ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Seven horse riding tips for beginners

Updated on February 28, 2012

During my hack at the Albufeira Riding Centre in the Algarve, Portugal (read the review of the stables here) I learned several handy tips from the instructor. The points have helped my riding and hopefully they will help others, too. Here's a list of the things she said.

Firstly, I learned to keep my hands still. Previously I had got into the habit of moving my hands backwards and forwards with the motion of the horse’s head. But this was causing tightness then slack is the reigns.

By keeping my hands still it’s possible to maintain a constant and even reign contact which gives more control over the horse and can also help to strengthen the animal's neck and back muscles.

Car Hester: Notice how still Carl keeps his hands when riding

Secondly, I learned that it’s possible to ease the horse onto the bit by alternately opening and closing the fingers that are holding the reins. Again, the idea here is to keep the hands as still as possible so that they remain in the same position. I started by alternately pulling back on the left rein hen right rein but Georgie, the riding school owner and my hack escort, said that it could be done by opening and closing the fingers and that this way the hands remain still.

Thirdly, I learned that the same principle of opening and closing the fingers that hold the reins can be used to steer the horse. For example, closing the right fingers will tighten the right reign which will bend the horse’s neck to the right. Given what I have learned about the reign being used together with the opposite leg then squeezing the right reign and using the left leg will cause the horse to move to the right. The point of using the left leg is so that the horse’s rear end does not swing out causing him to over-turn. The outside leg also pushes the horse away from the leg in the general direction that it is turning.

Horse: The heavy horse I rode at the Albufeira Riding Centre in Portugal
Horse: The heavy horse I rode at the Albufeira Riding Centre in Portugal

Fourthly, I learned that keeping the elbows bent and slightly back so that a vertical line can be drawn from the ear through the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle, is a good way to maintain a comfortable body position. I’m not sure about this one as my elbows feel too far back than I have been using them. It does feel like there’s more power and leverage in my arms that way though.

Fifth, I learned not to shout when a horse takes off or spooks. I had already been told not to shout make too much noise by Emma Massingdale but for some reason I thought that this did not apply to shouting ”woooaahh” like a cowboy. This is what I did when Joe, my ride, bucked a couple of times with excitement when we cantered. Georgie said that making any kind of verbal noise gives him more energy and thinks there’s more reason to run.

Sixth, the body is used to move in time with the horse’s body and give it the energy and impulsion and rhythm to move forward. I’d thought about this for a while but I’ve never really hit the nail on the head with it. There’s also the idea that the body can be used to slow a horse and for downward transitions but again I’ve never got my head round this. I’ve been told several times that slowing the pace of rises can slow the trot but I’ve never really had the physical control to master this.

Seventh, Georgie recommended that I watch dressage riders and the motion of their hands. The riders wear white gloves so that the movements stand out the judges can mark them.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)