Horseback Riding : The Definitive Guide
For the privileged relationship with the horse : riding is not only a sport in its own right, but it is also a passion, an escape, a moment of sharing between the rider and his horse.
This physical activity requires rigor and humility. It allows the rider to establish a unique contact with ponies and horses but also to discover new and intense sensations.
For the atmosphere : The practice of riding is also an opportunity to meet other riders and share his passion.
For its diversity : equestrian disciplines are very numerous which allows to vary the pleasures. There are more than 20 disciplines: jumping, dressage, aerobatics, polo, carriage, ...
More than a sport, it's a passion , a state of mind , a sharing with the unique animal of its kind!
The benefits of horseback riding
Endurance without fault
A foolproof balance
Riding is not to be carried, you have to know how to stand.
Horse riding can significantly improve this neurological function.
A toned body
Even after years of practice it is possible that you still discover muscles that do not suspect existence after a good session on horseback.
Riding therefore allows to maintain a good muscular tone , in addition, its practice tends to stretch the muscles, which limits the increase in volume. Good news if you have decided to sculpt your silhouette.
In terms of calorie expenditure, a show jumping session can lose up to 600 calories per hour.
A controlled breath
In addition to the breath of fresh air offered by this outdoor sport, horseback riding allows you to learn how to use your breathing.
Regulating part of the nervous system and blood circulation, it oxygenates the muscles and ensures their proper functioning.
Very good way of relaxation, knowing how to breathe will be of great help to any rider, especially in the management of his emotions.
A calm and regular breathing allows in addition to put the horse in confidence.
A concrete back
How many times have you been told "riding is bad for your back"? A lot of them are almost certain. In reality, the practice of riding would be excellent muscle this part of the body .
By learning to stand up straight and relaxed, we develop a balanced and harmonious support, which is very favorable to the good health of the back because it strengthens the lumbar musculature .
Good motor coordination
It is very important to be able to control your body and be precise in your movements.
Action reaction !
A morale of steel
In addition to all these physical benefits, riding has an impact on morale. Most riders practice first in order to relax and rejuvenate themselves.
Riding requires concentration and allows you to focus on yourself, a very beneficial aspect for those who want to "disconnect from the world".
More than a sport!
The practice of riding is an asset for health and morale. It promotes good communication with the pony or horse and with other riders. It allows you to breathe in an outdoor sport that is family.
- Good for health: a fun sport
Riding a horse or a pony is a pleasure that allows you to relax ... In addition to the sporting practice that contributes to the physical well-being of the practitioners and to the psychomotor development of the child, riding is a couple sport.
The relationship that is created between the rider and his horse or pony brings him an original complicity with an animal and makes him acquire a lot of knowledge about the natural environment.
- A nature sport and a passion to share
It is a sport that is practiced in a group and that allows many exchanges with people of the same age who share the same passion.
Riding promotes respect for others, animal life, gives the taste of effort, commitment and perseverance.
- Activities for all tastes and desires
Equestrian activities are very varied. Riding is as we love it ... from initiation to perfecting, casual nature or adrenaline seeking not to mention team sports and competition.
Graduate supervision and quality labels of the French Horse Riding Federation will ensure you a pedagogical progression adapted and secure.
On the practical side, riding is the possibility of riding a horse or a pony once a week as part of a course adapted to its level.
What to know before horse riding?
Doing an equestrian activity, starting at what age?
Given the motor development of the child, learning to ride can begin at 5 years old, or later, knowing that there is no age limit to begin to practice an equestrian activity.
Certified pony clubs are great places for your child, because teaching is based on play and they learn to ride on ponies that are smaller than horses.
The hike can be practiced from 10 years old. Children from 5 to 10 years old can go on a trail if the horse is on a leash by a qualified person.
Where to practice an equestrian activity?
In addition to targeting an certified riding center that is a guarantee of confidence, it is important that you take the time to find out by going to visit or calling the center's owners.
This first contact will give you the opportunity to evaluate the general atmosphere and complete the information you have already obtained.
Do you want to go hiking first, but you have no experience on horseback?
The guides and horses of certified equestrian tourism centers are ideal.
Do your children dream of riding?
Give them the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of horse riding by offering them one or two weeks in a day camp or a holiday camp or by reserving a place for an initiation package at a riding school.
Horse Riding Prices
- Average price of a riding class
In groups, we are talking about $ 30 per lesson and in private about $ 40 per lesson.
- Average price of a day camp
For a 5-day week and no snack or dinner, it costs about $ 325.
- Average price of a holiday camp
For a 5-day week with meals, snacks, and bedtime, it costs about $ 750.
- Average price for a hike
Renting a horse on time with a guide costs about $ 22 and for a day about $ 110 including lunch.
Horse Riding Security
Wearing a helmet for riding is a must, regardless of the age of the person and the equestrian activity practiced.
For this horse riding experience to be enjoyable and safe, we recommend wearing comfortable, but not too loose clothing and closed shoes with a small heel.
When you make a reservation at an equestrian equestrian tourism center, you will be asked for your weight. There are more and more centers that set a weight limit that is determined according to the abilities of the available horses.
The hike can be practiced from 10 years old. Children from 5 to 10 years can go on a trail if the horse is on a leash by a qualified person or can ride in the arena. Children must not ride at the same time as another child or an adult on a horse.
Horse Riding Equipments
At first, to enjoy the pleasures of riding, consider the outside temperature and dress simply: long pants, closed shoes with a small heel and not too loose clothes.
Ask for stirrups to be fitted with hulls, especially for children. This is equipment that prevents the foot from crossing the caliper.
It is highly recommended that you wear a helmet that is made for exclusive riding and riding purposes, approved by BSI * or ASTM * standards with the SEI * seal.* British Safety Institute, American Society for Testing Materials, Safety Equipment Institute.
After that, it will still be time to get more specialized equipment.
The pleasure of being with the horses can be lived in classic riding, western riding, carriage and outdoor riding. Stakeholders at certified riding centers are able to teach you the theory and techniques necessary for the learning of your choice.
Do you want to go hiking first, but you have no experience on horseback? The guides and horses of certified equestrian tourism centers are ideal.
Each discipline has its specifics. Many of them can be practiced in a context of leisure and / or competition. You can try them all to find out what you prefer.
Ride on your horseback
Before riding , it is imperative to properly prepare your mount, but also to create privileged links with it.
This makes it possible to approach the riding lesson with a lot more serenity. You will then learn how to position yourself and control the different gaits.
Ride on horseback: preparations
Your instructor asks you to arrive at least 30 minutes before starting the riding class. This has 3 advantages: to know which horse is awarded to you; take the time to prepare it without stress and get to know him better, especially if it's the first time you ride it.
When you are a beginner, you tend to ask other riders what they think of the horse that is destined for us. However, it is advisable to make your own opinion and not listen to the negative opinions of the type: it is devious, it is vicious, it gives "ass" or it makes everyone fall. This will have no other consequence than to destabilize you. On the contrary, keep in mind these tips:
- If your monitor has given you this mount, it is because you are quite capable of mounting it.
- Trust yourself and everything will be fine!
- Maybe these riders, who do not like the horse you're going to ride, just did not know how to run it and take the time to get to know him.
How to equip your horse before riding it
Clean your horse
- This allows him to wash before harnessing.
- This relaxes it while activating the circulation of the blood.
- It is also an opportunity to detect any abnormality or injury.
- for the cleaning of the underside of the hooves;
- a rake , very useful when the horse is very dirty, because it serves to remove dust, mud and loosen hair.
- hard brush named "cap" that cleans the horse's coat . Be careful, do not use on a shorn horse or sensitive skin.
- a soft brush that finishes the grooming and shines the hair.
Saddle your horse
- Put your saddle pad gently on its back: it must be placed without wrinkling, forward and covering his withers. Some riders add shock absorbents.
- Then we position the saddle gently on the carpet. It must be placed behind the withers not to hurt it.
- Then, we get off, that is to say that we pull up the front of the saddle pad to clear the withers.
- Then we strap in several times and gently, knowing that the horse has a tendency to inflate when we are about to saddle it. Note : A well-positioned strap is a strap placed at a hand width from the back of the horse's elbow. This avoids disturbing him during his movements and injuring him during the recovery.
- The saddle is now snug on the horse's back. You still have to adjust the stirrups to the correct height. To get there, you go down the stirrups and close your fist on the top of the stirrup leather while extending your arm. The stirrup must arrive under your armpit to be at the right height.
How to restrain his horse
- Stand at the front left of the horse and pass the reins over his neck.
- Take the top of the net in your left hand. Then, your right hand should pass below the horse's throat to gently place itself on its chamfer (area from the line of the eyes to the nasals) so that the horse's head does not move when you bridle it.
- Very gently, you position the net being careful to adjust the bit in the mouth of the horse. If it does not open the mouth to receive the bit, place your left thumb in the toothless part at the corner of the mouth. Make a slight pull down.
- Once the bit in the horse's mouth, adjust the headrest on his head by placing one ear after another.
- The last step is to properly adjust the throat. You must be able to pass two or three fingers. It's the same for a well-fitting noseband.
Good to know : for some horses, type hackamore, mounted without mouth (without bit), the action is done on the nostrils of the horse. This is especially for horses that go hiking.
How to ride
Once your horse is equipped, you will head into the arena (covered place where you practice riding). Once in this place, stand to the left of your horse and proceed as follows to mount your horse:
- Check the webbing. If necessary, do not hesitate to resangle it.
- Before riding, your reins must be well adjusted so that the horse does not move. Hold them in your left hand, then position your left foot in the stirrup.
- Bend your knees and climb gently to ride your horse while passing the right leg on the other side.
How to get off of horse
Your lesson is over. To get off the horse, it's not complicated, even if you're on a big horse.For that, as soon as your mount is static, keep the reins in the left hand. Remove your feet from the stirrups. Lean your body to the left of the mount. Rock your right leg back without touching the rump of the horse. Finally, dismount.
Now all you have to do is calmly take care of your companion to reward him for his work.
Bonus #1: Horses Have Different Personalities
Did you know horses have different personalities? They have their own silly little quirks which is why it’s important to properly bond with your horse.
For instance, some horses are eager beavers; they’re confident, very easy to train, and always trying to impress you.
There are also the sensitive types. They’re the ones that while very obedient, they can quickly feel offended when given an incorrect aid.
Bonus #2: What Horses Can and Can’t Eat
We love to give our four legged friends a cooling treat, but it’s important to know which treats are good for your horse.
When feeding your horse it’s always best to stick to a regular feeding routine and for your horse’s diet to consist mainly of grass or hay.
It’s okay to give your horse a treat now and again, whether it’s praise for good work or just a cooling treat in the summer. People may feed their horse treats that they don’t realize are harmful for them. There are also some foods that may surprise you, that are actually are ok for your horse to eat. It’s important that you know what foods these are.