English Horseback Riding Basics
Learn about English horseback riding basics to so you won't feel like a fish out of water on the back of a horse. English horseback riding is different from western horseback riding in several ways. Western horseback riding uses a saddle that distributes the rider's weight more evenly and the rider holds the reins in one hand, for example. English horseback riding differs in these ways and more. English horseback riders hold the reins in both hands, as if they are steering a plough horse. English saddles are lighter and smaller giving the rider a closer experience to the horse when riding.
To learn English horseback riding basics, you will need:
- Learn to rein your horse. In English horseback riding, the rider guides the horse using the direct rein method. This reining method is similar to plough reining. The rider holds one rein in each hand. In English riding, the rider gently holds the reins loose. One rein is held in each hand above the saddle and forward a few inches. Then when you want the horse to turn right, move the right rein, which is held in the right hand, back to move the horse's head to the right. This movement will steer the horse to the right. Do the same for reining the horse to left; pull the left rein back steering the horse to the left.
- Learn to sit while the horse trots. In English horseback riding, trotting is a gait used often. If you learn the correct way to sit while your horse trots, you will be more comfortable and so will your horse. Let the horse trot to get the rhythm of the gait. Each horse is different. For every other stride of the front legs, gently rise in the saddle. This will give you a smooth ride and feel better for the horse as well.
- Control your horse. With any horseback riding, it's necessary to give cues to the horse to control it. Gently squeeze with your legs to get your horse to trot. Pull back on the reins to stop your horse. Relax your body to feel the movement of the horse and move with the horse to make English horseback riding more pleasurable for both you and your horse.