Horseback riding is a very serious workout, which Horse Riders need to learn well. It seems like the horse is getting the entire workout while riding, but proper horseback riding is a synchronization of the animal and the rider. In every sense, horse riding is a great outdoor activity which goes far beyond the gym workouts. However, before attempting it, there are a few things you need to know about horses and riding them.
The history of horseback riding
Since the first human hopped on to the back of the horse in 3500 BC, there had been a strong relationship nurtured between human and horses who became inseparable partners in many activities. This continued towards the last decades of the 1800s when automobiles started to gain popularity. However, the bond between man and horse persists, but it is now more recreational than for work.
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Most of the new riders tend to pony up for exercising, racing, or just fun. The first thing to consider before walking up to the barn is to what style of riding you are planning. Most of the stables are now in Western style or English style, and some places you will see both. You need first to know the difference between these two styles:
- English and Western styles differ in terms of equipment or “tack” that affects the rider’s position and the way rider-horse communication is held.
- Tack in English style is not that bulky, which enables a much closer contact between rider and horse.
- Western saddles are what you can see in the cowboy movies, which are used at longer cattle drives. They are made for more stability and comfort for the riders. It features long stirrups, deep seat, and also a saddle horn to loop the lasso.
The Belmont Stakes Probables
Belmont Stakes is one of the Grade I stakes race of thoroughbreds held on first or second Saturday of every June at the Belmont Park in the Elmont region, New York. This race covers 1.5 miles and is open to 3-year aged Thoroughbreds. This race is counted as the third and final leg of Triple Crown racing and also known as ‘The Test of the Champion’.
It is conducted five weeks after the famous Kentucky Derby and about three weeks after Preakness Stakes. Secretariat, 1973 Triple Crown winner, still holds the record of a mile and a half stakes of 2:24 in the race track.
In terms of spectators, Belmont Stakes is one of the top thoroughbred race events in the entire United States. Back in 2004, Belmont Stakes also drew about 21.9 million television viewers. The previous (150th) Belmont Stakes race was held on June 9, 2018, and was won by Justify. This horse then became the second one in four years to grab the Belmont Stakes Probables and Triple Crown.
Make an action plan
The new riders may first feel like handling a potato sack while dealing with the saddle, but to maintain the correct position, you require a lot of strength. Squeezing the inner thighs of the horse will work well in terms of changing its gait while sitting straight and tall at the saddles uses abdominals, back, abdominals, and the legs. Consider the below tips.
Take safety first –
The primary thing for any new rider to consider is safety. For this, always try to approach a well-reputed stable to learn it. A safe barn may look clean and legitimate. You can see the evidence of good repair and maintenance there. You may also check for a certified instructor who can train the beginners well.
Dress up your part –
It is advisable to wear long pants to protect your legs from rubbing against the saddle. Use a close-toed shoe having a small heel to keep the feet safe from slipping off the stirrups. Stables usually provide helmets but check it beforehand to ensure you carry one if not available there.
Keep properly hydrated –
Horseback riding on sunny days may work up and sweat, always carry a handy bottle of water to keep yourself well hydrated.
Listen up –
Before saddling, you need first to understand how the horses see the world. Even the trained horses are primarily nature prey animals and tend to run when they sense any danger. Horses can have a 360-degree view, and their eyes are very sharp. So, it is best to approach a horse form its front and speak to it in a calm and soft voice. Try to avoid any sudden movements or high noises.
Always check –
Before jumping on to the saddle and initiate riding, ensure that the equipment is properly placed. It is ideal for getting the assistance of the instructor to help with this process, but always make sure that the saddle doesn’t slide, and the stirrups are set at the right length. Check whether the bridle straps are tightened appropriately, but not by restricting the easy breathing of the horse.
It could be very tricky to get on a horse without help from an expert, at least for the initial few times. You may also look for a mounting block, which is like a small flight of steps. You may better position this onto the left side of the horse and then put the reins over its head. First place the left toe into the stirrup, holding reins in the left hand, and then rest it on the front portion of the saddle.
Next, place the right hand of the back of the saddle and gently hoist it straight up by swinging the right leg over the back of the horse. Once you put legs on either side of the horse, gently sit on the saddle and then place your right foot into the corresponding stirrup.
After a riding session, it is also important to cool down. You may slowly walk with your companion for ten minutes or until the horse’s neck gets back to the normal temperature. Come to a complete stop to dismount and take off your feet from the stirrups. Using left hand, hold both the reins and then grab the lower part of its neck. Next, grab the saddle pommel with the right hand and then slowly swing your right leg over its back and slide down carefully to the ground.
Hope this information helped. You may consider your horse as a companion than just a ride in order to build a mental rapport with the animal to enjoy a good time with it.
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