Quick tips for approaching and mounting a horse

Horseback riding is not only great exercise, this relaxing past-time isoftenused for different kinds of therapy as well.

Quick tips for approaching and mounting a horse

Approaching a horse

Here are some important tips you need to know for properly approaching a horse.

  1. Always approach from the front, giving the horse time to consider you.
  2. Move steadily, not too fast and not holding out the halter or the horse may think this looks like work and decide not to be caught.
  3. Offer a tasty morsel so the horse looks forward to your arrival.
  4. If during your mount, the horse starts to move away, try again, but do not chase it.
  5. Approach the horse's shoulder, and loop the lead rope around its neck, reasonably­ high, closer to the top of its head.
  6. Arrange the headstall so that it will slip neatly over the horse's face.
  7. Slide the noseband over the horse's muzzle to mid-cheek, and move the head strap over its head with your right hand and buckle it.

Ensure that the headstall is not too loose or placed too low on the head and remember, respect is key to winning their trust.

Into the saddle

1. Gather up the reins, and face the horse's rear end. Stand reasonably close alongside the left shoulder.

2. Grip a piece of mane, and keeping the reins fairly short, twist the stirrup iron towards you and put your foot into it.

3. Roll your knee into the horse, being sure not to poke it in the side with your toe, and lift your weight onto the stirrup.

4. Keep rolling your knee, and raise your right leg up over the saddle to the other stirrup and sit quietly down.

Now just enjoy the ride.

Post ride: Lead the horse

After riding and climbing off, you'll need to lead the horse. This means you will guide the horse as you walk next it.  A common mistake made by inexperienced horse owners is to let the horse lag behind when led. This is dangerous because you cannot see what the horse is doing, and it may jump quickly forwards and knock you down.

The horse must learn to lead alongside you so that you are­ level with the horse's shoulder. In order to accomplish this, just reach back and tap the horse with a short stick to get it to step forwards­, and click your tongue at the same time. After a while, all you will need to do is "click".

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