A perfect understanding and harmony between horse and rider is what makes a great equestrian. Riding a horse in itself is an art, and to become a professional horse rider you have to master the skill. There is more to riding a horse than just hopping on its back and commanding it to move. Even when you know how to ride a horse, it takes a lot more to learn how to become a professional horse rider. This article gives you pointers on how to better your horseback riding skills.
Ride the horse bareback without a saddle
Learning to maintain your balance on the horse is perhaps one of the basic yet important parts of riding a horse. Bareback horse riding helps you develop your skills to stay on the horse even when it gets rough. Saddles are important when you start training but start riding without them once you learn how to ride and better your skills.
A good rider is confident in his skills and security. You cannot be an expert horse rider if you are constantly worried about falling. Get the security you need by training without a saddle. You need to learn to rely on your muscle and balance and not the stirrups or reigns to keep you on the horse.
Bareback horse riding helps you to get in tune with your horse. Without the pommel and stirrups, you will better feel the horse’s gaits and movements, allowing you to stay in tune with the horse.
Learn to communicate with your horse
If you want to become an expert horse rider, you need to know how to communicate with your horse better. Amateur riders only communicate with their horses with the reigns and voice; experts use all the aids, especially the seat and leg aids.
Learn to be gentle with your horse and read its body language. A horse knows when you are not treating it right and hence can refuse to follow directions. You need the cooperation of your horse to become a better rider.
Specialize in your favorite discipline
After trying out different disciplines and finding out which one compliments your style best, focus your energy and training on that discipline. You can choose to focus on disciplines such as dressage, jumping, liberty, hunters, foxhunting, equitation, reining and many others. It is much easier to become a professional in one discipline when you focus your training on it.
While you specialize, also remember to expand your knowledge about other disciplines. Some of these disciplines complement each other, and knowledge of one can be useful in the other. It is good to be versatile while maintaining focus on the one discipline you like.
Learn all about your discipline and Study other riders
Once you know what discipline you want to focus your training on, you need to learn everything you need to know about that discipline. Comb through the different techniques and methods employed in that particular discipline.
Reading about it is not enough; you need to see how the techniques are applied practically. Make a habit of watching other horseback riders in their element. You learn so much from observation. You can also identify some of the mistakes other riders make, which can help you do better in your style.
Study under a reputable professional
It is hard to evaluate how good you are until you see yourself from the eyes of a professional. If you are serious about becoming an expert in your field, you need to find a professional instructor who you can learn from and who can give you constructive criticism on your riding.
Positive criticism from someone who knows what they are talking about plays a major part in helping you perfect your skills. A professional will point out your weak areas and help you work on them. They will also encourage you as you progress and help you find solutions to any problems you encounter with riding.
Join an Equine College
If you want to take your studies on horses a little higher and learn how to become an equestrian, consider attending an equine college. Here you will get to learn theoretical knowledge about horses and the practical aspects of horse riding.
If you want to study horse riding professionally and get certified, attending an equine college is your best bet. You will get the chance to work with different horses, which is important when becoming a professional.
Establish a connection with your horse
The relationship between you and your horse is very important and helps you understand how your horse acts and thinks. Take time to watch how your horse communicates with other horses and incorporate the communication techniques in your training.
Introduce some groundwork in your training sessions. Groundwork is very beneficial in helping enhance the horses’ abilities. If the horse does good, it makes you look good too. Give the horse the space to follow commands without saddling it. Groundwork helps you cement your authority and leadership; hence the horse will know to follow your commands.
Set your body language right; your horse feeds into whatever energy you give off. If you want to control the horse, control your movement and ease off the tension. A professional rider knows the key to calming your horse is by maintaining your calmness.
Set specific goals with your horse
Strive to focus on one milestone at a time. To evaluate whether you are advancing in your skills or stuck doing the same things, set goals that you need to achieve each training session. You need to have something you are working towards with your horse so that it can keep you motivated.
Strive to accomplish one goal before moving to the next.
Compete in horseback riding competitions
Nothing gives you a bigger drive to perfect your skills like joining a competition where your ultimate best is required. If you are starting out but often fall short of motivation, joining a competition is the drive you need.
Competing is more than just winning. It will make you put in a lot of time in training – which is all for your good. Meeting and socializing with other riders is also a plus: you will learn a lot from watching the different techniques other people apply that you don’t. The pressure of winning will also help you evaluate whether or not you can maintain your cool.
Lastly, you need to spend a lot of time around horses. The more familiar you are with horses, the easier it will be for you to understand them, making training much easier. Horse riding tips can only do so much; you need to establish a relationship with the horses. Someone once said that a horse doesn’t care how much you know until it knows how much you care.
Horse riding is not as easy as it looks. If you want to learn how to become a professional horse rider, you need to put in the work. One thing is for sure, however; riding a horse is one of the most beautiful and exhilarating experiences, even made better when you know what to do on that saddle.