Riding a horse on a trail can be a very fun experience. However, many people may be intimidated at first, especially if they have never ridden a horse before or it is their first time bringing their horse out on a trail. You just have to learn that your horse is a partner, not a tool or a vehicle.
To help you make the most out of your riding experience, here are some tips that you should learn.
Be the Leader
Horses have a strong sense of smell and instinct. So if they smell that you are scared of them, they may take advantage of you or be scared as well. Therefore, as the rider, you need to direct the horse and let them know that you will keep them safe.
Every horse will be cooperative as long as they can trust and understand the owner. You need to be direct and firm yet kind if you want to get that kind of understanding with your horse.
While you have to be the leader, you also need to make your horse your partner. You should take notice of how it reacts to things around it (that includes you) and where your horse looks. You should also pay attention to what your horse does with its tails, ears, and eyes then learn how to work with it.
A mistake many beginners make is that they think they need to be in complete control of their horse. You need to be a team with your horse to get the best experience possible.
Pressure and Release
A basic riding principle that you and your horse should learn is that release teaches and pressure motivates. To apply pressure, you would gently pull on the reins to tell them to turn or squeeze with your legs, so your horse moves forward.
If the horse wants to get rid of the pressure, it will do something to make it stop. Stop the pressure once the horse stops – that way, you will let it know it did the correct thing. If you want your horse to go, you should squeeze your legs.
On the other hand, if you stay still on the horse seat and pull back on the horse gear or reins, you will be telling it to stop. If you use one leg to push against your horse’s side, it will move toward the opposite direction. If you apply a left or right neck rein, your horse will turn to that direction.
Your horse will become more cooperative and happy if they know that they are appreciated and that you are a good leader. You should encourage them by telling them kind words because they can understand you. You should also gently rub and pet them to let them bond with you.
Do not forget to bring some treats like apples and carrots, too! That way, they will realize that spending time with you and riding is a good experience.
Trail riding with a horse can be fantastic once you get the hang of it. Remember the tips above to get started on the right foot!