Riding instructions for absolute beginners

If you want riding tips during the trek our guides will be happy to help. There are many different styles of riding and we usually advise that the first rule is to keep the horse between you and the ground. These tips won't make you an experienced rider, but will keep you safe and give you some feeling of being in control.

How to sit

Most beginners just sit in the saddle, like they would sit in a chair, and that’s OK. However there’s a balanced position that you can practice in your home. Stand up straight, with your feet about shoulder width apart. Now bend your knees in a bit of a squat to bring your seat closer to your heels. Don’t stick your bum out or lean forward. Now without moving anything else, gently sway your hips forwards and backwards, and feel how your weight is still evenly balanced over your feet. To make it feel even more real, place a book under the toes of each foot, and feel how your weight shifts to your heels. Now try that on a horse. 

Where your feet go

The ball of your foot should be on the stirrup iron, try to have your heel lower than your toes. For safety reasons don’t push your feet a long way into the stirrups in case they get stuck there. Strange as it sounds the stirrup irons are actually there to keep your toes higher than your heels.

Steering

The reins are for steering, having one in each hand gives you more control. Your horse needs to stretch its head out for balance on the hills, so keep the reins loose unless steering or stopping. Keep your hands low near the saddle, not up in the air like you are flying a kite.

To go

The amount of effort depends on the sensitivity of the horse. Our horses that are ridden by beginners are less sensitive, which stops them running off at the slightest go signal, which we find suits most of our customers. Press your calves or heels into the horses side, and if necessary kick with your heels, and keep kicking until they start to move, and then stop kicking.

To stop

Sit down hard in the saddle and pull your hands towards you keeping them low and aiming for your hips. Pull just hard enough to ask the horse to stop or slow down, and release the pressure when she obeys.

On a hill

To keep your balance on the hills, and make it easier for the horse, lean forward going uphill and lean back going downhill. Getting this the wrong way around will feel like you are going to fall off.