Tips & Tricks

How To Ride A Horse: Guide For Beginners

how to ride a horse

Riding a horse is an activity that has been around for centuries, and it is still popular today. Horseback riding can be a lot of fun if done correctly and can provide many health benefits as well. It’s important to learn the basics of how to ride a horse before getting on one, and then build up your skills from there. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on riding a horse, as well as some tips on clothing and other basics.

Benefits of Interacting With Horses

Interacting with horses can be extremely beneficial for both physical and mental health. Physically, it helps build strength and balance, as well as improve posture and coordination. Mentally, it helps with calming anxiety, developing personal confidence and self-esteem, and fostering a sense of peace and connection with nature.

Horse Riding Tips on Clothing

When riding a horse, it is important to wear the right kind of clothing for safety. Shoes should have a low heel, preferably rubber or leather soles to provide grip in the stirrups. Jeans should be sturdy and fit snugly, while a long sleeve shirt with an open neck is recommended. A helmet is strongly suggested for any type of riding; it should fit firmly and securely without obstructing vision.

How to Mount and Dismount a Horse


No matter your skill level, mounting and dismounting a horse correctly is an important part of learning how to ride a horse. Here are some tips on mounting and dismounting safely:


  1. Approach the horse from the left side and hold the reins in your left hand. Make sure the horse is standing still and calm before you begin.
  2. Grasp the stirrup with your right hand and place your left foot in the stirrup.
  3. Use your right hand on the rear of the saddle and your left hand on the saddle horn to steady yourself as you swing your right leg up and over the horse’s the horse’s back.
  4. As you swing your leg over, gently lower yourself into the saddle.
  5. Bring your right foot up and place it in the other stirrup.
  6. Adjust your stirrups and reins as necessary.


  1. Stop the horse and bring it to a complete halt.
  2. Remove your right foot from the stirrup.
  3. Swing your right leg back over the horse’s back and slide down gently, landing on both feet.
  4. Hold onto the reins with your left hand as you dismount.
  5. Move away from the horse’s side so that you’re not in danger of being kicked.

Horse Basics

Knowing the basics of how to ride a horse is essential for any beginner. Riding a horse requires coordination, balance, and control. Here are some basic steps to help you ride a horse with the right foot, seat, and reins:

  • Proper Seat: Your seat should be balanced and secure in the saddle, with your weight evenly distributed on both seat bones. Keep your feet in the stirrups with your heels down and your toes pointing slightly outward. Sit tall with your shoulders back and your head up.
  • Reins: Hold the reins in both hands, with your hands positioned about six inches above the withers. Use your fingers to grasp the reins lightly, with your thumb on top. Keep your elbows relaxed and close to your body.
  • Moving the Horse: To move the horse forward, squeeze your legs gently against the horse’s sides. You can use your heels or calves to do this. Keep your upper body still and balanced. To stop the horse, gently pull back on the reins while simultaneously using your seat to slow down your horse.
  • Turning the Horse: To turn the horse, use your reins to guide the horse in the desired direction. For example, if you want to turn left, gently pull back on the left rein while simultaneously pushing forward with your right leg. Keep your upper body still and balanced during the turn.
  • Posting: Posting is a way of rising and sitting in rhythm with the horse’s trot. To do this, rise up out of the saddle as the horse’s front legs come forward, and then sit back down as the horse’s back legs come forward. Keep your balance and keep your heels down.

How to Ride a Horse at the Walk 

Walking is the most basic form of horse riding, and it’s a great way for beginners to get comfortable with the act of riding. When walking, your horse should move forward in a steady rhythm at a reasonable speed (without rushing or plodding). You’ll use your legs and seat to communicate with your horse while using light contact on the reins.

Start by gently squeezing your legs on either side of the horse’s body to cue it forward, keeping your weight balanced and centered in the saddle. You should be able to feel both sides of the horse equally as you move with its rhythm. If you need to change direction or slow down your horse, use light contact on the reins and your voice to give cues.

How to Ride a Horse at a Trot

The next step to learning how to ride a horse is the trot. This is a two-beat gait that can be used for long periods of time or short bursts of speed. To start, use your legs and seat to cue the horse into a gentle trot. Use vertical flexion with your lower leg and squeeze with your thighs to ask the horse for speed. Don’t forget to keep your upper body still and balanced. As you gain confidence, try using a posting trot. This means rising up in the saddle with each stride of the horse’s front legs, then sitting back down as its hind legs hit the ground.

How to Ride a Horse at a Gallop

Galloping is the fastest gait a horse can do, and learning to ride at this speed requires practice and skill. Start by teaching your horse how to gallop in small circles or in a straight line. As you gain confidence, try riding on long lines in an oval pattern. Use vertical flexion with your lower leg and squeeze with your inner thighs to help the horse maintain its balance and rhythm. As you become more comfortable, lean slightly forward and relaxed to match the speed of the gallop. When it’s time to slow down, use your reins and sit deep into the saddle.

Where to Learn How to Ride a Horse

If you’re a beginner, learning to ride can seem intimidating. But with the right guidance and instruction, it is possible to learn how to ride a horse safely and confidently. Finding a qualified instructor is key. Look for someone who has experience teaching adults, children, or those with disabilities, if applicable. You might want to consider taking lessons from a riding school or joining a local equestrian club. These resources can provide you with hands-on experience in the saddle and instruction on basic horsemanship skills.


Overall, horse riding is a great activity to do and offers several benefits both physical and mental. It is important to remember that safety should always be the first priority when working with horses. Be sure to dress comfortably, practice good communication, and take your time while learning how to ride a horse. With patience and practice, anyone can become an experienced horse rider.

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