Did you always dream of riding a horse as a child, but never had the opportunity? Or did you used to ride, but then life took over? Whatever your circumstances, making the decision to learn to ride a horse as an adult can seem daunting! It can also leave you asking yourself whether you could be too old to learn to ride a horse. Well, the good news is that you’re never too old to ride a horse!* As long as you can manage to get in and out of the saddle, you’ll be able to embark on all the equine adventures you could wish for. Read on to discover our advice for learning to ride a horse as an adult!
Build your fitness
Horse riding can be hard work physically, involving a lot of cardio. If you’re thinking about getting lessons, you might want to do some preparation beforehand by improving your fitness; this depends upon how fit you are currently of course! The fitter you are when you begin, the easier you’ll find it, and the faster you might be able to pick up your new skills.
What’s your motivation?
Consider the reasons why you want to learn to ride a horse and what you want to achieve. Do you want to be able to go for a casual day’s hacking around the countryside? Is your aim to compete? Or is your ambition simply to become a horse owner, and so you would like to develop the skills you’ll need for this?
Types of horse riding
Have you thought about what type of riding you would like to try out? There are so many different styles of riding available, such as Western, English, dressage, trail riding and speed events, to name just a few. If there’s a particular kind of riding you like the sound of, try to seek out an instructor or school that specialises in this activity.
Get a sample
Before committing to an expensive and time-consuming course, it could be best to watch a lesson being given by your instructor of choice, or to book in a single sample lesson yourself. By doing this, you’ll be able to get a really good taste for the sport, as well as whether or not you’ll get on with your instructor. Finding the best instructor for you could make all the difference!
Practice makes perfect!
As with learning any new activity, the more frequently you’re able to practise horse riding, the faster you’ll progress! If you’re unable to hone your skills with much frequency, remember not to beat yourself up about it. No matter how often you practise, you’ll need to be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s unlikely that you’ll become Charlotte Dujardin within a similar time frame! Take the time to learn thoroughly, and above all, don’t give up!
Group vs individual lessons
Whether you decide to learn to ride as part of a group, or individually, is up to you. Group sessions can work out much cheaper, but if you’re taught on a one-to-one basis, you’ll be able to get advice tailored solely to you and your ability. Practising as a group can have the added benefit of getting you out on your equine adventures with likeminded people. This can make what could be a fairly solitary pursuit into a fantastic social event.
Ride the right horse for your ability
Horses come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s important, especially as a beginner, that the horse you’re riding is appropriate to both your size and level of skill. Some horses take better to being ridden than others, and yours should be placid enough to put up with a novice rider. Speak to your instructor about selecting the right animal for your lessons.
Get some horse riding clothes
You won’t want to splash out on gear before you’ve started your first lesson, and you should be able to borrow certain items from your horse riding school to begin. But as you progress, you’ll need to get an appropriate helmet and heeled boots. Whatever trousers you decide to wear, make sure they don’t have an inner seam, as this can chafe. Don’t wear anything too loose, as this can become tangled up in your horse’s equipment.
You will hurt
As we mentioned above, horse riding provides quite a lot of intense exercise, so expect to be sore for at least the following day, if not more! You’ll find yourself using muscles you never knew you had, and it will probably hurt. Don’t worry, however, as with a little persistence you’ll be up to peak fitness in no time!
You will fall
It’s inevitable, ask any horse rider, no matter how much or how little experience you have in the saddle, you will at some point fall off, and it will probably hurt. When young children fall off a horse, they usually find it much easier to bounce back than adults, so don’t be surprised if you have to take a little time off from your new hobby while you recover!
There’s no such thing as a silly question
This is a good one to remember, as sometimes it can be easy not to ask a question you’d really like to know the answer to for fear of it being thought silly! We can almost guarantee, however, that your horse riding instructor will already have been asked pretty much everything at some point, and remember no question is silly if it will help you attain your goals!
The most important thing to remember is that if you have a dream, and that dream is to ride a horse, you should get out and make the most of it! If you’re thinking about buying a horse, you might also want to consider taking out horse insurance to help protect them against the unexpected. At The Insurance Emporium, our Horse Insurance policies come with cover for Death, Theft Or Straying as standard, and can be customised with our Optional Benefits, such as cover for Vet’s Fees. You can also get up to 30% discount^! Why not head to our equine product pages to find out more?
* The Insurance Emporium’s Horse Rider Insurance products provide cover for riders between 5-75 years of age.
^ The 30% discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Multi-horse Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.
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