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How do I prepare for my first horseback ride?

If you are beginning your horseback riding lessons, it is worth getting acquainted with a list of things that you can do to make the learning process run smoothly and pleasantly. Contrary to appearances, riding a horse is not about sitting passively on the back of a mount. It is quite a difficult art, for which you should prepare yourself. In what way? Read!

Take care of appropriate clothing

You don’t have to invest in expensive riding breeches right away. It’s enough if you wear soft, flexible pants that don’t restrict your movements. These can be leggings that you go to fitness or yoga in. Avoid shorts to prevent chafing on bare legs, and avoid slippery pants to get a firmer grip on the saddle. It’s best to wear a shirt over your top to shield your skin from the sun and possible scratches. The shirt should be made of breathable, airy material such as linen or cotton so that your body doesn’t get overheated during class.

When it comes to footwear, choose shoes with a stiffened toe box and a small heel. Riding boots should reach at least your calf to provide firm yet comfortable ankle support. Definitely do not wear sneakers or sneakers that are too soft to protect your feet. The last thing you need to think about is a protective helmet. The riding school will probably have one, but you’d better make sure before your first lesson.

Work on your body

Riding is very much an art of balancing your body, so your first dismount should be preceded by work on your balance. Yoga and Pilates classes will help with this. It is also worth working on your leg muscles. Horseback riding is a great workout for your thighs, calves and hips, which allow you to control your sit. You will strengthen these parts by performing lunges and squats. Steering your horse effectively requires general stamina, so it’s a good idea to go to the swimming pool or gym regularly to strengthen your whole body. Don’t forget to stretch regularly to keep your muscles stretched and relaxed. Stretching will give you flexibility and help prepare you for new ways to work your body on your first ride.

Relax and open up to new experiences

When planning your first riding lesson, choose a school with experienced instructors. Come to your first lesson early enough to make your first contact with the horse. To establish a bond with the animal, speak to it in a calm voice and do not be afraid of small caresses: a pat on the neck or scratching behind the ear.

Take a bottle of water and a snack with you to class in case you get hungry. Even if you feel nervous on the day of the lesson, do not skip breakfast (if the lesson takes place in the morning) or lunch (if it is scheduled for the afternoon). Riding a horse requires effort and concentration, so make sure you get enough protein and calories.

And finally, before class try to relax and open yourself up to a new experience. Try to stay calm and enjoy the new experience. Remember that horses can sense our mood perfectly. If you are stressed, the animal will sense it and will become stressed along with you. A good mood and composure will benefit both of you.

main photo: unsplash.com/Abbat

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