Horse riding is loads of fun and excitement, but it can also be a little scary, especially if it is your first time on the back of a 1/2 ton animal. With a little education and insight, however, you should be ready to embark on your new adventure with the proper ratio of respect and excitement! Below are some basic horse riding tips to help you prepare for your vacation at Black Mountain Colorado Dude Ranch.
Horses are extremely sensitive creatures who pick up on their rider’s anxieties. They assume if their rider is nervous or anxious that there must be a reason for them to be as well. Therefore, it is important to remain calm and relaxed around them, both on the ground as well as in the saddle.
Horses naturally move away from pressure. This means that it is important for you to maintain a proper “seat” in the saddle and that your legs be properly positioned for the movement (or lack of movement) you desire. A common mistake made by novice horsemen is to tighten the legs around a horse’s barrel and then to lean in on his neck to try to feel more secure on the animal. This, unfortunately usually ends in the horse doing the exact opposite of what is desired by the anxious rider—running! While any good stable line horse has undoubtedly encountered many novice riders in his day, the horse in this scenario is only doing exactly what his rider told him to do (by the applied leg and body leaning posture)—run. This is why race horse jockeys lean low down and forward over their mount’s neck. The proper position for a rider (unless you really do want your horse to move out faster) is to sit straight up in the saddle with the soles of your feet planted firmly in the stirrups with heels down. Think in terms of making a straight vertical line starting with your ears and working down through your shoulders, hips and ending at your heels. This posture will not only help your horse to relax and keep a slow and steady pace, but will help you to have an enjoyable and comfortable horse riding experience while you enjoy the beauty of our scenic ranch!
Contact us for more tips on horsemanship and what other wonderful adventures you can expect on your vacation at Black Mountain Colorado Dude Ranch. Check out what a sample week on our dude ranch looks like!
Oh, and don’t worry if you forget these tips. Our helpful and knowledgeable staff are there to help and support you all the way!