Whether you plan to hit the trails or the show ring this year — or just hang around home — why not take some riding lessons?
One of the fascinating aspects of horseback riding is that there’s always more to learn. After all, Olympic riders still have coaches! Unfortunately, many people think riding is just getting on a horse, kicking to go and pulling to stop, and if you don’t fall off, you’re a good rider. Nothing could be further from the truth, as many unhappy horses would tell us if they could speak. Like any other sport, horseback riding requires a particular skill set that is learned much more quickly, safely and efficiently with proper teaching.
Unlike other sports, riding involves two individuals – a horse and a person – each of whom not only has to acquire physical and mental skills, but also has to learn to communicate with a partner who doesn’t speak the same language.
Learning to ride well involves learning to simultaneously relax and control your own body while sitting on top of a constantly moving horse in order to communicate with the horse through clearly given body signals or aids, all the time reading and responding to the horse’s feedback. A tall order! Even if your riding is limited to slow trail rides around your own property, you and your horse will benefit from some good instruction. And who knows, after a few lessons, the riding bug might really bite as you realize there’s more to riding than you thought. Besides, riding lessons are fun and provide the motivation many of us need to ride more regularly.
Find yourself a good instructor with whom you’re comfortable, learn to ride better, and you and your horse will enjoy your time together more, whether on the trail or in the show ring.