There’s a misconception, and certainly antiquated theory, that only young people, and young women in particular, can take up horse riding. In reality, however, horse riding is the kind of exhilarating activity that people of almost any age can enjoy – and even ‘bucket-list’ worthy for most of us.
After all, for most of human history, all of it bar the last 100 years in fact, humans have relied on horses to get from A to… almost anywhere.
So, if you’ve recently been thinking about taking up horse riding, or had a longstanding desire to do so, here are some simple tips for getting started…
To buy or not to buy
If you’re just starting out, this is a no-brainer – don’t buy a horse just yet. When you own a horse, you’re committing to the care of an animal, potentially for decades, and looking at thousands of pounds’ care each and every year. You’ll need to pay for stables, food, veterinary bills, grooming, tack and transport – and you could need horsebox insurance for the last of those, too.
Learn how to ride and look after a horse before jumping into an enormous undertaking you can’t guarantee you’ll manage.
Find the right trainers
Wherever you are in the UK, you’re not going to be too many miles from open stretches of land, and probably an abundance of stables and horse riding facilities, too. Find stables that offer beginners’ training, and get a feel for exactly what’s involved. It can be daunting to suddenly be put in charge of such a large animal, and this goes both for people returning to horse riding after a number of years and complete newcomers to horse riding.
With the right trainer, you’ll have an experienced rider on hand to recognise the help you need and ease you into your new hobby over the coming weeks.
Offer to assist with duties
This is useful for beginners of any age, but particularly with children who really, really want to take up horse riding. Assisting with mucking out stables, grooming, feeding and cleaning horse tack can give you a good feel of the extra work you’ll need to put in if you want to make horse riding your life. Plus, being around horses more often will help you to overcome common, and completely natural, anxieties surrounding horse riding.
You’ll also become accustomed to the character of your horse, and the horse will get used to you at the same time. At the end of the day, horse riding is about the relationship between horse and rider, so do what you can to strengthen this bond wherever possible.
Enjoy the many benefits
Finally, the most crucial step in your journey into horse riding is learning to enjoy it. You’ll know you’ve reached this stage when you start to feel exhilarated, as opposed to anxious, when you’re picking up pace and confidently guiding a horse around a field. It’s not always known that horse riding is also excellent exercise, as everything from mucking out straw beds to walking a horse can burn plenty of calories.
Subsequently, horse riding offers plenty of health benefits – from burning calories, to strengthening muscle groups, to improving mood. Plus, as it’s something you can do for practically your entire life, whether or not you ever buy a horse yourself, your interest could blossom into a lifelong passion you’ll always treasure.