Humans have been riding horses for thousands of years. Originally used as the fastest way of getting around, when cars were invented, the need to use horses as a mode of transport was no longer there – but many people continued to ride to for the sheer fun of it and still do today. It is a popular sport as it allows you to get out into the fresh air. Horses are beautiful animals and a pleasure to be around. They have been inspiring people in many ways for years – just take a look at these beautiful bronze horse sculptures by Gill Parker. Riding is a great form of exercise and if you are serious about it and really enjoy it, you could eventually become good enough to compete.
The first thing you need to do is find a riding school where you can learn. Ask around, speak to people who have had lessons to get some recommendations of a riding school that is right for you. If you think you have found the one, give them a call and ask if you can pop in for a visit. Have a look around and make sure that the stable looks in good repair and that the horses themselves look well cared for. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask – a god riding school will be happy to help you. Learning to ride is much easier if you are happy and confident with the place that you are learning and with the instructor.
Once you are happy to start your lessons, make sure you arrive early. It will give you time to meet the horse you are going to be riding. Make sure you always stay at the front of a horse for your own safety as horses can kick. Be confident with the horse, they are good at sensing fear so if you are uneasy the horse will be too.
Make sure that you are dressed correctly. You don’t have to go out and buy all of the expensive kit before your first lesson – the stable will provide what you need (do check with them beforehand though to see what you will need), but do make sure that your legs are covered as they will rub against the saddle which can be very sore on bare skin. Footwear is important as you will need your feet to sit in the stirrups – the stable may provide some for you, but if you prefer your own, make sure it is closed toe shoes with a small heel so that your feet will not slip out of the stirrups.
Once you and the instructor are both happy to continue, then it is time to start learning! Remember to enjoy yourself, and always listen to your instructor.