Every athlete knows that there’s no such thing as perfection. There’s always more room to improve. That’s especially true for equestrians. Horse riding requires consistency and commitment for you to become an excellent rider. If you’re not sure what to do to improve your horse riding skills, then you’re in the right place. Let’s quickly get to it, shall we?
7 Tips to Improve Your Horse-Riding Skills
Looking to improve your horse riding skills? Here are seven tips to help you do just that:
1. Understand Horse Anatomy and Behavior
One of the first steps to improve your riding skills is to understand the anatomy and nature of horses. To do this, you must study horse anatomy and how different parts of a horse’s body move—particularly in response to a rider. Understanding horse behavior requires a different approach—you must spend time with many different horses. Try riding as many horses as you can and watch other riders interact with their horses.
2. Invest in Horse Exercise Equipment
A rider can only be as good as the horse he rides. That’s why part of improving your horse riding skills involves investing in your horse. One way to do that is to get horse exercise equipment. Remember, horse training just doesn’t mean the time you’re in the saddle. A significant part of the training takes place as you exercise your horse. That’s why you must invest in horse exercise equipment, including hot walkers.
3. Watch Your Hands
One of the most common mistakes riders make is trying to control everything with their hands. To improve your riding skills, you must learn to rely less on your hands as a means of communicating with and controlling your horse. Learning to use other parts of your body, such as your legs and seat, frees up your hands for more sophisticated skills.
Examples of hand errors you must avoid include:
- Clutching or pulling on the reins too hard
- Stiff hands and arms
- Bouncy and bendy wrists
Your hands must be flexible enough to follow your horse’s mouth. They must also always create a straight line from the elbow through the reins to the horse’s mouth.
4. Work on Your Legs
Another important way to improve your horse riding skills is to work on your legs. You must fine-tune the placement and timing of your leg aids and teach your horse to respond more promptly to them. To work on your legs:
- Ensure your legs are always directly underneath your body.
- Always adjust your stirrups to be level with your ankles.
- Avoid nagging your horse with leg aids.
Working on your leg communication helps you reduce the need to rely heavily on aids. As a result, you and your horse will flow smoothly.
5. Set Up an Indoor Arena
Improving your horse riding skills requires consistency. Sometimes, however, the weather may not permit you to practice outdoors.
That’s why setting up an indoor arena is an essential investment for serious equestrians.
Besides the advantage of enabling you and your horse to train despite the elements, indoor horse arenas also have the benefits of:
- Offering a distraction-free environment for you to train in.
- The ability to fit different types of accessories that help with training.
- Preventing injuries to both horse and rider with safety walls and kick systems.
Whether you’re a veteran or novice horse rider, an indoor riding arena is a great place to improve your riding skills. It allows you and your horse to focus on achieving your training goals without external interference.
6. Work on Your Fitness
To be an excellent rider, you must be physically fit. Horse riding may seem like a simple matter of sitting in the saddle and letting the horse do all the work, but it’s not. It’s a lot of work that requires high levels of stamina and endurance. That’s why working on your fitness is an essential part of improving your riding skills. Of particular note, you must commit to cardio work and improving your core strength.
7. Watch Videos of Yourself and Other Riders
Another way of improving your riding skills, especially when not in the saddle, is to watch videos of other riders. Take particular note of their posture, techniques, and how they interact with their horses.
Besides watching other riders in action, you must also have someone record your riding sessions so you can watch your performance later. Doing this will help you identify areas where you need improvement.
It Takes the Right Equipment and Commitment to Improve Your Horse-Riding Skills
If you want to improve your horse riding skills, you must commit to putting in the work. You must also commit to investing in the right equipment. While we may not be able to help you with the former, we’re experts at helping you with the proper horse-riding equipment. Browse through our catalog of horse exercise and training equipment and let us know what you need. Alternatively, you can give us a call at (352) 737-6743, and we’ll be more than happy to help.