- Learn To Ride
- Equine Welfare
While it isn’t necessary to go out and purchase a full riding wardrobe for your first lesson, there are a few must haves which will make your experience safe, comfortable and fun.
ASTM CERTIFIED RIDING HELMET
This is the single most important piece of equipment you need to own. Approved ASTM riding helmets must be properly fitted to the rider so they don’t slip or fly off during riding. Riding helmets are designed specifically for riding and the types of injuries a rider could experience. Substituting a non- sport specific helmet such as a hockey helmet is NOT recommended and is to be avoided. Borrowing or purchasing a used helmet which could have structural damage not visible to the eye should be avoided. A reputable tack shop will carry certified helmets and will be able to assist you in selecting a properly fitting helmet.
While wearing a pair of riding boots is a good idea they are not essential. Wear shoes/boots that have a one half to one inch heel which will prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. Make sure the sole is not too thick so you can easily remove your foot from the stirrup.
Fitted jeans or long pants will be sufficient when starting out. Avoid loose fitting clothing and fabrics such as leggings which can be slippery in the saddle. Avoid shorts as they offer no protection for your legs from the potential rubbing and pinching of the saddle. Refrain from wearing scarves, jewelry or loose fitting clothing which can get caught while working around or riding the horse.
Horses can be tons of fun but they are large animals and even a quiet horse can accidentally hurt you. Here are some safety tips you need to remember when you are at a stable.
Many people wonder, when they begin a new sport or activity, how fast they should be progressing with their training and skills development. While each person should be allowed to learn at their own pace, there are some general guidelines you can use to manage your expectations.
Riders taking one lesson per week can expect the following:
UP TO FIRST MONTH:
Introduction to horses
Introduction to basic horse handling with emphasis on safety
Basic horse equipment and care
Riding Skills: mount, dismount, position, how to ask the horse to walk, stop and turn
UP TO SIX MONTHS:
Improvement on theory
Introduction/practice of riding patterns
Confidence gained in horse control
Riding skills: introduction/ practice of lateral work, gait transitions, balance, two point position (English), riding with one hand (Western)
UP TO ONE YEAR:
Independently able to tack up horse
Improving knowledge of equipment and horse anatomy
Riding skills: walk, trot and posting trot (on correct diagonal), canter/lope (learning correct leads/changes), introduction to sport specialization, introduction to the show ring, understanding of rein effects, introduction and practice of bending, straightness and impulsion
These guidelines will vary from individual to individual. Factors such as frequency of riding lessons and opportunities to practice can also impact how fast a rider progresses. Riders with above average athletic ability may also progress more rapidly.
It is important to remember that you should be challenged, but not pushed beyond your mental and physical limitations. A good riding instructor will know what is best for you and will tailor a lesson program to suit your abilities and goals.
The Long Term Equestrian Development (LTED) model will also outline stages of development for riders of all ages and involvement.