There are so many different things we can do to increase our confidence and diminish our fear with our horses.
Here are 10 Tips that are quick and easy to help begin your journey to riding with more confidence.
Always Wear A Helmet When You Ride.
If you know you are taking safety precautions, it makes you more relaxed when riding in case something was to happen.
Ride in a Saddle That Fits You and Your Horse.
When you are in a saddle that fits you correctly you are in the right body position if you need to stay balanced.
It is also more comfortable for you as the rider and makes it easier to stay balanced, in position and feel secure. If it fits your horse correctly it won’t slide or slip out of position so you will stay where you and the saddle need to be.
A good fitting saddle will also make your horse more comfortable and not pinch, aggravate or hurt your horse. Sometimes a bad fitting saddle can lead to bad rides or behavior so keep that in mind as well.
Always Check Your Equipment Before A Ride.
Always check your saddle over and cinch/girth and attachments for safety and correct application.
Make sure your equipment is always in good repair, don’t use broken tack or equipment.
Check your bridle, reins and bit as well before you put it on and go for a ride. Faulty equipment can be a big safety hazard so always keep up with how your tack and equipment is doing.
ALWAYS Wear Boots When Riding And Handling Horses.
This is a big safety concern for the handlers and riders. Most barns have rules that you must have on boots to handle or ride a horse.
No matter how well-mannered and easy your horse is, accidents happen and it only takes one bad step for a foot injury. It can be prevented by wearing the correct apparel.
Never Ride Alone.
It is always a good idea to make sure you do not ride alone. If you ride at the barn/farm make sure that there is someone around, even if they are not riding but that you have another person should you need someone.
This is also a good idea if you go out to ride on the trails or hack in a field. You are better to co-ordinate with a friend and ride together out.
Sometimes I know that can be hard to do, but for safety and confidence it is better to wait for someone who can go with you.
Try To Avoid Riding After Dark.
Some people trail ride and camp in the dark with their horses. This is where knowing your ability and your horse is crucial.
I always suggest trying to plan your rides so you are not caught riding in the dark. Things look differently in the dark and sounds can be more concerning in the dark, for both you and your horse. Sight can be a safety issue as well if you are riding in the dark, so keep in mind in the daylight is always the safest bet.
When In Doubt Ride In A Controlled Area.
Riding in an arena, round pen or perimeter fenced area is always a good idea if you are learning or your horse is learning.
The less experience you or your horse has the easier it is to stay in a smaller space such as an arena. I enjoy trail riding but I always suggest staying in a controlled area when riding alone or starting out.
Pay Attention To How You Feel.
Horses are amazing at mirroring or picking up on what our body language has to say to them.
A lot of the time we are not even aware at what our body is doing in response to what we are feeling or thinking. Be aware of what emotions or what our body is feeling.
I always suggest not riding if you come to the barn and are angry. Work through your anger and once it has dissipated then ride.
Pay Attention To Your Horse’s Mood.
Like people horses can have good days and bad days.
Pay attention if your horse seems extra “crabby” or unhappy when you are grooming and tacking. Notice if your horse seems jumpier than they usually are as you lead them in or saddle up.
Always walk your horse out to ride paying attention to your horses movement to make sure they are not limping or sore anywhere. This is one of my biggest suggestions on a daily basis. Get to know your horse and you will know if your horse is having a bad day for one reason or another.
Take The Small Steps.
Don’t try to push yourself or your horse to far or too fast. Take the small steps to reach your goals and end on a good note.
If we try to do too much all at once it can create larger problems.