5 Ways to Improve Your Riding

No rider is perfect and we can all do with slight improvements. Here are a few tips to think about when you next jump onto the horse.

  1. Be Confident

Fear and anxiety is the largest barrier to any riders success. Is that fence is too high or that horse a little too spooky? When the rider is nervous and tense so is their body language. The horse feels this and it only makes them nervous and more likely to spook or refuse at a jump.

This is also reflected in relaxed breathing, if your breathing is slow and steady so the horse will feel this and slow down. If you breathing is sharp or you hold your breath this is likely to make the horse increase in speed or loose contact with its rider. Fear and apprehension can greatly affect a riders ability. Why not try exhaling from trot? you will find this is actually a cue for your pony/horse to slow down.

  1. Body Control 

It is important to strengthen your position by carrying yourself and not leaning on the reins. Control your body, sit deep into the saddle and maintain your position through your stomach muscles. Looking down physically alters your balance, ensure you look straight ahead and your shoulders and neck should fall into a nice line and hold your body in the correct posture.  Try working on transitions by keeping your upper body still, this ensures you do not lean on the reins for support or pull on the horses mouth. Riding is a excersise for your whole body and mind.

     3. Use of Voice

Horses are sensitive to sounds of all kinds. Maximise your aids by the use of voice and tone of voice to praise your horse. Most horses recognise the basic vocal tones and some even ‘walk’ ‘trot’ ‘canter’. Therefore it is a good aid for clearly expressing what you wish. If you are consistent with this, horses are very fast learners and will pick the vocal cues quickly.

  1. Remember Your Riding a Horse

Remember horses are all different. They are flight animals, a vulnerable animal evolved to be hunted to death in open country. This has produced an animal that runs fast and thinks later. A horse can run from 0-30 mph in up to five seconds when it feels it is in serious danger, with an animal that weighs half a ton. This is a rather terrifying thought in reality?

As herd animals, horses are meant to be followers and not leaders. Therefore they are better in company. It is important to take up the role as herd leader. Ensure your horse expects you, does not barge or try to bite you. When you are riding your horse will rely on you for security and support. Remember to take the lead as a rider, being kind, calm and firm. This will help when your horse is nervous or nappy as it will look to you for guidance and as a leader they will trust you.

  1. Help your Horse with its problems

Remember you are riding a live animal. Horses themselves have their own issues and hang-ups, which affect them. Think about helping your horse and this will automatically improve your riding. Some horses are inconsistent in their work, some are very stiff or very sensitive. Is your horse nervous or stroppy? What if your horse is unfit or even too fit for your riding level?

Considering these factors will vastly improve your riding as you become more aware and understanding to each horses individual needs. This helps to improve you and the horses relationship and the way which you ride the horse. A horse is always testing the bit and checking what sort of rider you are.

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Any Comments or Questions

Keep Calm and Ride On x0x0

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