Are you looking for a new challenge? How about a way to get fit and give you time to enjoy the outside? Horse riding could be the answer. It’s an age-old skill that most people never even try, so let’s take a look at what it takes to get started.
First thing’s first, you’ll want the right equipment. As a beginner, there’s no need to buy your own horse just yet, but you might need the right gear. A safety helmet is essential, always look for one which is ASTM approved for the best quality.
Next, you’ll need a durable, waterproof pair of riding boots with a small heel to fit the stirrups. A pair of men’s breeches will give you the comfort, flexibility and durability you’ll need to get started. If you’re nervous about falling off, then a torso-protecting safety vest is always a good investment.
Find Your Ride
Your best bet as a beginner is to find a riding club near you and talk about your options. They’ll invite you in to a beginner session where you can spend time with a horse and start to learn how to ride it.
Clubs often work on a subscription basis, but many offer one-off taster sessions. Alternatively, you could get a voucher for a day trip or experience, which will get you crash course day in horse riding, so you’ll be in the swing of things when you get to your first club.
It’ll take you time to get comfortable in the saddle. Riding schools will offer training in the paddock, guided rides along bridleways out into the countryside (these are called hacks), and even an introduction to show jumping and dressage. You’ll find these disciplines will test your strength and your skills, so be ready!
This is your chance to try everything that you can to see whether it’s the right hobby for you. You can also take the time to bond with a horse, which will make the whole experience far more rewarding and fulfilling, so take your time and be proud as you improve week after week.
Horse riding is not for the faint of heart. It takes practice, confidence, and plenty of core strength. The benefits are both mental and physical, getting outside for a long ride can help you embrace nature, and give you a moment of peace to reflect and breathe.
Taking on a new challenge and tackling new experiences can be the key to a healthy lifestyle.
The Extra Mile
When you’re used to being on horseback, a whole new world of possibilities opens up. You could try your hand at horseback sports like polo, racing and endurance riding. You will need to pick up some additional protective gear, like knee pads, before you dive too far into equestrian sports.
Eventing could be the competition for you, combining the skills of dressage with the energy of cross country and the finesse of show jumping. The possibilities are endless, and they’re all out there for you to try.