Preparing for Your Horseback Riding Trip
Horseback Riding Training
The absolute best training you can do on a horse is to ride more frequently. The more you ride the more comfortable you will be on the horse and the more comfortable your horse will be with you. Most people do not own a horse, so taking day tours or short rides and using different horses whenever you can is a good way to see where you stand.
Riding lessons are perhaps the best way to get to know how to ride and prepare yourself for different situations. Professionals can teach you how to sit properly, as well as fall off. There are numerous skills to learn and many are near impossible to pick up without some sort of training. Jumping for instance is a hard earned skill that involves loads of practice. Riding lessons can last just a few hours or even weeks that involve distance trekking. Many tour operators offer training programs.
Horseback Riding Gear
If you aren’t comfortable in your riding gear and saddle, chances are you are going to have a miserable trip. Even if going on a tour that provides every piece of necessary equipment, you may want to look into your own riding gear that can be purchased in tack and feed stores, online, or from mail order catalogs, especially if you have special needs.
Boots - While tennis shoes are sufficient during short rides on easy terrain they are far from ideal and can even be a safety concern. Specially designed riding footwear keeps your feet from slipping through the stirrups or your legs getting caught which could lead to a fall from the horse where serious injuries and deaths often occur. There are numerous styles of boots depending on the type of riding you like to do. For long trail rides leather riding shoes and paddock boots are your best bet. A combination of leather boots and chaps are important for show riding and jumps.
Saddle - The saddle is the most important piece of equipment you have when riding a horse. Although riding bareback - sans saddle - can be done, it is not recommended especially for long rides. The saddle is the seat for the rider, which is attached to the horses back. Saddles have been used in some form or another for several thousand years. They are made of wood and leather -sometimes of synthetic materials- and help make every ride more comfortable. There are two main types of saddles: English and Stock. English saddles are what are used for English riding, such as in shows, events, jumping, and the Olympics. Stock saddles are the more common. The two main types are the American Western and the Australian, which are used for most trail riding.
Jeans or Breeches - Yes, jeans actually have an official function. For western riders they are often the choice pant. Breeches, which are most often made of cotton and lycra, are the form fitting pants popular for long rides and English riding.
Helmet - For English riding and jumping a helmet is especially important. On the trail there are helmets too that are comfortable, lightweight, and vented and an easy precaution that could save your life.