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Unlock The Secrets Of Horse Riding

Oct 12, 2007
You often hear people say that they have been riding since they were three years old, or they were practically born in the saddle. Simple logic will belie this. No child of three years has enough coordination or strength. However, children do have a natural balance but no particular rhythm. Every sportsman knows the necessity of coordination, balance, and rhythm.

Before you buy a horse there should be a year of lessons, not only to learn the fundamentals of riding but to learn how to conduct oneself around an animal and the stables.

Without instruction you pick up a lot of bad habits. It used to be common practice to throw someone into the water to teach him to swim. In self-taught riding you may be able to ride a horse you are familiar with, but put yourself on an animal inclined to be stubborn or one that hasn't been ridden for some time and you will be grabbing for leather and your apparent accomplishments will suddenly disappear.

Not only will you be embarrassed by your own inadequacies but the horse will recognize the lack of skill and take advantage. Yes, indeed, there is more to riding a horse than the mere act of sitting on his back.

Even though it may take years to become an expert horseman you can have fun learning each lesson. Each bit of knowledge and accomplishment will make you eager for more, and each lesson will become more interesting. In riding, coordination, balance, and rhythm become a habit. Watch a horse suddenly shy with an experienced rider. The horseman's body works automatically with the motion of the mount, his hands control the horse's head, and the animal is brought back into position without too much effort.

An uncontrolled horse will do as he pleases. If the inexperienced rider gives the wrong cue, the horse will obey without question, even though it is poor judgment. How many times have you heard people say, "This stupid horse won't go." Believe me, it isn't the horse who is stupid. It is the ignorance of horsemanship showing quite plainly. There is a slogan all horsemen know well, "It is always the rider, never the horse." It is so easy to blame the horse.

When you start lessons, the first thing that will affect you will be a tinge of fear when you climb on the horse's back. You have to get used to the height from a horse's back. You cannot learn to ride as long as you have any fear, because it makes you tense and there is no place for tenseness on a horse's back.

There is little danger of falling off during the beginner period because you will not be allowed out of a walk until you have learned to sit. However, every horseman falls off sooner or later, and the falling is not so bad as the anticipation. You may be thoroughly jarred but rarely hurt. It is usually the experienced rider who falls, and this is because he rides well enough to become careless with his balance.

To stop the horse, shift the weight slightly back and pull back lightly, then release the reins. The stop should be balanced, and if the horse does not stop, pull harder, forcing the animal to an abrupt halt. By pushing slightly with the balls of the feet and squeezing with the knees, the horse will learn to stop without so much pressure on the reins.

If the horse does not stop well with reasonable pressure on the reins, he should be retrained. The reason for releasing the reins when the cue is first given to stop is because constant pressure on the reins means to "back."

As has been said, there is a lot to learn in riding a horse, but each stage, each new piece of learning is exciting. Have fun riding!
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