Have you always dreamed of riding horses but been afraid to try? Can you visualize yourself riding a beautiful animal down forest paths? If so, start by learning the basics of horseback riding.

You can enjoy many benefits from horseback riding. Horseback riding is good exercise, strengthening your core and burning calories. It can also help your mood–many people find that riding leaves them relaxed and happy, both because they get to communicate with an animal, and because they spend time outside in a natural setting.

Horseback riding looks complicated, but the basic techniques can be learned quickly. Read on to learn some tips on horse riding for beginners.

Basics of Horse Riding for Beginners

When you start riding, you will need to learn how to mount, dismount, and communicate with the horse.

Mount and Dismount

To mount a horse, use the stirrup and swing a leg over the back of the horse. If the horse is so tall you can’t do this comfortably, use a mounting block to mount and dismount. Have someone hold the horse for you if you’re not comfortable mounting and dismounting by yourself.

Riders typically mount and dismount from the left side of the horse.

Sit With Good Posture

Keep your shoulders, hips, and legs in a straight line. This will help you control the horse and keep your balance.


To make the horse move forward, squeeze the horse’s side with your legs, give the horse a tap with your legs, or click your tongue to signal the horse. Start with small signals and increase if necessary.


Use the reins to steer the horse. Pull the reins gently to turn the horse’s head in the direction you would like to go.


To stop the horse, pull gently back on the reins and say “Woah.” Release the pressure as the horse stops.

Take Riding Lessons

While the basics of horseback riding are pretty straightforward, it’s a good idea to take horse riding lessons. Seeing someone demonstrate the right posture and horse riding techniques will help you learn faster. An instructor can also monitor how the horse is reacting.

Horse Riding Gear for Beginners

You must wear a helmet when horseback riding to protect your head if you fall or hit your head. Don’t bring a bike helmet–it’s designed to protect the top of the head, while a riding helmet covers all sides. Instead, look for a helmet certified by the American Medical Equestrian Association.

You’ll also need the right kind of boots. Wear sturdy boots that have a distinct heel. Avoid boots that are too wide, so that your feet don’t get stuck in the stirrups.

If you keep riding, you may want to buy your own saddle pad. Saddle pads come in different thicknesses and levels of softness, so check out these helpful tips from countryandstable.com when you choose your gear.

Enjoy Horse Riding

It doesn’t take long to learn and practice the basics of horse riding for beginners. When you find a horse to ride, a good instructor, and the right gear, you can start riding almost immediately. You’ll enjoy taking a quiet horseback walk outside, and it might be the start of a lifelong passion.

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