Want to Learn How to Ride? It’s Never Too Late!

Want to Learn How to Ride? It’s Never Too Late!

Don’t let a lack of experience or your age discourage you from learning how to ride a horse – it's always a good time to get in the saddle!

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While some people have the luxury of growing up in a barn and having their choice of mounts throughout their young equestrian careers, others may feel like riding for the first time is an unattainable goal. However, horseback riding can be a sport for everyone, even if you’ve never swung a leg over a horse in your childhood years. 

Here are some tips on how to start your equestrian journey, whether your dream is to hit the show pen or ride the trails

Seek Out Local a Stable 

  • The best place to start is by signing up for horseback riding lessons with a local trainer. Lessons from a professional horseman can help you build a strong foundation both in the barn and in the saddle. Having confidence around horses sets you up for a successful journey. 

  • Once you’ve put some hours in the saddle and around the barn (because face it, mucking stalls is an essential part of the journey), you can consider leasing a horse. This gives you the ability to experience horse ownership without breaking the bank. You can also try your skills in the show pen astride a leased horse. 

  • Hang out around the barn! Some of the best friendships ever made were because of horses, and it’s great to have a support network of friends who share common interests. Plus, you’ll have a team of buddies to compete with.  

Find a Beginner-Friendly Horse 

  • New riders never want to start with a green horse. It’s essential for a rider’s confidence to have a steady mount, so when you’re ready to make that important purchase, take a trusted professional horseman with you for a second opinion. 

  • Older horses have plenty of experience and can build a rider's confidence. A “been there, done that” horse can teach you invaluable lessons and is a great partner for someone new in the saddle.  

Opportunities with AQHA 

  • There are great opportunities within AQHA that can help motivate new riders with different milestones. The Horseback Riding Program is perfect for riders of all levels, especially if you want to be rewarded for logging hours in the saddle. It's a great way to set and meet goals in order to become a more seasoned rider. 

  • For those who want to test their skills in the show pen, AQHA Level 1 Shows are the best place to begin. Riders can look for affiliate shows near them to gain experience. 

The best piece of advice for new riders is to become involved in local equestrian activities and say "yes" to every opportunity that may come along. Whether it’s trail riding with friends or stepping foot in a local show pen, work on improving your riding skills every chance you get.