For anyone considering riding lessons as an adult, or thinking about whether to let your child start riding, let us first just say:
Hurray, and welcome to the Horse Rookie Club!
Seriously, we’re thrilled for you. Taking up any new sport — and believe us, horse riding is a sport — is exciting. You should also be prepared for a steep learning curve. There’s a lot to take in, which is why lessons are the best way to begin. Fortunately, there are plenty of great books and equestrian podcasts and vloggers that can help you prepare in your free time.You can learn to ride a horse at any age, as long you have the physical fitness and mental acuity to develop the necessary skills — and do so safely.
Read on for a few tips if you’re debating riding lessons for you or someone else.
Thanks to Emily Harris for our feature photo!
Horseback Riding Lessons 101
There are classes for everyone.
If you’ve been checking out riding facilities, or have been inspired by watching your child take lessons, you may have a skewed perspective about the type of people learning to ride.
We promise it’s not all pigtails and ponies out there!
Truth is, a lot of people take up riding as adults, when they have the time, money, and can do it at their own pace.
If you’re older, look for facilities that offer classes for “Adult Beginners.”
These stables and coaches are in-tune with what older riders need and have experience helping nervous riders, those who are too big for ponies, and anyone who would rather take a class with other adults instead of kids. No matter what style of riding you pursue, there’s no pressure to ramp everything up to competition level in your lessons. Find a program that you’re comfortable with and an instructor who fills you will confidence. Most people just enjoy horseback riding for what it is: a relaxing, fun, and active time with one of the most awesome animals out there. The right barn will let you learn in an environment that supports your goals. If you’re curious about what a first ride could look like in a lesson, check out this video:
Make sure you’re physically ready.
Riding is an activity that uses your whole body. You’ll quickly understand this after your first few rides! Even though you’ll be starting out at a modest level of exercise, get ready for your first lessons by stretching or trying a few equestrian yoga poses that increase flexibilityTalk to your new instructor about any special issues you might have, such as limited motion or joint replacement in a limb. They’ll help figure out how to work around any limitations.
Don’t try to go from zero-to-sixty as far as general physical activity goes.
Photo Credit: Patricia Kelly
If you’ve been fairly sedentary, try to increase your daily workout level by incorporating walking and light weight lifting with your arms and upper body. You’ll appreciate any extra strength you gain, in or out of the saddle. As long as you’re mentally and physically ready, any time is a good time to start horseback riding lessons. Find an instructor you feel comfortable with, and get ready to grab your new activity by the reins! P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
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