How to Be a Good Horse Rider

Everyone can learn to ride, but does this make you a good rider? It is not an easy thing to master, but once you learn it, you will have an amazing feeling! Follow these steps to become the next Ellen Whitaker!


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    Stand at the horse's near side (their left), and put your left foot in the stirrup. Place one hand on either the withers or the front of the saddle and the other on the back of the saddle (and don't forget to take hold of the reins) and swing your right leg over. Try not to kneel on the horse! Before you mount, check that your girth is tightened, so you can fit one or no fingers between the horse and the girth; you don't want the saddle to come sliding off when you try to mount!
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    Make sure your stirrups are even and the right size. Sit right in the middle of the saddle and shorten your reins. Push your heels down and keep your chin up and look forward.
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    Now it's time to walk on. Squeeze with your legs, or if your horse is a little lazy, give him a small kick. Try to keep your hands still, because you might accidentally pull him to much to the left or right. Remember not to rest your hands on the horse's neck!
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    When your horse is warmed up, you can trot on! First squeeze, and if he doesn't respond give him kick or, if it is necessary, a small whip. Don't post until your horse is in full trot. Then start to rise.
    • When you are going down, go gently, so not to pound down on the horse. Once you have a rhythm, double check your diagonals. To do this you have to look down at the inside forefoot (when you are riding a circle, the front leg on the inside of the circle) and make you sure this leg is in front of the horse when your bum is touching the saddle. If you are doing the opposite and your bum touches the saddle whilst this leg is behind the horse's head you need to sit for an extra beat to correct it (sit down for two beats instead of one). You should check your diagonal every time you change the rein you are riding. So the when you change the rein (go around the circle the other way round) you have to again sit for an extra beat. This ensures you look like you know what you are doing as those who are advanced in horse riding would be the only ones too know this.
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    When you want to canter, put your outside leg back and squeeze and make a kissing sound. If there is no response, kick, then tap him with a whip. Make sure he canters on the right leg.
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    Try to understand your horse. See the world from his/her point of view. Imagine having a bit in your mouth. This will make you think of horses in a different way.
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    Take time to 'bond' with the horse you are riding. Always groom him yourself, and give them extra attention. Treats are good too, but only healthy ones, and don't give him too many, or he'll demand them all the time. Remember horses are living creatures, so you should respect them. Also when you are riding your horse, every so often give him a gentle pat on the neck- this tells the horse that he is doing something well or right and is a way of praising/giving affection to your horse.
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    Be gentle. Remember to first squeeze, then make a clicking noise with your tongue, then kick. Only use a whip as a last resort. Horses are willing to please if you know how to ask them correctly.


  • Always sit deep in the saddle with a straight back, heels down, and toes in.
  • If a horse isn't responding to you, don't go crazy kicking and whipping him/her. Instead, sit without doing anything for a moment, then give one clear instruction. Repeat until the horse responds correctly.
  • Try to be relaxed. If you feel nervous, then the horse will become nervous also.
  • Be firm but kind with your riding.
  • Gentleness comes from the heart, not the hands!
  • Let the horse know who's boss, but do so in the kindest and gentlest way possible.
  • You have to be gentle with a horse and you need to focus on what you are doing.
  • Try to move around in the saddle when you first get on. It will help you relax.
  • When riding a circle or turning to a jump make sure you look round the circle or straight forward at the jump. This is basically planning where you want your horse to go.- Making you look very formal and a organised as a rider.
  • When riding saddle seat the best way to steer is by shifting your weight. Don't rely on the reins for anything.
  • Sit up nice and tall and concentrate. Don't slouch on the horse.


  • If you are giving treats to a horse, don't overdo it. The horse won't respect you any more for it, and it may feel sick afterwards. He might also try to nip and bite if you don't give him anything.
  • Never walk behind the horses bum, always in front past the head. This is to ensure you do not get kicked.

Things You'll Need

  • A horse that has been broken in. ( A horse over 3 years old that has been trained by a horse trainer to respond to the riders stop, start and turn signals )
  • A saddle, girth and a numnah or saddle pad/cloth
  • A bridle with a bit and reins ( the bit is optional, depending on the horses behaviour )
  • An indoor/outdoor arena or a wide open space.

Article Info

Categories: Riding