A horse is a beautiful animal, both inside and out. If you have read “Black Beauty”, you know why horses are worth loving and riding. You cannot learn how to ride a horse just by reading a book on “how to ride a horse”.
The question here is how long it takes to become a great horse rider. Let me compare the question with “how long does it take to understand Calculus?”. Can you think of any definite answer? A child may take months while you may take weeks.
The same is with becoming a horse rider. Some people can become a great horse rider within months while others may take years. The ability really differs from person to person based on their physique, control and more.
Apart from that, the trainer, the understanding, the technique, and the practice frequency also determines how long a person will take to become a good horse rider. For example, some skills are hard to learn and you just learn this very suddenly. One day you cannot and the next day you just can.
Riding a horse need muscle control and coordination. You need to ride quite frequently to get your body accustomed to the body of the horse you are riding. Many movements are just automatic rather than being a well-thought-out movement to make your horse do what you want. You only know how your horse responds to certain cues by actually trying it on him.
So, let us begin knowing the steps that can make you a great horse rider. Again, the time each of the steps will require will differ from one person to another.
The Steps to Be Good at Horse Riding
Know your purpose, horse and how to take care of it.
It might be a pony or horse you bought or it might be just a horse you are renting at a barn, whichever it is, a horse is still an animal. Animals have habits and emotions. When we, humans, try to manipulate an animal we have to understand the animal, its habits and emotions first.
Therefore, even before you touch a horse, know about horses from books or other riders. Then, when you actually meet the horse who is going to be your ever supporting best friend soon, learn to groom it. First, you have to learn how to tie the horse.
Tying a horse may seem easy but you do not want to confine the horse too tightly. So, learn how to tie a horse making it feel comfortable and not intimidating.
Grooming the horse is a good way to start bonding. With days passing by, you will realize that the horse starts to consider you as one of its own rather than looking at you with concern and fear.
Lastly, you need to know what you are using the horse for, how you plan to ride it. Based on your final destination at horse riding, you can create a smooth plan that will get you where you want to be in the fastest possible way.
Create your mood
While you are learning to ride a horse, watch movies and read books related to horse riding. This will not only encourage you but also make you feel close to your horse and be natural.
Gear up right
Before you actually ride a horse, you need to prepare it and make it suitable for riding. First, you have to learn how to put on a saddle. Make sure the saddle suits you and the horse as well. You have to put the reins and the bridle on in the proper way as well.
It is best to know when to feed your horse and how to prepare him yourself because one day you will have to do it on your own. The horse depends on you.
Learn to mount a horse
This is quite easy as long as the horse is calm. Try not to startle or intimidate the horse in any way. Use support if necessary. This step is no big deal at all. Just do not fear it.
Start walking by guiding
Hold both the reins in your hands following the posture your instructor tells you to. Usually, you have to keep your elbows straight to the bit. When you are moving forward, keep your legs and movie
The most basic way to start is walking in a straight line. Train your horse to walk in a straight line and slowly in other patterns. You can level up as you progress.
Learn to Turn and Stop
When you ride a horse, you must learn to turn it or make it stop. Turning it is actually quite easy using the direct reining approach. In this approach, you hold the reins with your hand and your cue with your left hand to move to the left and turn your horse and right hand to turn to the right.
Your body posture and hand will guide the horse in the direction you want to turn and also how much you want to turn. When you want to stop, you have to use your body and hands again.
Learn to trot and canter
This is probably the most difficult one to master and may take up the longest time. You have to spend quite a few rides to get used to the body of the horse walking with you on it. When you are fully used to the walking, only then can you move on to trot.
Trots will scare you and put your body in confusion. Your muscles may struggle to keep up with the various engagements and movements necessary. There is apparently no other way to learn to trot except by doing it practically.
You just need to let our body adjust. However, after you learn to trot, you will find cantering much easier to do. It is fun as well.
Extras along with the basics
If you know how to do the first six, you can basically ride a horse anywhere, However, you may find yourself in situations where you need to back up or fall. Trying to fall safely without harming yourself is one of the key skills you need to learn.
Horses may have their mood swings and throw you off. You should know how to deal with it well. Also, learn to fall off in case an emergency occurs.
You see, riding a horse has some basic moves which you will learn gradually. As you proceed, you can include tricks you have always wanted to do. But, always be careful enough so that you do not end up with a serious injury.
How long becoming a good rider takes is a subjective question and with faith in yourself and the horse, you can do it much faster than other rides tell you.