Ride a Horse or Pony

Eventually this article will teach you everything you need to know about riding and taking care of a horse! The current version is limited to a few basic items. Riding is much like all types of dancing, in that you will learn faster with a good instructor.


  1. Find someone experienced to help you choose an appropriate horse. For the beginning rider the horse must already be well trained. For the horse's safety and comfort, it should weigh at least five times as much as the rider.
  2. Make sure the saddle is secure and comfortable on the horse. Mount from the horse's left side, using a mounting block if necessary. You should mount in one motion, without bouncing, and land gently in the saddle.
  3. Hold the reins so you have a good contact with the horse's mouth (but don't pull). Squeeze the horse's sides with your lower legs to get him moving. If the horse is lazy, he may need a crop (a gentle horse whip) to get him moving. A more sensitive or better-trained horse may need just a touch of your lower legs to start moving. Sit up straight, look where you are going, and keep your heels pointed down.Keep the stirrup on the ball of your foot. Do not use the reins for support.
  4. Pull the reins to your bellybutton in the direction you would like the horse to go. Shift your weight in that direction. Don't pull too hard because he might get scared or back up. Do a slight pull, wait a second then gently release.
  5. Gently kick or squeeze the horse to make him Trot a Horse(a trot is also known as jog, and a canter is also known as a lope, in western terms), but remember always start small and gradually get bigger which means starting with a little squeezing then a gentle kick then a slightly bigger kick and so on, BUT stop kicking when he does what you want. Usually western horses use neck rein to steer, which means that they move away from the pressure of the reins on their neck. If you ride English you use direct reining which means you always have contact on the horses mouth but that does not mean always pulling on his mouth.
  6. You should post to the trot when you feel comfortable enough to do so. Posting is done by rising up and down in the saddle in rhythm with the trot. This is also called rising trot. To be on the correct diagonal as you are going through a curved course, you must rise as the horse's outside foreleg moves forward, a little poem to help remember is, you rise and fall with the leg at the wall. In western riding, you do not post the jog. Only when you are in an extended jog, as that is bouncy and very hard to sit. Posting is quite tricky at the beginning and becomes easier when your thighs build up more muscle. Remember, when you rise and fall, do not relax your muscles when falling as you will hurt your horse's back.
  7. To make the horse canter, sit to the trot and put your outside leg back a little, and squeeze. If this does not work, then gently tap or kick your horse with your leg, or lightly tap the horse with a crop. The canter is a three-beat gait, slower then a gallop. Remember when you canter you need to be on the correct lead which means the inside front leg striding or going out father then the other front leg. If you are not on the correct lead, the horse will be unbalanced when going around corners. To change the leading leg, you could either go back to trot and try again until you are on the correct leg, or you could perform a Flying Change, which is a basic dressage moves that you will learn from your trainer as you become a better rider.
  8. Take care not to kick the horse when you Dismount a Horse. Always take both feet out of the stirrups first.


  • If you're new to horseback riding entirely, start with the saddle, as it can be a frightening experience if you have no experience with controlling a horse.
  • Remember, do not rush learning to ride a horse. It takes a lot of time and practice! Be patient and give it time and it will come eventually.
  • for your first lesson, pick a good horse that is gentle and kind.
  • Listen to your trainer.
  • Don’t be disappointed if you fall off. Everyone, even top class eventers fall off every once in a while!
  • Don't be too hasty trying to canter on your first go at riding as it all takes time.
  • You will have to tell the riding school how tall you are and how much you weigh.
  • To go left and right, gently pull the reins left or right, depending on which way you want to go. You can also reinforce the turning with your legs. Squeeze with your left leg to go right, and with your right leg to go left. If this does not work, get your crop and tap the horse gently on the shoulder. To go faster, squeeze with your legs or gently kick. To reinforce, tap on the shoulder with your crop. Do the same for turning (and going backwards, if you ride western).
  • The first time that you canter, you should canter in your half-seat or galloping position. This is when you stand up a little in the saddle, so that you are putting the weight entirely on your legs and not on the saddle, lean over slightly and move your hands farther up the horse’s neck.
  • Ponies or more lazy horses may need more obvious signals.
  • It would help to be forward in your seat while trying to make a horse move.
  • Keep your heels down for balance.
  • All horses are different, so ask an experienced rider from the school or a member of staff to find out which horse is the best one for a beginner to ride.


  • ALWAYS wear protective gear in case of a fall, such as a helmet.
  • If you are new to riding, have an experienced person with you.
  • It is very dangerous to ride a horse that you do not know without a trainer or someone else in the ring. Also, if you have never ridden a horse before, this article doesn't teach everything you need to know about riding! This article just gives you tips. Your real life trainer is the best person to learn from!

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