Horseback riding is both a sublime and exhilarating experience. The speed, the adrenaline, and the rushing wind can evoke a deep sense of freedom, confidence and empowerment while also giving you a feeling of peace and tranquility.
Getting started in horseback riding is surprisingly easy, and recreational riding costs just as much as any sport that requires hiring equipment or a special venue.
What You’ll Need
No need for 10-gallon hats for the boys or straw cowboy hats for the girls (that can come later) — what you’ll need are riding helmets. You could either rent one of the stable’s helmets or buy one of your own from shops such as A.A. Callister.
To keep your feet on the stirrup, you’ll need a pair of riding boots or any close-toed shoe with a small but distinct heel. To avoid chafing, it’s best to ride in long tight jeans — you could purchase riding pants or breeches, but that can wait until you progress further in your riding.
You’ll also need a good pair of riding gloves to protect your hands and maintain your grip on the reins. Avoid excess clothing that can cause accidents by getting tangled in the equipment and try to wear a close-fitting outfit.
Finding a Riding Facility
A quick online search or a visit to a local equestrian club can give you a number of facilities that cater to beginners. Find an appropriate “lesson” barn, a facility that caters specifically to beginner and recreational riders. Lessons cost from 30–60 dollars, depending on the training program and the length of the lessons.
Choosing a Riding Style
Of the two styles of riding — Western and English — Western riding is probably best for beginners. The Western style of riding uses more beginner-friendly equipment that provides a much more stable and comfortable ride.
Western riding is what you typically see in rodeo events and is more of a practical way of riding, while English riding is more for show, as seen in Olympic equestrian events.
Horseback riding, even purely for recreation, is a great experience. It’s not as expensive as everyone thinks and if you want to start riding horses — you definitely can.