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Horseback riding is an incredible activity with multiple physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Whether you’re picking up horseback riding for the thrill of the competition, or the relaxation of a leisurely trot, riding lessons can be a bit daunting. Most riding establishments offer a variety of lessons from one-on-ones to group lessons. Whatever form you begin with, expect to start with the basics and fundamentals of horseback. After you build a strong foundation, you’ll get to learn all of the exhilarating tricks of the trade.

 If you’ve decided to take the leap, here’s what to expect from your lessons.

The Where

The first several lessons normally take place in a closed pen to ensure safety for both the rider and the horse. The closed pen is used so the horse is not accidentally pushed into a gallop. 

The Who

Typically your first lessons will involve you and your instructor, as well as your faithful steed. A one on one lesson is a bit more popular, due to the comfort of personal instructions. 

The Whats

What to wear: 

Think comfort! It’s recommended that you wear long pants that are soft and comfortable. Avoid shorts, dresses, or skirts when you are first learning how to ride. 

It’s also important that you wear boots with a bit of a heel so your shoe doesn’t slip through your stirrup irons while riding. If you don’t have any boots, try a comfortable pair of sneakers that aren’t completely flat.

What to expect:

Typically, horse riding lessons begin slow and steady. You’ll meet your horse and get comfortable mounting your steed. Only after you’re comfortable mounting will you move onto trotting. Learning to trot can occur within the first or second lesson. The trot is not a fast-paced activity, but is fairly bouncy. Your main focus will be getting used to the rise and fall of the trot. Don’t worry, practice makes perfect!

What you’ll learn:

Like previously mentioned, some of the first skills you will learn are mounting and trotting. Some additional skills that you will learn include:

  • Steering and stopping
  • Controlling your horse
  • Balancing
  • A variety of aids and speeds

If some of the terms used don’t make any sense, don’t worry. You’ll also take the time to learn the equipment and terminology, those tasks are normally mixed in throughout your first few lessons.

What to remember:

Horseback riding is a uniquely personal activity. You’re not only working on your technique, but you’re additionally working in tandem with another living being. Just remember to go at your own pace and relax. Before you know it, you’ll be galloping across the wide-open plains.