How to Ride a Horse Like a Cowboy

How to ride a horse without looking like a wuss and being laughed at by other cowboys/cowgirls.


  1. Image titled Ride horse Step 1
    Get a horse. Don't get an English type horse (Thoroughbred, Arabian, Saddlebred). You need to get one of the four Western breeds--Quarter Horse, American Paint Horse, Appaloosa, and Mustang. If you have a horse that is more of an English dressage, jumping, and cross country you won't fit in very well at a rodeo. Also, Western horses are a little less fancy and are built for ranch work. Think broad chested, muscular, 'bulldog' looking horses.
  2. Image titled Ride horse Step 2
    Dress right. If you want to be a real cowboy you have to dress like one. The average cowboy or cowgirl's outfit consists of a t-shirt (long-sleeves if you're in a rodeo, it's a requirement), boots, a hat, old blue jeans (most cowboys wear one of the three brands--Levis, Wranglers, or Carhartt), and on occasion spurs or chaps when they're needed. They also wear dusters in the winter and rain ponchos when it's raining.
  3. Image titled Ride horse Step 3
    Get a good saddle and tack. Make sure it's not an English saddle or Australian bush saddle, just like a cowboy needs a Western horse he needs a Western saddle to boot. Make sure you are comfortable sitting in it and that it's sized right for your horses body. Also, you need a halter, lead, bridle, and whatever other accessories it takes to get the job done (example: if you are going to be riding up and down steep hills you'll need a breast collar for your saddle. If you are going to be moving cattle or making fast turns and stops you'll need a billet on your saddle. If you are going to be barrel racing, cutting, team roping etc. your horse will need splint boots). Your tack can't be crappy and falling apart because if you're going to be doing hard work (like a real cowboy) then you don't want your saddle falling apart in mid-gallop.
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    Learn how to ride. If you want to look like a cowboy you need to look like you were born on horseback. You need to be able to ride the roughest gated horse in the pasture but move so smoothly with it's rhythm that you could hold a full glass of water without spilling it. Of course good riding takes practice and you'll probably need to spend a little money on lessons to at least learn the basics. You can't be afraid of horses either. If you're scared to death of them then you might as well give up on ever being a cowboy! Also, you can't hold on to the saddle horse while you're riding. The saddle horn was made for holding a rope. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt if you learned how to rope. Most cowboys know how to toss a rope even if they don't all have real good aim.


  • Listen to country music.
  • You kinda need a Western accent, but if you don't have one then don't try to sound too Western--people will know right away you're a fake. Learn cowboy lingo as well.
  • Be friendly. Cowboys rarely curse or swear and are always kind to the people around them.
  • Stand by your morals. Cowboys don't let others push them around or tell them what's right and wrong. You have to be stubborn. (;


  • If you don't know how to handle a horse then get help from a person with experience. Horses are amazing animals but no matter how tough you are if you have no idea what you're doing, a 1000 pound animal could injure you.
  • NEVER buy belt buckles from other people. If you don't win a belt buckle then too bad. If you show up at a rodeo wearing one that somebody else won you WILL NOT be respected. Trust me. This REALLY annoys rodeo people. Either don't wear a buckle, or wear one that has a horse or other western symbol on it.

Things You'll Need

  • Horse
  • Western Clothes
  • Western Tack

Article Info

Categories: Riding