How to Ride a Horse at a Gallop

Have you seen people riding out the gallop? This high speed is tons of fun for the right rider and the right horse. This article will teach you the western way to do it!


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    Get your fully tacked horse warmed up using a lunge line. A gentle horse is best, but make sure that your horse is in good shape to gallop. If you don't know how to tell if your horse is ready, ask your local vet.
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    Mount your horse, and bring it through every pace, starting with the walk, trot, and lope/canter for a good amount of time.
    • If your horse is not listening to you at each pace, stop your horse, and realize that you should not do a gallop this time, it's too dangerous.
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    Push your horse into the gallop the same way you would at the lope/canter.
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    Make sure that you are not leaning too far back. Your body should be slightly leaned forward, just enough so that the wind does not hold you back.
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    Cut corners a little more then usual, and keep a nice distance from the rail (if you're on a track), so you won't be accidentally rammed into it.
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    Position your legs so that they do not dig into the horse's sides.
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    Enjoy the pace! Many say that they enjoy it more than any other pace. At first it may be a little frightening, but after awhile you'll get the hang of it!
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    Slow your horse down slowly. Do not expect a horse to go straight from a gallop to a walk, go down through each pace, from the gallop, to the canter/lope, to the trot, to the walk.
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    Thoroughly cool down your horse! A gallop is a lot of work for horses, and though they like it, and will probably want to keep that pace, it is not good for them to gallop too much. To check for how 'hot' your horse is, stop your horse, dismount, and feel it's chest. It should be warm, but not hot. If it's still hot, then you need to cool your horse down more.


  • Check the ground - don't go for a gallop if the ground is too hard as this could damage the horses legs. Equally don't gallop on wet ground as the horse will possibly slip.
  • Are you ready to gallop? Do you have a hard time with the trot or lope/canter? If you do, first master the trot and canter, then prepare yourself, because this pace can be scary at first. Do not push yourself, if you feel like you'll fall off, then try it some other time!
  • Really consider if your horse is good to gallop. Are they in shape? Do they sweat a lot? Do they get tired easily? Never push your horse more then they can go.
  • If your horse will want to keep galloping after you have brought him down to a walk, then direction him in circles with your leg and rein cues, and don't forget to tell them "easy..." (this should said slowly).
  • When you stop your horse after a gallop and it still wants to go do not make any rush moves you could get hurt.
  • If you're doing a gallop for the first few times, see if you can use an indoor riding arena. In one of these, both you and your horse shouldn't get spooked, and if you fall off then you'll be less likely to get injured.


  • A horse is unpredictable, if they do not want to stop, start with a large circle and wind your way down to a smaller one. Eventually, the horse will be forced to slow down as he cannot gallop in a small circle.
  • If at any time you want to stop, pull your horse down to a stop. Never push your self. A good way to tell if you are pushing your self is to rate how scared/nervous you are out of ten. A five or up means you should stop, or at least take a break for awhile.

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Categories: Riding