodate us.

 

 

imagesG4XXD55YNow if you’re familiar with an English saddle, you know there’s not a whole lot to hang on to, when you’re riding.  You know, I mean there’s no saddle horn to grab, to help you stay on if you get off balance.  Well, being brand new to riding, I did need to grab on to something at times, so I found that there was a nice little area at the top of the front of the saddle that had a “space” underneath it.  It’s just kinda’  like a “gap” between the horse’s back, and the underside of the saddle up in front there.

 

 

 

 

 

So I would just take my left hand and tuck it under the saddle, in that gap, and grab hold of the front of the saddle that way.  It would have been the same as grabbing the saddle horn on a western saddle, but instead, I just stuck my hand under the “pommel” of the saddle, (see the picture) instead of around a saddle horn.  And I had to agree with Debbie, the English saddle was quite comfortable.

 

 

“Horses”

 

images9JIB9CDYOne thing we used to like to do with the horses, was to gallop and race them.  So we would get a ways, away from the barn, on the other side of a big row of trees, and we’d race them, just as fast as they’d go.  It was really cool galloping so fast like that.  I’ll never forget one day we were galloping like that, and it had rained the night before, so there were some muddy patches left, that hadn’t dried yet.

 

 

 

 

 

imagesO5QD959VWell, we were on a dirt road, and the horses were running as fast as they could go, and the road turned slightly to the left.  right in the middle of that turn was a big muddy spot.  My horse started around the turn, and all at once his feet went right out from under him, as they slipped in the mud.  Well, he went down, and I went flying through the air, and landed about ten yards out in front of him.  I gathered myself up as quick as I could, and looked back at the horse, and he was still sliding on his back, all four legs almost straight up in the air.

I still remember that horse’s name, it was “Green”.  Don’t ask me why someone named him Green, but old Green was just as startled as I was over what had just happened, and when he got up to his feet again, he just stood there looking bewildered.  Luckily, that gave me time to walk over to him and take hold of the reins before he decided to run off to the barn and make me walk back.

 

 

 

Don’t Do This !

 

imagesC1A2TB23Here’s something you should never do.  When we would first get on the horses and try to ride off from the barn, they would never want to leave, because they were “barn sour”.  So we usually got a small tree branch, more like a big twig, and we used that as a riding crop to get the horses to leave the vicinity of the barn.  Well, I guess I couldn’t find a twig that day, so I took off my belt and used that as a riding whip.

 

After we had gotten the horses out across the road and actually into the forest on the other side, I rolled up my belt and just stuck it down in front, under the waist of my blue jeans, between my jeans and my stomach, just in case I needed it again.  Well when I went flying off the horse that day, I landed right down on my stomach, with that belt tucked in there.  Wow, it felt like someone punched me right in the belly.

What’s the moral of the story?  I’m not sure, maybe don’t use you belt as a riding whip?  How ’bout, leave your belt around your jeans, not inside them?

 

 

 

I Learned The Hard Way

 

I guess I learned a lot, “the hard way”.  But I’ll never forget it!  We had a blast back then.  But the point of it all is;  You can learn to ride, “by the seat of your pants”, (or by your belly), or you can learn the “safe way”.

 

imagesSCZLUI9JAfter I met my wife, I would go with her out to the country where she kept her standard bred horse, at a boarding stable, which was also a training farm for Thoroughbred race horses, and an English riding, training and showing facility.  We both took proper lessons there, on acquiring a “good seat”, and on a lot of other basic areas of “horsemanship”.  This is where I learned to “jump” also.  Jan was already showing and jumping some, but she went on to do lots more while she boarded her horse there.  We got to know the “stable hands” really good there, and had a lot of fun with them, and with all the horses that were there.

 

 

 

 

“Ride”

 

So what are the main things you’ve got to “learn”, when considering “How to learn to ride a horse”?  Let me give you a short list of “Beginning Basics”, for learning to ride a horse.

 

#1.  Sit up straight with proper posture. 

 

images906TSM8N postureOnce a person knows how to ride, and has lots of experience, posture doesn’t seem very important anymore for just pleasure riding.  If on the other hand, you are going to pursue showing, in either English or Western events, good riding posture is a must or the judges won’t take second look at you.

 

 

 

 

Pleasure Riding

 

Let’s just consider pleasure riding for starters though.  If you’re riding for “pleasure”, you want it to BE a pleasure.  You’re not concerned with your “posture”.  At least that’s how I feel.  I just want to be relaxed and comfortable, and enjoy my horse and the beautiful outdoors.  If I get into a situation on the trail, where some real “riding” is required though, I can instantly assume the good posture and control that I need, to be IN control.

 

 catchYou see, to be “in control”, you need to be in the proper “position”.  Let me give you an example.  If you go out with a friend, or with your kids, and play a little “catch”, with a baseball and glove, you just want to be relaxed, and toss the ball back and forth,  and enjoy being out together.  But on the other hand, if you’re involved in a “game” of baseball, and you’re the catcher, you want to be “in position”, right?

 

 

 

 

Well, it’s the same with riding.  If you’re just out for pleasure …  relax and enjoy.  But if you really want to have complete control, you want to assume some kind of position, where you can BE in control.  Doesn’t that make sense?  So if you learn from the start, to have good riding posture, you’ll be able to “take control” whenever you need to.  Not to say that you don’t want to have control ALL the time, but you can see my point, can’t you?

 

 

Take a look at the pictures again

 

postureimages906TSM8N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are sitting correctly on your horse, you should be able to draw a straight line, from your shoulders, down through your hips, and down to your heel.  But you should be sitting “comfortably”, not “rigid” and “locked” in position.  Your weight should be in your seat, not in the stirrups.  The ball of your foot should be in contact with the stirrup, with your heel “down” and your toe slightly “up”, and pointing forward.

 

Be careful not to put much of your weight in the stirrups though.  In order to develop a “good seat”, your weight needs to BE in your seat.  And just what is meant by a “good seat”?  Well, to put it very bluntly; A “good seat” simply means that your butt stays put in the saddle, and doesn’t bounce all over the place.  If you put too much weight in the stirrups, you will actually tend to lift your butt up OFF the saddle.  If you want to stand up in the stirrups to get a better look around, for instance, well that’s OK.  But you shouldn’t be riding with your butt off the saddle.

 

 

Here’s an exception to what I just said though.  (there’s always exceptions aren’t there?)  Almost always.

 

postingposting 2Are you familiar with what “posting” means?  “Posting” is a method of riding your horse at the trot, where you lift your butt off the saddle, with every forward and upward step, of your horse’s front leg.  (either leg)  And when you’re riding, it’s difficult to see your horse’s front leg, so the way you time your “posting” is off his shoulder, which you can see clearly.

 

 

 

 

 

When the shoulder begins to come up, that’s when you begin to “post” upward along with your horse’s movement.  Then when you come “down”, off the “post”, you meet the opposite front shoulder, which is now on it’s way up.   The purpose for “posting” is take some of the “bounce” out of the trot.  If you’ve ever tried to just sit still on a horse while he trots, you know that YOU’RE the one that gets “bounced” all over.

 

You can either “post” off the left front leg, or off the right front leg.  If your are “posting” off the right front leg, you will be “posting” on what is called “the right lead”.  If you are “posting” off the left front leg, you will be “posting” off “the left lead”.    I won’t go very deeply into this right now, but that is about the only time that you want your butt coming off the saddle.  Otherwise you want your butt “glued” to the saddle.  THAT is what a “good seat” is.

 

 

What NOT To Do

imagesR7T1X5MZimages19S1OGOGNow let me tell you HOW you’re going to keep your butt “glued” to the saddle.  You are NOT going to grab onto the saddle horn, and try to “hold yourself down”.  And you are NOT going to try to wrap your legs and feet around your horse’s belly and “squeeze tight”, to hold yourself down.

 

 

 

What you ARE going to do is this;  You’re going to squeeze, or “grip” with the upper portion of your legs, against the sides of your horse.  By that, I mean from your knees, up to your butt, you apply pressure to “grip” against your horse.  Basically, you’ll be gripping with your inner thighs.  This will take some practice, to not be gripping with your lower leg as well, as you grip with your upper leg.  And if you practice this “gripping” diligently, you can expect some sore muscles to go along with it, at least until your muscles get “toned up” for this.

 

When you get more skilled at riding, you’re going to want your lower leg to be free to give “signals”, and “cues” to your horse, so that you can control his movements, and get him to perform the way you want him to.

 

 

 

Jump bareback
Now THIS is a “good seat”. What a rider!  Even though her butt’s off the horse’s back, as it should be when jumping, she’s gripping with her knees and upper legs. Beautiful ! This girl’s got a “relationship” with her horse.

 

 

 

We’ll Continue Our List of “Beginning Basics”

 

I’ll have to end this lesson here, but we will continue with my list of “Beginning Basics”, in the next lesson titled, “How To Learn To Ride A Horse – Part 2”

 

Thanks for staying with me for this first lesson on how to learn to ride a horse.  Keep watching for the next lesson coming very shortly.  But in the meantime, thanks for visiting, and “Happy Horse Training” and “Happy Riding”, Jim.

 

 


 

 

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28 thoughts on “How To Learn To Ride A Horse

  1. Wow Jim. There is a lot to remember about learning how to ride a horse. But what is clear is that I need to have my butt glued to the seat!

    I live in Belgium and so many people have pet horses. It’s crazy how many I’ve seen in people’s gardens. It’s quite shocking since I’m from Canada. Shocking and strange but people’s gardens are big enough for them, so I guess it’s alright.

    I’m very interested in reading the next part. I think I’m going to learn a lot and really want to get on a horse! LOL I’ll ask my neighbour if I can learn on their horse 😉

    1. Hi there Liz. Thanks for stopping by and for your interest. I know of lots of people who just have horses as pets too. One of my neighbors used to do that. The horse’s name was Annie, and their back yard butted up to our pasture, and so the horses would buddy up over the fence. If we moved our horses to a different pasture they would be upset because Annie didn’t have any friends then. I hope you get to ride your neighbor’s horse. what breed of horses are you familiar with? What’s the most popular ones in Belgium? I think that Icelandics are popular throughout Europe. Do you know if that’s right? Hop to talk to you again soon, Jim.

      1. Hi again Jim. That’s s nice! Horses are such friendly animals, it’s wonderful! Poor Annie 😉 I hope she always has friends nearby.

        I’m not sure what breed the horse is exactly (not that close with my neighbour), but the draft breed is popular here. If that makes sense. There’s a Brabant breed. They’re a breed from the northern part of Belgium and probably all over the country.

        1. We have a draft breed here in the states that’s simply called the Belgium horse. I found out that this is the same as you refer to as the Brabant. It’s also called the Brabancon, from the Brabant region of Belgium. I read that it’s called the “Cheval de trait belge”. But I have no idea what that means. Maybe you know. Draft breeds are usually so gentle. They’re really the gentle giants of the horse world. Aren’t the European Warmbloods a mix of thoroughbreds and draft breeds? Some of the big show jumping horses are Warmbloods. I guess if you want a horse to jump 6 or 7 feet, he better be pretty tall to begin with. It’s so good to hear form you again Liz. Thanks for visiting, talk to you later.

          1. “Cheval de trait belge” means horse with Belgian traits/features.

            To be honest, I have no idea about breeds. I was going to ask what a draft breed is!? LOL

          2. A draft breed is a work horse. Usually a heavy boned and well-muscled horse bred for pulling heavy loads. In the old days they were used for pulling plows on the farms. The Budweiser Clydesdales are draft horses. When people wanted to put size and muscle into their horses, they would cross them with a draft horse. A horse with Belgian traits, Huh? I don’t know what Belgian traits are I guess. I suppose simply, certain traits that were common with horses in that part of the world, a few generations ago. Some other draft breeds besides Clydesdales and Belgians are, Perdheron, Suffolk, Shire, and there’s one called the American Cream. I think the word “draft” has to do with “pulling”. Thanks for your reply Liz. I hope to talk to you again soon, Jim.

          3. Maybe Belgian traits mean they have a certain look to them? I really don’t know, though.
            It’s interesting how many different breeds they are and how they’re used for different things. Thanks for filling me in on draft horses 😉

          4. I’m sure you’re right about traits meaning “looks”. And I guess that would include physical build type, size and shape of head, height, weight, etc. All these things of course just being typical of the breed. It can also refer to temperament though. Many breeds are known for their temperament, whether it’s a gentle cooperative temperament, or if it’s a high spirited temperament. Like the Thoroughbred for instance. He’s noted for his more fiery spirit, and the drafts, for their gentle nature. A lot of gaited horse breeds are also known for their gentleness. Some of these horses are so cooperative, that the saying was started the they were “born broke”. In other words they simply did whatever you showed them to do. In my affliliate called Equestrian Coach, there are no doubt some coaches form Belgium. They have coaches from all around the world. Their main emphasis being on the world of English riding and jumping and eventing, and the Olympics. It’s always good to hear from you Liz, and to visit. See ya soon, Jim.

          5. I think you’re right, looks and temperment. For sure.

            I wouldn’t doubt that there would be a few coaches from Belgium. That’s very cool!!

          6. Hi Liz. If you know anyone who might like riding lessons, please point them to Equestrian Coach. there’s so many coaches there, and there’s so much experience to pass along, it’s simply incredible! I know that equestrian sports are popular the world over, and you could no doubt find a coach from any country at all on the Equestrian Coach site. I also know that show jumping is a popular sport in your areas of the world, especially France and Germany. I’ve seen events that have been broadcast on TV with riders from those countries, so I’m sure Belgium riders take part also. Let me know please if you hear of any events taking place there in Belgium. Talk to you later, Jim.

  2. Horses are beautiful. I admired your image of a horse at the top of the page. I love how they look, their spirit, their ability to ride and jump. I have seen wild horses in many movies and love watching them. They look so free and maybe it’s a bit odd to say this, but I feel they look happy being where they are supposed to be.
    Thanks for sharing.
    I have to ask. How many hours have you spent training your horses?
    How many horses have you and your wife owned?

    Tove

    1. Hi Tove, thanks for visiting and I appreciate your questions. To see horses running free is a beautiful sight isn’t it? I feel bad for the horses that have to be kept in stalls all the time. I know that they’re not being mistreated, but I like for them to be free to roam, that’s what is natural for them. I really don’t know how many horses we’ve owned over the years. We always had a least two or three even before we began raising them. But when we did raise horses, we had a stallion, and about four mares, and they’d have a foal every spring. Sometimes one of the mares would go “open” for one reason or another, but usually they all had foals. Then of course we’d have the foals from the previous year, which would then be yearlings, and then the two year olds, and a couple three year olds. We’d usually always sell one or two three year olds, and sometimes a two year old every year. But we’d always seem to have 20 or 22 horses at all times. My wife always had her own riding horse, and I would ride the ones in training. We did that for about 22 or 23 years. Thanks again for your visit. Can I expect to talk to you again? Did you happen to see the page and post about Equestrian Coach? It’s a rider training site that trains through video lessons. It’s the best training site I’ve ever seen. I hope to talk to you again soon, Jim.

      1. Yes, it is a beautiful sight seeing a horse run.

        I didn’t see the post about Equestrian Coach. That’s quite a surprise to me. Can you really achieve to learn how to ride on a horse by watching a video?

        Tove

        1. Yes Tove, they can teach a person how to ride, even if you’ve never rode before. You can surely learn all the basics about riding, but of course there will come a time that you’d have to finally get an actual horse to put into practice what you’ve learned. Then it would just be a matter of practicing the lessons and progress as fast or as slow as you want. There’s no time limit or expectations involved. You learn however quickly or patiently you want. You’ll have to go to the site and look around. Let me know what you think, Jim.

  3. I really been taught how to write. I went now we friend of mine when I was probably about 12 years old and she owned a horse. She put me on the back of it and let me around. I went with her several times and she sort of told me what to do but didn’t really train me to ride. Over the next 15 years I went on a few rides with riding schools, not really much training given and it was just the packhorse mentality. I went to Australia back in 1999 and went to a ranch and told them that I could ride, but not very well as I hadn’t done it in a lot of years. First of all they put me on a packhorse which really annoyed me because the hall would only follow in a line and I wanted to actually ride. The next time I went out with them I insisted on a horse that I could ride but not, I don’t know what you’d call it, a fall get out there and do it yourself horse? This horse turned out to be a bit of a packhorse as well but I did manage to get it out of the pack and get it riding up and down against the line. The owner of the ranch was really surprised with this because no one had ever been able to do this with this horse before. The next time we went riding he put me on a horse that you could actually lead yourself. I got it trotting and galloping and the owner of the ranch was obviously impressed with what I can do and believed that I had lots of experience in riding. (Which I don’t!) I stayed at this round two weeks and had some great times. Great write up on how to actually ride but I guess I learnt that myself and I’d love some actual lessons. You know what they say, “it’s hard to teach an old horse new tricks!” Oh no, that’s a dog! I rode on to other ranches in Australia and three in New Zealand, staying at each or about two weeks at a time. So, I guess I have a reasonable amount of experience now, but I certainly wouldn’t say that I am in any way an experienced or even good rider.
    Thanks for the write-up I’m going to go on to lesson two

    1. Thanks Trevor for the interesting story about your riding experiences. I started out riding “livery” horses. They were rental horses at a stable out in the country in northern Illinois. And most of these horses would barely go too. So we would get away from the stable, and get off and find some small branches from the trees, and use them as riding whips to get the horses moving. Once you got it across to the horse that you weren’t gonna just let them plug along, they started moving good. They were just spoiled I guess by having so many riders who just wanted to follow along, just like you say about the “Pack horse”. And I didn’t have any experience then either. It’s kind a fun though teaching yourself, and learning as you go. For anyone though who really wants lessons, I promote this website here called Equestrian Coach. They’re absolutely the best when it comes to riding lessons on-line. They use video lessons and they have the best riders and coaches from around the world. You really should check it out. It’s Equestrian Coach. I have a page with that title and also a post about them. Thanks again Trevor, hope to talk to you again.

  4. I still remember my trainer told me that i learned to trot and canter pretty quickly, and her comment was that i was not afraid to fall, and that one thing has speed up my learning process. I love riding, that is the only thing that makes me actually wanna wake up 6am in the morning. I can let go all of my pressure, worries etc when i am on a horseback. But unfortunately i am not riding as frequent as i would like to.

    1. Riding horses for me has always been that pressure outlet that you speak of. What a great feeling to be out in nature with your horse! As far as feeling safe and not afraid, once we learn balance and proper riding position, we do feel a lot more at ease and confident. The horse will sense if we have fear, and that will make him uneasy too. That’s why I always suggest that a beginner start out with a horse that they know they can trust. One with lots of experience, so that the rider can learn quickly and build confidence. Hey thanks for visiting the site and for your comments. I sure hope you’ll come back and talk some more. Thanks, Jim.

  5. I have always wanted to learn how to ride a horse but never had a chance. A few years ago, I would visit a horse rescue as a volunteer. We would feed the horses carrots or apples and just talk to them and pet them. I enjoyed it very much. I should put it on my bucket list to learn how to ride.

    1. Isn’t it fun just to be around the horses? I used to spend a lot of time just in the pasture just hanging out with the horses either petting them or grooming them. It really builds a relationship that I think is so important. You might want to take a look at the Bev Doolittle art on the website here. You can have the beauty of horses and nature with you in your house. Thanks for stopping by and please refer the site to others who you think would enjoy it. Have a great day, Jim.

  6. Wow, this is so interesting! The last I ever came near to a horse was more than 30 years ago! And even that was just to pose with a horse for a picture. You’re so lucky to be able to go horse riding!

    I can imagine what an exhilarating experience it must be to ride a horse especially for a beginner. I like all the tips that you pointed out on what to do and what not to. I’m sure it will take lots of practice to get it right.

    1. Hi Yvonne. I appreciate your visit and your reply. You should pose for another picture with a horse, you’ll make the horse look good. I do feel very fortunate to have been able to enjoy horses for all these years. Before I moved to Wyoming, I would so look forward to the weekends when I could drive out to the country and rent horses, and ride. Now, for the last 41 years, I’ve virtually had it at my fingertips at any time. What a blessing. The “horse rental” business out here is thriving. And the “Guest Ranches” are packed every summer. I guess that goes to show that the riding experience IS “exhilarating”, as you say. Sometimes I don’t think words can describe what it feels like to see nature by horseback. Thanks again Yvonne. Please refer us to your friends so they can read about horses and about riding; Jim.

  7. Jim, it sounds like you learned to ride like I did. I never had a lesson though but did manage to achieve most of the things you describe here. My first ‘horses’ were at a riding ranch near where we lived. The fellow there bred Morgans and I loved them. Then I had an Arab gelding. He had a pretty round barrel and there was a tendency for the saddle to slip to the side so I did find myself suspended upside down a few times! (I did check the girth and no he didn’t inflate.)

    When I came to Australia I worked on a cattle station. My string included a lovely chestnut ‘brumby’. I never had to post when riding her as she had the nicest running walk. Every one else bounced a bit but she never had to trot to keep up with them. She was also a bit ornery when starting out for the day. I would get on, she would buck me off (I jumped off actually) and then we were fine for the rest of the day. She had proved her point. One of the fellows said I was stupid to let her have her way. So he took her out and ended up in the water trough. My way may not have been best but she and I had established a good relationship!

    I have never heard of a Missouri Foxtrotter before so just looked it up. It seems it has been around for a while and I expect the ‘ambling’ gait is similar to the running walk so they must be a very comfortable ride.

    I did read your About Me page too. You have a really nice site here that should be very helpful for those who want to get to know all about horses.

    Cheers
    Helen

    1. Hi Helen. I knew a man many years ago who is from the states here, but moved to Australia maybe about 1980 or so. Harold Atkins was his name and he was a rope horse trainer. He was very good at what he did, and was very successful in Australia. The Missouri Foxtrotter is very similar to the walking horse. A lot of gaited horses will do many different gaits. One old timer once told me that when a horse would head out in the morning (this was when people really did use their horses), the horse would be fresh and enthusiastic, and would head out doing a brisk running walk. /then as the day wore on, the horse would kind of quiet down, and go to foxtrotting. So a foxtrot is a more “relaxed” gait, you might say, and a running walk, a more brisk gait. Of course you can teach a horse to foxtrot very fast, but naturally, it is a more relaxed gait. A very fast gait is usually what I call a single-foot gait. Very evenly timed, and one foot on the ground at a time. Thanks Helen for your comments. Please refer others to the site, Jim.

  8. Hi Jim,
    I absolutely love your site! Probably because horses and riding have been a life-long passion of mine. I loved them from afar as a child but did not start taking riding lessons until college. In my 30s, I was able to fulfill my dream of owning my own horses. It was and is a fabulous experience. My son started riding lessons at 6 and got his first pony as an 8 year old. He grew up competing in various riding activities including English and Western pleasure, jumping, reining, gymkhana and team penning. He pretty much tried it all. We also spent hundreds of hours together enjoying trail riding. I would not trade those years for anything.

    The message you are sending about the need for lessons and training is an incredibly important one to get out there. It is vital that a rider be in control. That requires knowledge of basics like position, balance and proper cueing techniques along with a good deal of experience. When the rider is in control, he or she communicates confidence to the horse and a bond begins to develop. I’ve witnessed some bad experiences over the years that could have been avoided through better training and control!

    I still have one horse today that I’ve had for 23 years. We don’t get out on the trails much these days. We’re both semi-retired 🙂 But the bond is still there and he remains a pleasure!

    I wish you the best of luck with your site and the great message you are communicating!

    1. Hello Linda. Your kind words are very appreciated. You spoke of communicating your confidence to your horse, and that is definitely true. It’s uncanny how a horse can tell when a person is “in charge”, and when a person can be taken advantage of. I had a three year old mare who I thought was trained fairly well, she would sure do everything I asked her to do without hesitation. But I let a friend borrow her and go to the mountains with some other friends, and they told me that the horse would veer off the trail, and rub against trees, and ogo under low branches with the fella riding her. That horse could tell that he was taking no control of the situation at all, and so she simply went anywhere she pleased. Quite a difference from when I rode her. And horse can also tell when children are riding them as opposed to adults. It is really uncanny how a horse will virtually “baby sit” a child, and be gentle as a lamb, and then act totally different with an adult. Thanks again Linda for commenting. Have a great day, Jim.

  9. Interesting article, an uncle of mine was fond of horses, so at that age at about 13 my parents left me for 2 weeks in his house,I was home only with my cousin and we’ve got the brilliant idea to ride, me first, I got myself on a horse without a saddle, a horse quite restive, the horse broke into a gallop through an orchard, and probably from the instinct I knew how to drive it and get out alive.
    Indeed, the riding relieves fear, I was not angry, anyway, the horses inspire passion and respect.It would have been nice to have known these things then. I have not had another opportunity since then.
    I enjoyed reading the article and I’ve learned a lot of new things!

    1. Hi Dorina. Thanks for visiting and for commenting. I think riding is just such a relaxing activity. Especially when you can be out in the mountains like I have been able to do for so long. One of the most beautiful sights for me, is coming down off the mountain side in the early morning, just after the sun has begun coming up. The freshness of the new day, and nature all around. It’s awesome. Thanks again for your comments, Jim.

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