When you first get in the saddle, it is always important first to arrange your hands, feet, and seat correctly in the saddle so that you can feel secure and communicate effectively with your horse. I always find it interesting when a new rider gets in the saddle the first time to see how they hold the reins and position their body in the saddle. I’ve seen some interesting things!😂
In this weeks video, I’m taking you through some of the most common mistakes beginners make so that you can be aware of and avoid them!
- The Reins: Almost every person who gets on a horse for the first time tries to hold the reins over to underhand like you might hold a rope. But if we hold the reins like this, the only way we can give any aids is by using our elbows. The correct method (it’s demonstrated in detail in the video) allows us to be much more nuanced with our communication and talk to our horse softly.
- The Stirrups: Stirrups are important to allow us to hold some of the weight of our bodies in our feet and also for anchoring us and providing balance, but many riders place the foot too far into the stirrup or not far enough in! The ball of our foot needs to sit gently on the bar of the stirrup at a 90-degree angle from the horse’s side. You also should always ride in a slightly heeled boot to prevent your foot from going all the way through the stirrup (this is extremely dangerous in the event of a fall!!).
- Body Position: When humans are nervous or scared, it’s our natural instinct to try and curl up into a ball in the fetal position. So when you see a beginner rider who is nervous or when a horse maybe goes a little too fast for the rider, they’re always hunching forward! Do not lean forward, it’s dangerous! If the horse does anything untoward, you will almost always fall off as your weight is top heavy and unstable. When you are riding, it is important to maintain a neutral spine and be able to drop an imaginary plumb line from your ear, shoulder, hip, and heel.
These are the three main points for beginners to be hyper-aware of when just getting into the saddle.
It’s important to remember that even though you might be super excited to get going with your horse riding journey, take it slow and in baby steps. Get lessons, get someone to lead you, get someone to lunge you. Learn things the right way and slowly! If you have a bad experience, it could put you off forever but if you build skill and confidence the right way, you are looking forward to a lifetime of the most rewarding activity on the planet!
Check out the video where I go on to give a demonstration of turning and stopping for the beginner rider and let me know if you find it helpful!