How to learn to ride a horse

The latest data provided by the Consejo Superior de Deportes show that in Spain there are more than 68,000 people federated in the sport of equestrianism. However, this figure is infinitely lower than the number of men and women who are closely related to the equestrian world. It is not necessary to be a member of a federation to learn to ride a horse, although it is an essential requirement to obtain a federative license to take part in competitions in this sport.

At SLAM International we have this modality, horse riding, one of our main sporting activities. And it should be noted that in the world of horses and competition we can distinguish two different concepts: horsemanship, which is the ability of the rider to ride a horse, and equestrianism, which is a sporting discipline based on horse racing.

Equestrianism includes dressage, cowboy dressage and show jumping. Endurance, for example, is more closely linked to the equestrian phenomenon. In any case, in equestrianism, dressage, show jumping and eventing are Olympic disciplines, all of them in individual and team categories, for both men and women.

What to consider before riding

Having summarised the whole universe of concepts, the first thing you need to learn to get started in this world is to know how to ride a horse. All the instructors make a number of recommendations, the most important of which are as follows:

  • It is essential to choose a good professional to teach the basic lessons, to trust him and to pay attention to his indications.
  • Never be in a hurry. Riding a horse is an activity that you learn little by little. You will not be able to gallop from day one or have complete control of the horse with just a few hours of training.
  • It is essential to always wear a helmet. This is the main safety element, as it prevents serious damage to the head in the event of a fall. It is also compulsory for children.
  • The horse must be treated firmly, but not aggressively. It is a living being that deserves affection and respect. In addition, if we have a pleasant attitude towards it, we will prevent it from having unexpected reactions.
  • Riding a horse makes it necessary to be calm and serene. It is advisable not to pull too much on the reins or make sudden movements that frighten the animal.
    Start riding on animals that are docile and calm. And, if possible, try several horses, as each one can teach you different things.
  • Don’t be afraid and trust your instructor. If your instructor believes that you are sufficiently prepared to get on the back of an animal, do it with determination and confidence. Fear is always a brake on your potential as a horseman.

What are the benefits of horse riding?

Many people want to ride horses for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is family tradition, but there is also the love of these animals or the benefits that come with this practice. And it is precisely here that we want to focus on the positive aspects of horse riding.

  • Horse riding invites you to feel love for animals and nature. It is an activity that can be used for sport, protection in the State Security Forces, in rural and nature tourism or in the world of faith, with a multitude of pilgrimages.
  • Horse riding reduces stress, activates the creative side of the brain and stimulates serotonin.
  • It improves coordination and reflexes, while strengthening character and discipline.
  • It promotes a healthy lifestyle with benefits for physical, psychological and cognitive abilities.

Tips for safe horse riding

Now that we know what to do before taking up horse riding or riding, and what the benefits of these activities are, it is time to find out how to ride a horse and what steps to follow.

The previous recommendations serve as a prelude, so that once they have been internalised, more advanced ones must be put into practice. So, in addition to following your instructor’s instructions, riding safely, protecting yourself with a helmet and starting with docile horses, try to keep a minimum distance from other people if you are riding in a group.

Don’t forget to periodically check all harnesses before riding: reins, girths, saddles, bridles… to avoid falling into danger during your riding session. Use the right equipment, with non-slip shoes, and learn how to dismount in an emergency.

Another interesting point is to always be attentive to the horse’s movements and master the technique in case you fall, to avoid further damage. Finally, always keep a calm attitude so that the animal does not make movements that are difficult for you to control.

All these lessons, and many more, can be put into practice at SLAM International, where we offer you excellent facilities for acquiring skills in this sport. At the same time, we offer the possibility of acquiring the qualifications of gallops approved by the Federation of Castilla y León, with theoretical and practical training.

We currently have an area of 110 hectares with riding arenas, tracks and boxes in which up to 116 horses can be concentrated. And all this in an area of incomparable beauty, the Sierra de Guadarrama.

If you want to learn how to ride a horse, the steps to follow are clear: get advice from trained and experienced instructors, understand that this is not a quick task and requires patience and, finally, show passion for the animals and a lot of respect for this activity.