Sunday, August 24, 2014

Horsemanship Fundamentals

At Suncoast Stables, we believe having solid horsemanship skills creates a successful horse and rider experience.  A beginner rider should focus on mastering the following three steps to build a successful foundation.

Learning Horse Behavior
A rider should be able to read a horse's body language. Noticing when a horse is upset, nervous, dominant, or curious can help keep you and the horse safe. Are your horse's ears straight back? Is he stomping his feet? These can be some signs that help identify your horse's mood.  Also take note of the environment that your horse is in. For example, if there is a screaming child next to where you are riding, it could affect your horse. By acquiring these skills, you'll stay one step ahead of the horse whether you're in the saddle or not.

Tack and Equipment
Learning how the tack and equipment goes on the horse can take a while to learn, but it is one of the most important steps in riding. Does it fit comfortably? Is the bit in the mouth correctly? Is the saddle in the correct position? How is the tightness of your girth? Your horse can become upset if the equipment isn't correct, causing a potentially unsafe situation.

Proper Riding Instruction
Your personal goals will determine the level and length of instruction you need. Even if your goal is occasional pleasure riding, you still need basic riding lessons to make your experience more enjoyable and safe.  Everyone knows someone that has a horror story of falling off a horse because they just hopped on without the realization it is a 1,000 pound animal with a mind of its own. Just a few lessons can teach you proper techniques to command and control your horse for a more pleasurable ride.

If you goal is to become a competition rider, eventually your riding lessons will teach you more skills.  This includes being a leader to your horse so you can simply communicate the things that you want the horse to do. Remember, either you or your horse will become the leader... our goal is to make the leader you!

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