It all starts somewhere
You can be diagnosed with horse addiction at any age. When it strikes, you suddenly find yourself getting up at the crack of dawn, shoveling manure, scrubbing that same manure off the walls, and sporting some seriously awkward tan lines.
Before you know it, all of that hard work pays off. You are teaching lessons, traveling for clinics, and riding professionally. One day, after a particularly good ride, you find yourself reflecting back on where it all began. How did your riding career start? Did you grow up around horses? Who was the first person that introduced you to riding?
No matter how old or young you were, it all starts somewhere with that one ride. We all know what it is like to feel completely unbalanced on the horse your first ride. So if you are just starting out, enjoy the ride and do not take your mistakes too seriously!
Funny to think horse people call it “mistakes” when really, it is your body’s instinct to hold on! We have collected some common mistakes we all made in the beginning stages of riding, and maybe still make! If you are a beginner yourself memorize some of these mistakes and how to fix them so you can alleviate your own riding issues!
Holding your breath
“Relax!” A common instruction from your trainer who is simultaneously telling you to draw your shoulder blades together, eyes up, hands together, and drop your leg down all at the same time. Seems impossible and yet, as you gain experience, you find yourself only being able to relax when you are sitting on a horse. With your mind racing and nerves on the edge many people hold their breath. Maintain breathing by counting silently to yourself while riding.
Be a passenger
One unique aspect of riding is controlling another being who has a mind of their own. They have to learn to respect you as a rider and this does not happen on your first ride! Before you know it, the horse is cutting corners, and headed back to the entrance of the arena! To help you become more confident around the arena, imagine your horse is the train, you are the conductor and the path you want to go is the train tracks. The conductor is responsible for keeping the train on the tracks! This visualization will help you stick to your plan and not allow the horse to deviate from the tracks.
Isn’t it natural to put your arms out for balance? It may be no surprise when you find your arms raising up as the horse moves into a trot! For any beginner rider, the movement is foreign and you will feel very unbalanced. Work on trusting the horse and relaxing your shoulders to help lower your arms.
No matter how hard you try to focus on your body, there is a 1,000lb animal underneath you doing its own thing! Haunches are swinging to the outside, the poll is tilted to the inside, shoulders are falling in, and you are supposed to fix it! It is helpful to think of you and your horse as one. Your shoulders are their shoulders, your hips are their hips etc. This will help balance your body and straighten your horse at the same time!
Your main priority is staying on the horse. The last thought going through your mind would be taking your eyes off the one thing separating you and falling! Like we said, trust the horse and trust your balance. It is just like riding a bike! Maybe a little more extreme, but similar!
Share your first riding experience with everyone! Leave a comment below about how you got the horse bug!