Is learning to ride a horse on your bucket list but you find yourself wondering if you are too old to learn? I get approached with this question more than you would think and I always give the same answer, “No, you’re never too old to start riding!”. Age has little to no meaning to a horse. They respond to the rider and their energy, regardless of age. Although age is not a consideration, there are several things to take into account if you are an adult just starting your equestrian journey.
1. Always choose a reputable, safe and recommended teaching facility.
2. Learn the basics of horsemanship, including basic safety, grooming and tacking.
3. Choosing the most appropriate and qualified instructor.
4. Know what safety gear and supplies you will need.
5. Be ready to have more fun than you’ve had in a very long time.
Once you have found your happy place, you can move on to the next check list. So, what’s next? Ride at your pace It is important to remember that it takes time and patience to become a good rider. As an instructor, it’s my job to learn what your goals are and to help foster a learning environment that will allow you to achieve them. Figure out your time commitment. Successful riding requires time in the saddle and time around your equine partner. Remember, this journey is for you and only you so make yourself and your new sport a time priority.
Listen to your body. Horseback riding is a full-body workout. It works every muscle in your body and is great cardio. Like any workout, it’s important that you stay in touch with your body and not ignore any major pain or discomfort. It takes a bit of time for your body to adjust to the rigors of riding. You will gain core strength, cardiovascular benefits, increased muscle toning and greater flexibility. All these body benefits are just a side effect of the amazing and rewarding fun you will have as an equestrian. very physical and can take time to build your muscle strength and flexibility.
Why is riding such an amazing sport? In addition to the great health and fitness results you will get, spending time with horses is one of the most emotionally fulfilling ways to spend your time. Horses are incredibly sensitive and intuitive animals. There is endless scientific studies showing the positive impact horses have on a human’s emotional state and mental health. They offer unconditional love and attention as long as you are willing to show up very present. Time at the barn allows you to reconnect with yourself and find peace and happiness in a world where there is no electronics needed, no deadlines and no judgments.
Now that you are clear on the benefits of riding horses, let’s talk about the serious side; safety. It goes without saying that equestrian sports come with inherent risk. Your dance partner is a 1200 animal with free-will. Although horses are wired to want to please their riders, they are still living creatures that can have off days. Safety equipment like proper footwear and helmets are required. Falls don’t happen all that often, but when they do, it’s important to be protected. Part of becoming a great horseman or horsewoman is to have challenging days. Sometimes those days can include a fall off your horse. As your instructor, I work very hard to teach proper safety methods and riding technique so you will be prepared to handle any unexpected moments. If you do fall, me and my staff are prepared to help you back on the horse and if that’s not possible, to get you the proper medical care. Just like driving a car has it’s risks, so does horseback riding.
So, now that you know a bit more, let’s get your journey underway and saddle up!