FAQ Riding

Learning to Ride Horses in Your 50s: It’s NOT too late

older woman with horse
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Written by Channing M.

Welcome to the horse world!

Getting back into the swing of saddle time in your 50s has never been easier. You’ll find that there are many fellow riders out there in your age group, all excited, all enthusiastic, and willing to share their advice and tips.

We’ll talk about what you want to know, and need to know before you throw your first boot over a horse’s back.

Click to see one of our favorite books for the beginner rider at Amazon

Why It’s a Great Time to Start Riding

You’re in great company. There are more middle-aged riders than ever, due to improved methods of getting fit for this surprisingly physical hobby and the organization of riding groups like the Old Peoples Riding Club. The humorously-named OPRC was formed by a group of friends who missed the opportunity to enjoy and learn in an environment like the Pony Club. Formed in 1998, it’s still going strong — only proving that riders like you are just as capable of having fun and enjoying the equestrian world as the junior set.You have the time to learn to ride the right way. When you start as an adult, it’s not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Scheduling horseback riding lessons and carving out the hours from your week takes a mindset that already has you well on the road to results. Even though your love for horses may not have lessened, understanding all the nuances of what’s required for riding success is something that arrives with age and wisdom. You know why you’re at the barn, you made some sacrifices to be there, and you’re going to carpe equine, or else! Riding in your 50s is pretty darned cool — admit it. (No arguments from us — if Queen Elizabeth can hit the trail in her 90s, we’re just kids!)Your fitness goals may have slacked off. Horseback riding will get you into shape in the most fun way possible. Riding is a great way to tone your whole body. As you get more skilled, you’ll be working everything from your core muscles to your legs. Helping out around the barn is also a whirlwind of cardio and weight work. You’ll stay flexible, strong, and improve your sense of balance. inspirational horse quote about age

Age is just a number when it comes to horse riding. Check out Horse Riding as an Adult: Why It’s Never Too Late to Learn to see why!

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Tips for Horse Rookies in Their 50s

  • Find the right barn: There are a lot of lesson programs and riding instructors out there. Make sure you like the way the riding instructor conducts themselves with students. Does the facility offer classes for adults only, or will you be mixed in with younger riders? Do they offer a private lesson option? What are the goals of the horseback riding lesson? If you’re just looking for a way to enjoy pleasure riding, you aren’t going to feel comfortable at a barn that is geared towards training students for showing. 
  • Work on your fitness outside the ring: If you’re going to use horseback riding as a form of exercise, do some preparation. Be sure to discuss any possible physical limitations with your coach before you start lessons. Learn some basic stretches and strengthening moves that you can practice at home, and before each ride.
  • Invest in good gear: If you know you’ll be sticking with your new sport for a while, shop for a helmet that fits well and meets ASTM/SEI safety standards. Keep your comfort and health in mind when selecting riding gear — it’s essential. Learn more about the gear you need to ride horses as an adult.

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Brush up on the basics before heading to the barn by reading How to Ride a Horse for Beginners (Basics, Safety, Mistakes).

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About the author

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Channing M.

When I'm not using my equine anatomy, physiology, veterinary care background to educate other equestrians, you'll find me volunteering with retired racehorses or vacationing in the Gulf of Mexico with my hubby and beach-loving lab.