5 Tips for New Riders
It’s always exciting when someone comes to the ranch for a first lesson. While it’s important to show up with curiosity and a sense of excitement, it’s important to realize that horses aren’t people. They think differently and from the moment they see you, horses are trying to figure out what you’re all about.
Here are some tips to help you fully enjoy your first experience with horses.
- Realize that horses are authentic. They’re asking you to be present. They aren’t listening to your words; they’re trying to figure out what we want from them. They have a language of their own and it’s important to take the time to learn about the cues they constantly send.
- Before you get on the horse, you need to understand how to ride with purpose. This means having the ability to take charge and knowing what you want from the horse. If you don’t do this, if there is any form of hesitation, typically, the horse will take charge. You don’t want this to happen.
- When you sit on the horse, the first thing you need to do is find your seat and breathe. Your horse is paying attention to your breathing, trying to determine if you are nervous and afraid or quiet and confident. Your breath is a form of communication to the horse. If you take a breath and sigh, the horse will read this as a sign that you are relaxed. It may also mirror your actions.
- Always be acutely aware of the dialogue between you and the horse. You ask and wait for the correct response–typically 3 seconds. For example, if you ask the horse to back up and it refuses after the count of 3 you have to add correct pressure. As soon as the horse makes an attempt to back up you must release. The horse learns in the release of pressure.
- Take your time and develop your communication skills with your horse. Patience and persistence is the key to building trust with your horse.