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7 Important Horse Riding Lessons for Beginners

Posted by Country & Stable on 12th Sep 2022

7 Important Horse Riding Lessons for Beginners

When you first get started with horse riding, you might feel overwhelmed. This is because there are so many things to learn and remember!

It's not just about learning how to ride a horse; it's also about learning to understand horses as an experienced rider would.

To become a confident horse rider, start by reading this article. But, first, we explain seven important horseback riding lessons every beginner should learn.

1) Wear the Right Clothing

You will begin in a training ring when you begin riding a horse, this is because this place is the safest and most secure place to start riding due to it being enclosed. 

The following pieces of clothing are essential for novice equestrians because they act as protective equipment:

Riding helmet

Make helmet use mandatory while you ride. There are many options. For example peaked, vented and velvet. Skull caps can also be used; you can jazz them up with different hat silks. Some equestrian helmets come with visors, which are great because they protect your eyes from sun and flying debris.

Consider having a professional fitting for your riding helmet for maximum protection and comfort.


Boots for horseback riding are essential. The heel on the boot is crucial as this stops your feet from slipping whilst using the stirrup iron. Furthermore, they keep your feet warm during cold weather rides and act as protection for your feet should the horse accidentally stand on your toes. Make sure that you buy good-quality boots for long-lasting wear. 


Wearing gloves will give you better contact with the reins and improve your grip. They also help to keep your fingers warm in the winter, so they come in handy all year round.


When purchasing a jacket, look for a style that is waterproof and windproof, warm, and has a hood. However, it should be noted the jacket should not be tight fitting as this will restrict your movements. For ladies, our favorite is the Toggi Ladies Winter Defender Pro Waterproof Jacket.

Equestrian leggings

Jodhpurs will become an essential part of your horse-riding wardrobe. They are tight-fit leggings that protect your legs from saddle-chafing and bruises as you move against the horse.

Furthermore, riding tights and breeches are also great options to wear. In addition to these essential items, consider these other items that you may wish to add to your wardrobe.

2) Relax Before You Ride

Before you mount the horse, it's essential to be relaxed. Here are some tips for relaxing before riding:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat something light that doesn't contain sugar or caffeine. Sugar and caffeine cause stress.
  • Don't drink alcohol. Alcohol affects your body's ability to absorb nutrients and perform well.
  • Drink lots of water before you ride. Water helps flush toxins from your system.

Remember, a relaxed rider makes for a calm horse.

3) Mounting for Beginner Riders

When you mount your horse from the ground, you must feel confident. Believe in yourself and trust your horse.

Use the following procedure to mount:

  • Stand still to the nearside of your horse,  while your horse stands next to you.
  • Pick up both reins loosely in your left hand.
  • Balance yourself by resting onto the front of the saddle or neck of your horse. You may take a chunk of your horses’ mane to help you with security. However, please note that not all horses feel comfortable with this. 
  • Place your left foot into the left stirrup. Try to avoid digging your toes into the horse's ribs as this may upset and spook them. 
  • A good spot to put your right hand is well over the offside on the saddle, away from the horse. 
  • Holding or pulling on the saddle's rear might be harmful to your horse.
  • To mount, do two or three energetic springs and you must shift your weight to the mounting foot and lift the other leg over the horse's back.
  • Ensure you lift your right leg high enough and arch your leg over so as to not kick your horse’s rear end. 
  • Come to rest comfortably in the saddle, by lowering yourself slowly and controlled. 
  • Your horse's back may get harmed if you land too hard in the saddle.
  • Before you sit down, try to make sure both of your feet are in the stirrups. 
  • Protect your horse's spine while maintaining a steady seat with this. 
  • Shift your positioning a little.
  • Make some tiny modifications to your seat and posture once you've settled into the saddle.
  • Once you've mounted your horse, trust the bond between you and the animal and stay focused.

4) Equestrian Riding Gaits

There are three main types of English riding gaits (styles):

  • Walk: When you walk, you move at a slow pace. The walk is a four beat rhythm. This rhythm helps your hips to move with the horse's steps. 
  • Trot: When you trot, you move at a moderate speed. The trot is a two beat rhythm. When first learning you will rise and fall to this rhythm with your horse. At a later stage you will learn to sit to this rhythm.
  • Canter: When you canter, you move at a fast pace.The canter is a three beat rhythm. This is a rocking motion as to which you sit.  

The best way to learn how to control your horses is to practice. Practice walking first, then practice trotting. Finally, move on to cantering. Make sure you uphold the fundamentals of dressage, which the United States Dressage Federation encourages.

5) Holding the Reins

Another basic skill is to hold your reins properly.

Here are some steps for taking the reins like a skilled horse rider:

  • Keep a rein in each hand and slide it across your palm from your third to your fourth finger, then out to your first and thumb. 
  • Don't let your thumbs go below the top of the rein; hold them high.
  • Holding the reins with your thumb over your forefingers to prevent them from slipping between your fingers.
  • Use your fingers to pull gently on the reins.
  • Avoid using too much pressure. Too much pressure makes your horse nervous.
  • Avoid gripping the reins tightly. Grabbing them tightly makes your horse uncomfortable.

6) Proper Use of Your Equipment

Horseback riding requires the proper use of your equipment. For beginner riders, the following will be of great help to you:

  • A whip is an added addition to help reinforce your leg aids. The whip should be used lightly and quickly and is another valuable tool to communicate with your horse.
  • A bridle assists in keeping your horse under control.
  • A bit is used to tell your horse what to do. It helps you guide your horse.

Using these tools correctly helps you maintain a good relationship with your horse. In addition to these tools, you may want to invest in other helpful equipment, like saddlebags for trail riding, saddle pads, and more.

For beginners a neck strap is a great added extra to have as this gives you something extra to hold onto for security and is vital in helping to regain balance. 

7) Showing Affection

Your horse wants to be loved. Showing love to your horse is easy. A pat on the neck or shoulder is the most basic kind of reinforcement. Additionally, rubbing the back of the neck and giving a hug there. Grooming your horse is an opportune5 time to show affection to your horse. While grooming you can talk and stroke them, all of this will lead to bond. When horses mutually groom one another it is a sign of care and attention and by grooming our horse we can recreate this.


Riding a horse is a fantastic experience for riders of all skill levels. Remember to be properly equipped before you start riding, stay focused, but most importantly, enjoy it.

You'll soon become a confident rider by learning these basic skills. Your riding skills will improve with practice. Equestrian vaulting, horse racing, and other forms of horse sports are for those more experienced riders, but everyone can learn and get up to this level through continued practice and lessons. 

For the finest equestrian equipment and apparel, contact us today! We will be happy to assist you in finding the perfect gear for your horse riding.