How to Ride a Difficult Horse or Pony

Four Parts:Getting StartedTrottingCanteringDoing Repeated Practices

Are you nervous about riding a new horse? Maybe you've been told they were a difficult horse to ride, or that they do something you aren't used to. As a rider, you want to get your technique right and approach a potentially difficult animal with care.

Part 1
Getting Started

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    Make sure you have a good position. If you are an experienced rider, you should be able to maintain proper position. The same can't be said for people who are just beginning to ride. The key for this is sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, and keep your heels down! Pulling your heels up to become more stable is actually a bad mistake. When you do that, it encourages the horse to go faster. Don't rely on your heels, use your thighs and knees to stay on. It won't encourage the horse to go faster.
    • Keep your toes forward.
    • Heels down.
    • Shoulders back.
    • Sit straight up.
    • Grip with thighs and not your heels.
    • Keep your center of balance (shoulders, hips, and heels align).
    • Try to go stirrup-less with the horse you have been riding before, just in case you lose a stirrup.
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    Walk the horse first. Does s/he have a fast walk that you cant keep up with, or is s/he dragging behind you? This could potentially tell you if they will be a little jumpy or not.

Part 2

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    Cluck to the horse and see if they respond to that before you kick. If there is no response to clucking, rub your heel on them while clucking. Still no response? Give them a tap (not a kick) with your heel. If they don't respond, kick them and tap their shoulder with the crop.
    • The crop should not move the hair or injure or break the skin under the coat. If that happens, stop using a crop.
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    Make sure you post to the beat of the horse. If your coach or friend tells you to check your diagonal, look at the outside shoulder of the horse. If you are standing when that shoulder is in and sitting when it goes out, sit two beats so that you stand when the shoulder goes out and you sit when it comes in.
    • This can be difficult for you if the horse becomes quick or starts gaining speed. If that happens, pull and release. Don't pull back and just hold it there, or they might stop going all together.

Part 3

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    Gather your reins so that they aren't too loose. Rub your heel by the wall just a little behind the girth and keep your inside leg on the girth. They should go as soon as you do that.
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    Control the horse. When they go, some horses like to gain as much speed as possible during the straight areas (not around bends) so when you feel it get too bouncy or too fast, pull and release on the reins only using your wrist to move. Pull left, release, pull right release; it's pretty much seesawing the reins but to a lesser extent.
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    Once you are ready to stop, lean back a little bit and say "Whoa" or "Ho" in a deep voice. If the horse didn't stop, you should do that again but pull the reins back.

Part 4
Doing Repeated Practices

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    Keep practicing. Even though they may not have been to bad or perky this time, they may have been tired or hot. Ride them a few more times till you move with them and can keep up with the pace. Maybe try jumping with them next time too, if you didn't do that already.
    • If you are jumping with the horse, grab a chunk of their mane and get into two point. Do not get into it early, or they could decide they don't want to jump and you could take care of it alone. Either get into it late or get into it perfectly on time.
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    Have fun while it lasts. You probably won't ride the horse forever, so stick with it as long as you can! Do stirrup-less, wash the horse, fall off a few times, make it worth your wild to ride a perky horse!


  • Falling may result in needing a visit to the hospital, so be careful!

Article Info

Categories: Riding