Horse Riding Safety Tips
We want you to feel as relaxed as possible about your first rides, but there are some safety rules you should always follow.
Horses are one of the best things in the world – no argument from the Horse Rookie team, here–but they are also tall, heavy, and afraid of things like plastic bags.
- Helmets are NOT negotiable: Before you get on, make sure you are wearing a properly fitting horse riding helmet. It can save your life in the event of an #unplanneddismount, so make sure yours fits well.
- Stay alert: Riding is super fun, and when you’re first learning, it’s easy to get distracted. You are dealing with a living, breathing animal who might behave unpredictably. You’ll learn to understand “horse talk” better as you progress, but keep your eyes open and be aware of your horse, other horses around you, and the surroundings. Your toes (and pride) will be happier for it.
- Protect your feet: Speaking of toes, proper boots are a must. You don’t need to purchase new ones for your first riding experience, but if you keep riding you’ll want to invest in one of our
Safety should come first, for rookies and pros, alike.
How to Ride a Horse Step by Step
Learning to ride a horse can look very complicated, and there is a lot that goes into riding well. But breaking down each element into baby steps helps riders of all ages become proficient equestrians.
How to Get on a Horse for Beginners
One of the coolest things about horses is that they are so tall. One of the scary things about horses is that they are, again, so tall. Yikes!
How are you supposed to get up there? Good news. With a little practice, mounting a horse is easy:
- Have someone hold your horse for you while you get on.
- Always check your girth! If it’s not snug enough, the saddle can “roll” when you try to get on.
- Stand on the horse’s left side. (It’s customary to work from this side of the horse, so it will be accustomed to this.)
- Hold the ends of the reins in your left hand, just in front of the saddle, but keep them loose. (Reins are what you use to steer your horse, so you’ll want to have them ready.)
- Put your left foot in the stirrup. Make sure the ball of your foot is on the stirrup vs. sticking your foot all the way through to the heel.
- Put your weight on your left foot and “step up” to a standing position. (Your right leg will be hanging next to your left.)
- Swing your right leg up and over the horse’s rump, being careful not to accidentally kick them on the way.
- Sit down in the saddle as gently as possible.
- Adjust your stirrups to the proper length, or have your trainer do it for you.
- Put your right foot in the other stirrup. Remember to center the ball of your foot on the stirrup, not your toe or heel.
- Congrats! You’re now on a horse.
How to Stop a Horse for Beginners
As fun as your first ride will be, you’ll want to bring your horse to a stop at some point. Just remember — you’ll be slowing down and then stopping. There shouldn’t be any “slamming on the brakes” while you’re in the saddle.
- First, you’ll want to make sure that you are steady in the saddle.
- Sink your weight into the seat.
- Lean back a little, and firm up your legs.
- There’s no shame in holding on to the horn or the front of the saddle.
- Let your horse know you’d like to slow down by saying “Whoa,” in a normal tone of voice. (You don’t need to yell – you’re just a couple of feet away from their ears.)
- Pull back gently on the reins. Don’t keep pulling at them like you’re pulling a rope. Instead, alternate tightening and releasing the pressure. Remember, the bit is in their mouth, and it’s sensitive!
- Once your horse has stopped, release the reins and give his neck a nice pat as a reward.
- Lectures 0
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 44 weeks
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 5
- Certificate No
- Assessments Yes