Horseback Riding for Beginners: What You Need to Know

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Horseback riding can be an exciting new experience, but it is essential to know the basics before you get on.

This post will cover: what to wear, how to mount and dismount your horse, how to communicate with your horse, how to maintain balance while riding, and some tips that will help make your horse experience more enjoyable and more interesting!

You need to know about taking care of yourself before, during, and after your ride! We’ll go over what you should know before taking on horseback riding as a beginner.

What is horseback riding, and what are the benefits of it?

Horseback riding is a form of equestrian sport. It involves riding on horseback, usually from an English or Western saddle.

There are many benefits of horseback riding – for example, it helps people improve their balance and posture while strengthening core muscles. 

There are also mental health advantages to riding. – for example, it has been shown to help reduce stress levels and anxiety.

People who have experienced abuse can use horses to work through trauma because they offer unconditional love.

How to get started with horseback riding?

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Getting started with horseback riding can seem daunting, but it is much easier than you think. If you are interested in becoming involved in horseback riding, there are many things to consider.

The number one thing people should consider wanting to get into horseback riding is where they want to ride or how often they plan on going out. Depending on which one suits your needs best, several options are available. 

Find a stable near your home where horses are housed -Ask if they offer lessons or have trainers available who will work with beginners. 

You don’t want to take on this challenge alone! -Take lessons from an experienced trainer so you can learn the best lessons.

Horse breeds and their different characteristics

Different types of horse breeds
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Many different breeds have different characteristics depending on the purpose. For example, some horses are better at endurance, while others excel at quick speeds and agility. Therefore, it is helpful to know what breed you plan to fit your needs best. 

Here are 5 of the best horse breeds for beginners-

  1. American Quarter Horse- 
  2. Arabian
  3. Thoroughbred
  4. American Paint
  5. Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse

American Quarter Horse

This horse originated in the United States. It is popular with English and Western riders. 

They are known for their versatility, intelligence, and speed. Their ability to perform in both the show ring, as well as on the open range. They have been bred to be versatile and easy-going animals suitable for people of all ages to ride.

There are currently over 2 million registered American Quarter Horses worldwide, with over one-third of them living in Texas alone.

The first recorded use of these horses was by the Spanish Conquistadors, who arrived on North America’s shores in 1519.

  • Height: 14 hands to 16 hands
  • Weight: 950 to 1,200 pounds
  • Speed: 55 mph (Maximum)
  • Lifespan: 25 to 35 years

Arabian horse

Arabian horses are often ridden because they have a smooth gait and are known for their endurance. In addition, they’re brilliant and easy to train, making them great for beginners.

  • Weight: 1,000 lbs (Adult)
  • Height: 4.8 – 5.1 ft. (Adult, At Shoulder)
  • Color: Bay, black, chestnut, or gray. Occasional dominant white, sabino, or rabicano patterns
  • Lifespan: 25 to 35 years
  • Speed: 40 mph
  • Price: Between $5,000 to $30,000


Thoroughbred horses are well known for their ability to race and gallop, but they can also be excellent riding horses for beginners.

Thoroughbreds have an athletic build beneficial for those who want a strong-bodied horse with a deep girth. They are usually between 15.2 and 17 hands high, making them easy to control while mounted on the back of these equines.

Thoroughbreds tend to be good-natured and willing, making them easier to handle than other horses’ breeds. As a result, this breed is trendy among riders due to its many benefits, such as carrying weight easily or jumping obstacles if necessary during hunting or races.

  • Speed:44 mph
  • Origin: England
  • Color: Black, chestnut, dark bay/brown, gray/roan, palomino or white.
  • Lifespan: Between 25 and 28y
  • Weight: Average weight900-1,100 pounds
  • Height: 16 hands (64 inches, or 163 cm)
  • Price: Between $100,000 and $300,000

American Paint

Horseback riding is a popular activity in America. The American Paint Horse makes for an excellent horse to ride for beginners. 

They are known for their intelligent, gentle, and athletic nature, making them ideal horses for beginners or experienced riders alike.

The American Paint Horse is an athletic horse that excels at trail riding and endurance racing. They are also used as show horses because of their friendly disposition.

  • Speed: 55-60 mph
  • Origin: United States
  • Colors: Chestnut, black, palomino, gray, buckskin, and blue roan.
  • Cost: Between $1,000 and $5,000 on average.
  • Height: 14 hands (56 in) and 16 hands (64 in) on average
  • Weight: 950 to 1,200 pounds

Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a breed of horse that was developed in the Appalachian Mountains. They are known for their calm nature, athleticism, and jumping ability. Ideal for beginners who find the best riding horses the first time.

Their smooth gait makes them ideal for riding activities such as English or Western competitions, trail rides, or just pleasure hanging with friends and family.

  • Cost: around $1,000 to $10,000
  • Colors: Palomino, gray, perlino, cremello, white, chestnut, roan, black, champagne, dun, grullo, brown, and buckskin.
  • Height: 13 hands (52 inches) to 16 hands (64 inches)
  • Weight: 950 to 1,200 pounds
  • Lifespan: 25 to 30 years

Horseback riding for beginners 5 vital tips

If you are new or have never ridden a horse before, you must understand how to ride them properly. Without the proper knowledge of what to do, you could be putting yourself at risk for injury. Here are 5 vital tips for beginners-

  1. Find a reputable equestrian center near you and take lessons from them so they can teach you the basics of horseback riding.
  2. Start on a smaller horse with less energy – Bigger horses have more power than smaller ones, so it’s best to start as small as possible before moving up in size as your skills improve over time. 
  3. Try on different shoes until you find one that feels comfortable and has enough grip (you don’t want your feet slipping). 
  4. Practice by walking around with both hands on the reins as if there were no saddle or stirrups. 
  5. Wear clothing appropriate for your level of skill – i.e., long pants and closed-toe shoes for beginner riders; whole body.

Horseback riding lessons for beginners

Horseback riding lessons for beginners
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There are many different types of horse riding that you can do when learning how to ride horses. 

You may choose between English or Western styles depending on what you are looking for. 

If you haven’t ever ridden a horse, it might be best to start with the English style, which focuses more on formality and control over your mount. 

On the other hand, if you have some experience under your belt already, then perhaps trying out Western would be better suited for you since it gives you more freedom with less focus on formality or etiquette.

Important things to know before you ride a horse for the first time


The first step in mounting a horse is to get into the stirrups. To do this, you must take your right foot and place it in the left stirrup while balancing on your left leg. 

Swing your right leg over the saddle and slide your butt onto the front of the saddle with both feet still firmly inside of their respective stirrups.

Using the Reins:

The reins are an essential part of horse riding. Without them, it would be impossible to control the horse when they are in motion.

You can use your hands to steer and encourage a horse’s movements through various techniques such as pulling back on the reins or using pressure with your fingers. 

The way you hold your reins will depend on what type of ride you’re doing. For example, when riding at a trot, riders use one hand to guide the motions while keeping their other hand free for balance purposes.

If you want to go into a full gallop, then both hands need to be used because there is no time in that situation for any mistakes!

You also have different types of reins, including long ones, which allow more freedom.

Changing Speeds:

When a rider is just beginning to learn how to ride a horse, the main focus of their training should be on safety and comfort. This means that when you are learning how to ride your horse, it may be best for you to start at a walking pace.

Once you have been riding comfortably at this slow speed for some time, then there’s nothing wrong with trying out faster speeds.

In fact, if you try going from walking straight to galloping without building up your speed slowly over time, then it could end in disaster!

  • Make sure the horse is well-rested
  • Check the saddle for any damage or wear, and make sure it’s appropriately fitted to the horse
  • Get a new bridle if your current one is causing discomfort or pain
  • Keep an eye on the amount of feed your horse eats – too much can cause weight gain, which leads to slower speeds
  • When trotting, keep your seat soft and light so that you don’t put too much pressure on the animal’s back 
  • If you’re riding uphill, shift all of your weight onto your stirrups rather than pulling up with your reins

Calm Down

how to calm down horse during riding
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  • When riding a horse, be aware of the signs that it is becoming agitated.
  • If you are unsure what to do, get off the horse and try to calm him down by talking calmly or patting him on his neck.
  • If this does not work, take your handkerchief out of your pocket and hold it in front of the horse’s nose while speaking soothingly.
  • The smell will help calm him down.
  • Once he has calmed down, put the handkerchief back into your pocket for safekeeping.
  • Continue with your ride as usual but keep an eye out for any other signs that he may become agitated again so you can stop if necessary.

Horses are sensitive animals who have feelings just as humans do – sometimes they need some time away from being ridden too much before returning to the saddle.

Dismounting the Horse

The rider should always dismount from the horse in a way that doesn’t scare or endanger it. For example, a wrong way to get off the horse is by jumping off its back, resulting in injury for both the rider and the horse. One good way to get off of a saddle is to take your foot out of one stirrup while using your free hand to hold onto the reins.

The other option is stepping down on one side of the saddle with your opposite foot, then swinging up and over, holding onto both reins while you put your foot into its stirrup. To ensure you don’t fall when getting off, be sure not to lean too far forward or backward when dismounting.

Horseback riding gear for beginners

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There are a few essentials that will make your first time at the stables more enjoyable and safer. This type of equipment beginners should have when they go out on their first ride.

Safety Gear

One way to stay safe while horseback riding is by using the right equipment. Here are some important pieces of horseback riding safety equipment that you should always carry with you when you ride your horse.

  • Helmet
  • Safety Vest

Riding Clothes & Shoes

There are a lot of different types of horseback riding clothes out there. It can be difficult to know what the best options are, but I’m here to help! There’s more than one type of helmet, for example. You might want to look into wearing gloves if you plan on getting very close with your horse.” 

“Some riders prefer breeches and boots because they keep them warmer in cold weather. Others will wear jeans or cargo pants instead, which offer less protection from the elements.” “You’ll also need a shirt or jacket made specifically for riding – sometimes called jodhpurs.”

Riding Tack List

Horse riding tack is the equipment that a horse wears to ensure that they are safe and comfortable when ridden. There are many different styles of tack that can be used for various purposes such as-

  • Bridle
  • Saddle
  • Bit 
  • Reins
  • Saddle Pad 
  • Fly spray
  • Horse blanket
  • First aid kit
  • Girth
  • Grooming Tools
  • Cross-Ties
  • Lead Rope

As a horse owner, you should also have this type of kit to take care of your horse.

Grooming kit for horse

Horse grooming kits are a great way to ensure your horse is always looking and feeling its best. You can find many different types of kits, but the most common type contains-

  • Rubber curry comb or pair of grooming gloves.
  • Hoof pick that ends with brush
  • Equine hair detangler.
  • Body brush
  • Equine dry shampoo.
  • Washcloths/grooming rags.
  • Equine coat conditioner.
  • Human hairbrush

Feeding & Care

The horse is a beautiful, powerful animal. It is important to feed the horse correctly to keep them healthy and happy! Horse owners should be aware of how much food their horse needs, what types of food are best for the specific breed, and when it’s time to go on a diet.

  • Bedding
  • Buckets for water and food
  • Treats (Please!)
  • Food of choice
  • Supplements
  • Water Heater or Heated Bucket/Trough, if weather reaches freezing temps.
  • Outdoor Broom
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Pitchfork
  • Manure Fork
  • Horse Blanket
  • Fly Sheet

Emergency Kit

Whether riding your horse for pleasure or in an emergency, it is always best to be prepared. When something goes wrong with your horse, the last thing you want to do is wait around and hope that someone comes along.

If you have a few key items stashed away in a bag on your saddle horn, then when emergencies arise, you will be able to provide the care needed until help arrives.

  • Emergency Phone Number for Vet
  • This can be diapers, cotton gauze, or any other type of absorbent first aid padding.
  • Ointment Antibacterial
  • Stable Wraps
  • Scissor
  • Thermometer
  • Zinc Oxide Cream, Salt & Self Adhesive Bandages
  • New Gloves
  • Medical Tape
  • Tweezers Large Size

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What should a beginner horse rider learn?

Proper attire for horseback riding. How to mount and dismount a horse? Basic safety guidelines when on the ground with horses (how to avoid being kicked).

The different gaits of horses, including walk, trot, canter, gallop. How to groom your horse correctly? What are some common injuries that happen while riding a horse, and how do you prevent them from happening again in the future?

What should you not do while riding a horse?

Don’t ride the horse backward. Don’t ever try to jump over a fence – you can injure yourself and your horse. Pay attention to getting too close to the edge of a cliff or steep drop-off, as That’s easy for you and your horse to fall. 

Avoid riding in very hot weather because horses are sensitive animals that can quickly get heat stroke if they’re overexposed to extreme temperatures for too long.

If there is an obstacle like a tree branch blocking your path, don’t use the whip on your horse – instead, stop and go around it or move off course until you find another route that will work with both of you safely. 

Never hit or kick your horse while riding them; this could injure both parties involved.

What should a first-time horse owner know?

A first-time horse owner has a lot of hard work ahead of them. They have to learn how to care for the animal properly, and they have to find out what it takes to maintain their own horses.

How long does it take to learn to ride a horse?

Learning about riding is one of the most exciting things you can do in life. It’s exhilarating, challenging, and rewarding. Some people think that riding horses only happens in movies or on days when they’re feeling particularly whimsical, but with hard work and dedication, it is something that anyone can learn within a reasonable amount of time.  

Before learning how to ride through, there are some essential factors to keep in mind; where will you be taking lessons? What sort of instruction will you receive?

Will your instructor have the necessary credentials? 

These are all important questions to ask ahead of time embarking on this journey, so please make sure to consider them before deciding whether or not it’s right for you!

Can you teach yourself to ride a horse?

There are many different ways to learn how to ride a horse. Some people choose to take lessons, while others prefer the self-teaching method. There are some things that you can’t teach yourself, such as proper riding posture and balance; there is enough information available today than in years past.


Horseback riding is a great way to get outside and enjoy the country air while getting in some exercise. When looking for horseback riding lessons, make sure that you find an instructor who has experience with beginners.

The final thing you want to do is spend your first few rides clinging onto the saddle because of fear or inexperience! Ask questions about their teaching style before signing up so that you can know if they will be able to teach someone just starting how to ride correctly.

There’s nothing more frustrating than having no control over where your horse takes you on the trail because it feels like he doesn’t understand what commands mean or pay attention when given direction.

We hope you find this blog helpful!

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