Approaching Your Horse
Always approach your horse in a calm and confident manner. Horses sense when a rider is nervous or scared and the way you approach can greatly affect your horse's attitude. It is unlikely a horse would hurt you intentionally, but you still need to use caution to prevent the possibility of injury. Always have a clear path to get out of the way of your horse should unexpected circumstances cause him to panic.
Mounting Your Horse
In order to sit properly and have a comfortable ride, check the stirrups to make sure they are an appropriate length. To do this, simply place your arm on the saddle. Grab the stirrup and put it under your arm. The stirrup should be the length of your arm. The length of your arm is also the length of your leg.
A proper mount will go a long way in establishing trust between you and the horse.
- If you are an inexperienced rider, have someone hold the horse steady while you get on.
- Begin by standing on the left side of the horse.
- Hold the reins in your left hand (drape any slack over the horse's right side) while also grabbing hold of the horse' mane with your left hand as well.
- Use your right hand to turn the stirrup out and place your left foot into the stirrup, parallel to the horse's side. If you are too short to reach the stirrup, stand on a box or other object that will enable you to reach.
- Now grab the back of the saddle with your right hand.
- Bounce off the ground with your right foot putting weight onto your left foot in the stirrup, while simultaneously pulling yourself up using the back of the saddle and the horse's neck.
- Once you are balanced on your left foot in the stirrup, swing your right leg over the horse as you release your right hand from the back of the saddle and gently lower yourself into the saddle.
- Place your right foot into the other stirrup.
- Make sure your weight is distributed over the center of the horse.
- You will dismount from your horse by reversing the steps you took to get on. Hold the horses neck and remove your foot from the right stirrup. Stand up and swing yourself up and off of the saddle and finally to the ground.