White Horseback Riding
Riding on horseback can be romantic. It can be thrilling. It can even be a way to simply relax and get in touch with nature. We believe that there is something unique to be said about the horseback riding experience, with no experience as unique and exhilarating as riding on the back of a white horse. White horses have been used throughout time to convey images of romance and nobility, and we at White Horseback Riding want to give you the chance to experience this for yourself. Our horses are docile and even-mannered, allowing riders to get the horseback riding adventure that they desire.
While it’s true that a majority of training can be done at home, sometimes the introduction of a riding teacher can dramatically improve your riding technique. Just like a personal training session at the gym, a lesson with a coach will teach you to refine your skills and give you exercises to continue improving. However, they are expensive and definitely a luxury. So what can be done to make sure that every penny is well spent and you get the most out of the experience? There are a few easy steps that can be taken that will benefit everyone.
Have a Plan
Asking your teacher to ‘make you a better rider’ is vague and won’t allow either of you to get the most out of the lesson. Instead, know exactly what it is that you are worried about and need to work on. This way they can devise a lesson plan that will suit you the most. If there are a few areas that need work, then separate them between different lessons – this way you know exactly what you and your horse need to do to improve and it won’t get confused in your head. You can also ask your teacher what to practice after the lesson to further improve as they may have other techniques they didn’t have time to show you.
Make Sure They Are the Right Fit
There is an old expression ‘horses for courses’, which means what suits one person, may not suit another. This applies to riding lessons. Sometimes your riding instructor isn’t the right fit for you and if you realize this then there is no shame in changing. However, be sure that you aren’t just swapping because they are strict. An instructor who pushes you to do your best is a valuable asset. When you find yourself struggling or even disagreeing with your instructor, have a conversation to see if it was just a miscommunication and trust your instinct. If you think there is someone better for you then you are most likely right.
Try a Group Lesson
Do you want some extra help, but you are nervous about the one-on-one time? Try starting with a group lesson – while it won’t be as specialized as an individual one, you will find riding with others a lot of fun. It’s also a good chance for you to be social and work as part of a team. You can also watch the other riders follow instructions and see how they interpret it. This is beneficial especially if you don’t feel like you don’t understand – you can get clues for those around you. It is also a great way to socialize your horse and they will enjoy being part of the herd.
Ask Lots of Questions
You must get the most out of your lessons so if you find yourself confused or unsure of what your instructor is telling you then speak up. Not only will it be easier to answer questions straight away – but it will also help you understand the bigger picture. When your instructor tells you to do an exercise, try asking them why? What is the benefit and what are they aiming for? This way you can get an understanding of how to train your horse outside of lessons.
Do Your Homework
As much as we would like to have the instant gratification of mastering a skill easily, sometimes it takes time. Don’t assume that just because you are being taught that you will learn things more quickly. It will take time for you and your horse to full master everything. Try taking notes to keep your riding on track and it will work as a reference if you find yourself wondering what to do. You can also research what other exercises complement the ones your instructor gave you for a fully rounded experience.
Have the Schedule that Works for You
It might seem like having a lesson every week is the only option, but that is not possible for some people with their schedule or bank balance. Instead of panicking, try and figure out what is best for you. Is there a certain skill you are trying to learn? Take some time after your lesson to practice it and then book a follow-up lesson to finish the improvements. Your instructor will have seen you before and can see your progress first hand. Not only will this be incredibly motivating for you – but it also lets your instructor know how quickly you can learn so they can assign lessons that are challenging enough for you. Otherwise, if it is just general improvement try and train as often as you can to see results.
Be Fully Invested in the Lesson
It is easy for your mind to wander, but during the lesson, it needs to stay focused! Try and get rid of distractions – don’t bring your phone and concentrate fully on what your instructor is saying. If you are having an especially bad day, then consider postponing the lesson. When you are caught up in your head, it can be hard to take in new information. Constantly check your mind is on the task in hand and train yourself to stay focused. This will ensure the best outcome for you, your horse and your instructor. You are a team and all of you must be fully invested.
Show jumping is one of the most exciting disciplines in horse riding. It is a combination of speed and agility, daring and finesse. When it’s done professionally, show jumping is a spectacle to behold, but how do you get to that level? It won’t happen overnight but there are steps you can take to improve both yourself and your horse that will make a difference. Just a few hours a week is all it takes – as long as you are willing to put in the effort then you will see a huge reward.
Secure Your Seat
Any sort of jumping is a test to your riding ability – let alone high speed, high difficulty jumping. Because of that, you need to prepare. You might be confident jumping in the school, but what if your horse spooks or over jumps out of fear? You must stay on. Not only is a fall an instant disqualification, but it will also be harder to get back into the ring after.
There is a multitude of things you can do to improve your seat, but one thing that will see results immediately is riding without stirrups. Practice riding in an enclosed area without them to work on your balance. Can you turn on a sixpence and stay in the saddle? This is also great training for if you lose one in a jump off and don’t have time to get it back. You might be forced to ride and even jump without it so this is the perfect practice exercise. Try jumping over baby fences to see if you can keep your posture. This will help you move with your horse and understand where you need to keep your weight next time you are jumping a course.
Once you have mastered riding without stirrups, you can try moving up a level and riding bareback. It is not advisable to jump large fences without a saddle, but if you can ride quickly around a course with no saddle and still nail every landing/corner, you are going to feel completely secure riding with a saddle.
Work on Your Agility
Show jumping is a test of skill and ability so it is imperative your horse can move quickly and agilely around the course. Even if they are very light on their feet, there is no harm in training them to be even better as the improved balance will mean they are better jumpers.
The first thing you can do is practice tight turns. Start at a walk and make your horse turn as tightly as possible and then work your way up through the gaits. Being able to turn quickly can mean the difference between winning and losing the jump off so it is an important skill to learn. If your horse resists the training in the ring, try weaving in between obstacles. Being able to see them will help your horse’s willingness.
After a tight turn, it may not be possible to fully line your horse up before the next fence. Some horses have no problem jumping on an angle, but if yours struggles, then it is an important skill to work on. Start with some ground poles and get them used to riding at an angle then slowly increase the height. The more comfortable they both are, the less likely you are to get a refusal and those all so crucial four faults.
Make Your Horse Bomb Proof
Despite all your preparation, sometimes your horse gets in the ring and just refuses to perform. This can be down to the unfamiliar nature of a competition with their bright fences and loud noises. There are a lot of things for your horse to overcome and ignore before it can even think about jumping, so taking steps to prepare them will benefit you both.
Firstly, see if you can hire a local ring and their obstacles. Riding schools have a huge range of resources which will help your horse desensitize with the added benefit of being loud and busy. Use a range of fences, poles, cross jumps, doubles – anything you might see in the ring.
However, if this isn’t an option, there are steps you can take to make your own fences different. Try hanging brightly colored clothes off the wings of the fences, or draping scarfs over the poles. They will immediately look different and your horse will take a good hard look before going over them.
Once they have gained their confidence with this, it’s time to take it up a level. A flapping plastic bag, a bell or a wind chime making noise – these are considered high risk by your flight animal so if they can get past these, they should be fine in the ring. Consider asking a friend to watch you jump and make crowd noises to see if that makes a difference as well.
Jump on Different Terrain
Show jumping rings are on a range of different surfaces – the nice sandy indoor school, a flat (ish) field outside, and an outside ring with the wind blowing – every competition is different. This is why it is important to practice on every surface. Even if your horse has good balance, it can lose its footing outside and take down a pole.
If you train in a ring, try taking your horse outside into a paddock. You don’t have to bring an entire course, but even a couple of fences will allow your horse the chance to practice on the grass. If they slip a lot, then maybe you can invest in some studs to help their performance. If you practice outside, then again see if you can train in a ring. Your horse should keep its footing, but there are unusual sights and smells in an indoor arena plus it is usually sand. As the take-off isn’t from a hard surface, they may have to work a little harder so it’s good to give them an opportunity before competition day.
There is just nothing like riding a horse, and especially nothing in the world like enjoying a horseback riding on a beautiful White Horse. We will be back with more info. Thanks for your patience while we get this website ready. Go hug a horse today! 🙂
Are you seeking excitement and adventure atop the most beautiful equines? White Horseback Riding offers you the opportunity to stroll, trot or outright run while on the back of one of our stunning, white horses. Contact us today to book your own session with White Horseback Riding. It is an experience unlike any other.