Horseback Riding requires the combination of a rider and a horse. This couple must form a single unit in order to be able to evolve in good conditions. To do this, the rider must learn to ride and train his horse, position himself well on it and know the gaits.
Horseback riding : definition
Many people and riders will tell you that horseback riding is the art of riding. This is true, but it is not enough, because riding is also defined as follows :
- Horseback Riding is an encounter between horse and rider. Riding is an encounter between the horse and the rider, during which a complicity and an understanding must be established.
- Horseback Riding is the passion of the horse. It must be carried out with joy, good humour and mutual respect. The rider does not obtain anything by force or by anger. Everyone can develop fully and enjoy themselves.
- Moreover, horseback riding can also be practiced on foot or harnessed.
- Finally, this sporting activity is closely linked to the knowledge of the anatomy of the horse and the breeds.
How to practice horseback riding ?
Horseback Riding in an equestrian centre
Horseback riding is a sport that is mainly practised in an equestrian centre. It is preferable that the centre is affiliated to the USEF (US Equestrian Federation), a guarantee of its seriousness and professionalism :
The equestrian centre provides the rider with its structures, its club horses and its staff (club manager, instructor, groom). The owner of a horse can also leave his horse in pension and benefit from the services of the centre at his disposal.
It is also possible to practice horse riding outdoors, in the context of rides or excursions over several days.
Good to know : to ride a horse, you must join a club and therefore take out a licence.
What is the purpose of a licence ?
The licence allows you to :
- ride a horse while being insured in case of accident
- access to many equestrian disciplines
- to pass your riding gallops
- take part in horse shows with the American Competition Licence.
The licence, which is unique to you, is made up of 7 numbers and 1 letter. It indicates your civil status, the gallops and results obtained in competition, insurance supplements.
Please note : the licence also has the advantage of obtaining reductions or free rides from the USEF's partners.
How to go from beginner to advanced ?
The objective, when you start riding, is to acquire the basics to progress better. To achieve this, you need to take riding lessons. There are lessons for all levels, from beginners to advanced. First of all, you will be taught how to :
- prepare your horse : how to groom it, saddle it and bridle it
- how to stand on the horse, respecting a good position as a rider
- control your horse at all three paces (walk, trot and canter).
When you are more comfortable on horseback riding, you will start your first canter. As the lessons progress, you will evolve and practice different equestrian disciplines, such as dressage or jumping, for example.
What equipment does horseback riding require ?
If you do not own a horse, you only need to worry about the rider's equipment. To start with, this mainly consists of :
- a riding hat or helmet
- a pair of boots or boots with mini-chaps
- a pair of riding trousers
- a riding crop
- gloves (not essential for beginners)
Good to know : the horse's equipment and the grooming material will be provided by the club, knowing that each horse has its own accessories.
Benefits of horseback riding
Horse riding has 3 main benefits, as it is an :
- Outdoor sport excellent for your health : you need to know how to ride in all weathers, which allows you to become more enduring. It is also good for your morale, as it allows you to relax.
- Physical sport : contrary to what some people might think, the rider does not remain static on his mount. It works the legs, calf muscles, buttocks and back.
- It is an ecological sport because you stay in contact with nature during the rides, which is very rejuvenating.
Finally, you should know that horse riding can be practised at any age, in an adapted manner of course.