Saddle Up With This Beginners Guide To Horseback Riding!

Horseback Riding for Beginners

Even though our guides are experts now, they weren’t always.   Each of them remembers when they were just starting out and the whole experience of horseback riding was new.  Therefore, they wanted to give a little something back with a beginners guide to horseback riding.  Whether you are new to riding or haven’t saddled up in a while, this guide will help you feel more confident on your next trail ride.

Our list below explains how to ride a horse:

  • The best items to have when horseback riding
  • How to avoid post-riding soreness
  • Tips for holding the reigns, body posture and important horse signals
  • Our advice on maximizing fun and enjoyment of this amazing sport

So let’s get started…

What are the best items to have when you are first starting to ride? Beginners guide to horseback riding


  • Secure shoes are a must!  For a simple beginner trail ride a simple sneaker or any type of secure shoe will work.  As you progress in your riding, a boot with a heel is preferred.
  • Long pants make your ride much more comfortable!  Riding in shorts isn’t recommended as you may end up with rubs from the saddle.
  • A riding helmet is always recommended.


How should you prepare your body for a long ride to avoid becoming sore? Beginners guide to horseback riding


  • Start slow!  While it may be tempting to jump into a 3 hour ride if you haven’t ridden before or are just getting back in the saddle after a long absence, your body will not thank you.  Start with multiple shorter session to build up your riding muscles.
  • Calf stretches are a great exercise to prepare you for riding and help perfect your form.  Stand on a small block with your heels hanging to stretch your calves and help you perfect that heels down position.  Just don’t fall!
  • To help improve your balance, try yoga!  Any standing and balancing pose will work, such a tree pose.  Take your yoga a step further and try some stretches on horseback.  It’s a great way to help connect with your horse as well.


Horse Etiquette: How should you approach the horse? How should you hold the reins? What signals are important to know? How should your posture be?


  • Pay attention to your horse’s ears.  If they are forward, they are paying attention to what is in front of them.  If they are to the sides, they are either relaxed or listening to sounds to the side of them.  Beware of your horse’s ears being pinned back flat against his head, this means he is angry or agitated. 
  • Always approach horses from the front whenever possible to make sure they see you coming.  Remember, even a kind horse may kick at you if you startle them.  If you must approach from the side or behind a horse make sure you use your voice so they are aware of your presence.
  • Be relaxed with both your motions and your voice.  Never run or yell around horses.


Are there any final tips & tricks to ensure maximum fun on the trails? Beginners guide to horseback riding


  • Always look forward and watch where you are going.  This not only helps you keep an eye out for possible obstacles but also gives you the best chance to spot wildlife, like deer or wild turkey, before they have a chance to scamper off.
  • Be courteous to your fellow riders!  Follow all rules and regulations not only for your own safety but for the safety of those around you.
  • Everyone wants a great shot of them riding their horse, nothing wrong with that!  But limit photos to safe opportunities and don’t let the quest for the perfect profile picture cause you to be distracted and riding in an unsafe manner.


Lace-up your boots and put your new-found knowledge to use by booking a ride!


Mountain Creek Riding Stable: (570) 839-8725
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