Riding a horse is one of the most pleasurable and enjoyable things you can do.
The problem for many of us, however, is that we do not always feel balanced and centered on our horse's back. In fact, if WE are not feeling balanced or centered on our horse – rest assured – our horse is probably not feeling balanced or centered when we are on his / her back either.
So here are some general tips on riding a horse in a balanced way that I hope will help you. It may sound silly, but you really need to begin with your mind when riding. In other words, it's important that you know how to become a horse. Sound crazy? Probably not if you are a “horse person” like me. We're always trying to think about how our horses are feeling. We always want to give them treats and kisses.
Well, all that “lovey dovie” stuff is great. But we really have to pay attention to how our horse moves so that our body is positioned in a well balanced and centered position over his / her back.
How to become a horse, then?
- OBSERVE: Study your horse as he / she moves out in the pasture. Watch closely as your horse runs. Watch your horse trot. Watch your horse walk. Notice how they are balanced. Notice their body positions as they move. Watch other people ride. Notice the ones who are obviously NOT balanced versus the ones who appear very balanced.
- LEARN: Find a reputable horse riding instructor that works FOR YOU. That means find an instructor with a personality that YOU can learn from. For example, I never cared for the rigid “drill sergeant” type. I was already inhibited and shy enough about riding, so the last thing I wanted was someone making me feel even more uniquate. But some folk like that, and that's perfectly fine. Conversely, some instructors can be so “wimpy” that you can never get them to tell you what you're doing wrong. The point here is to match yourself up with the type that works for you so YOU can get the wins you want.
- GET YOUR BODY IN SHAPE TO RIDE: This means doing exercises specific to riding horses. Remember, the better balanced and centered you are on your horse, the better you will ride and the less aches and pains from the action of riding you'll have.
- READ UP: There are great books out there for horse owners. Find one that you are comfortable with and that aligns with the instruction your teacher is giving you. In fact, your instructor is a good source for books on the subject.
- RIDE, RIDE, RIDE: the more you do it, the better you will be at it. Every time you ride you are training your muscles to do what they need to do to ride well. Not only that – and possibly more importantly – YOU WILL FEEL MORE AND MORE CONFIDENT THE MORE YOU RIDE.
I hope these few tips on riding a horse will be helpful to you. Now get out there and have some fun.
Maybe I'll see you on the trails.