Horse riding might look easy, but it’s a sport that requires a high level of skill. Even those who have been riding for years have to brush up on their skills every so often to ensure they stay on top of their game.
Here are some top tips on how to improve your horse riding skills. These will work for beginner, intermediate, or advanced riders.
Learn How to Use Every Aid
There are several different aids and accessories that horse riders require. Everything from the saddle to the reins to the rope halters.
Most people are aware of how to use the majority of their aids, but if you want to improve your riding technique, you should learn how to use every single one of them.
Skilled riders are able to use every aid as they ride to correctly steer and direct the horse. If you’re a beginner, you may rely solely on using their reins to ride at first. However, after a while, you should be able to use the seat and leg aids to communicate with your horse.
Work On Your Posture
Posture is of the utmost importance when you’re a keen horse rider. When you’re riding for hours every day, your posture can seriously affect your back health. Make sure you aren’t slouching or excessively rounding your shoulders forward as you ride. Of course, if you want your horse to perform certain movements, you may need to lean forward or twist and turn to communicate properly with it, but if you’re in a leisurely trot or walk for a while, keep your chest lifted and your back straight!
If you struggle with maintaining a good posture, consider working on strengthening your upper back muscles in the gym. There are lots of exercises that target the posterior chain of your body, which will help you to keep your shoulders back.
Strengthen Your Grip
Grip strength is, undoubtedly, one of the most important things to consider as a horseback rider. The reins are one of the key accessories that you will use to communicate with your horse, so having a strong grip can really help you to have more control over your horse’s movements.
There are several gym-based exercises that you can use to help strengthen your grip. Some great options are the deadlift, Farmer’s Walks, and reverse curls. If you don’t have access to a gym, simply carrying heavy buckets and barrels around the stables should help to boost your grip strength.
However, please remember that having a too-strong grip can lead to you pulling the horse’s mouth too hard. Please be aware of this. If you’re struggling with getting the right amount of force in your grip, weave the reins between your thumbs and forefingers, then down into your fists.
Have a Regular Workout Routine
Working out is important for horseback riders to improve strength, stability, balance, stamina, and posture. Enhancing these essential skills through a regular exercise routine will drastically improve your riding abilities.
When you’re in the gym, you should aim to do a mixture of both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training to increase your strength and endurance. You don’t have to use weights if you don’t want to. Bodyweight movements will work just as well!
Find what you enjoy and what works best for you! You may also wish to take up yoga or Pilates to help with your core strength too.
Study Other Riders
Learning from others is key to enhancing your horse riding skills. Study other rider’s methods and techniques, and see how their horses respond to them. By watching lots of other people, you can combine everything you have learned to find the perfect way to ride.
Of course, in today’s technological world, you don’t have to physically be with the rider and their horse to watch them. A quick search online will pull up hundreds of videos that you can watch and learn from to boost your riding skills.
Ask an Experienced Rider to Critique Your Ride
Although it’s not always nice being told what you’re doing wrong, it can be extremely helpful, and it’s absolutely necessary if you want to become the best horse rider you can be. Grab your teacher or a more experienced rider and ask them to critique you. They will have years of knowledge behind them that they can share with you to help improve your technique.