horseback riding’s Guide to Horseback Riding

So, The Horse Bug Bit You…

Any true equestrian will tell you that horse riding is not only a hobby, it is a competitive sport and requires an active, busy lifestyle. It can be expensive and overwhelming, but with some good advice and planning ahead, it will be your new love. 


Horseback riding is emotionally rewarding to experience the close bond that connects rider and 1,200lb animal. Below, you will find a few important aspects of the horse industry for the beginner. 


English Horse Riding Versus Western Horse Riding

Horseback riding can simply be separated into 2 main categories: English and western. 

Both categories encompass many different disciplines that are all competitive or for leisure.  

Western disciplines include reining, barrel racing, competitive trail riding, team penning, roping and many more. English disciplines include hunt seat, equitation, show jumping, dressage, eventing and others. 


All of these different disciplines, no matter English or western, require specialized tack and clothing for each. caters to the English rider in multiple disciplines but offers horse grooming supplies, horse clothing etc. for all riders to use as well. 


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No matter which discipline you decide to try out, you will need a few key pieces of tack. All disciplines use a saddle, bridle (with or without a bit), saddle pad and girth. Western and English saddles have many obvious differences. Which saddle you use depends on the discipline you are riding.


Horseback Ring or horse riding

Generally, beginners start out in a western saddle because it provides more support for the rider and has a horn on the pommel to grab. The saddle must fit the rider, but especially the horse. Ill-fitted saddles can cause stiff muscles and skeletal damage to the horse’s spine, scapula and/or withers.


All disciplines need specific conformation qualities in horses for them to excel particularly in that discipline. Confirmation is the bone and muscle structure that is unique to each horse, just like how different people have different body types and proportions.

 For example, a reining horse in the western world should be built downhill overall, equal body sections (hind, barrel, shoulder/head and neck) and a strong gaskin area to support sliding stops. 


On the other side of the spectrum, showjumpers need a completely different structure to be successful at their job. An upright shoulder, short and strong back as well as an uphill body carriage are just a few of the characteristics typical of showjumpers. 


Why Horse Riding Is A Sport?

horseback riding

Horseback riding is just like any other sport in that it requires grit, perseverance, practice and an athlete (2 in this case). It is featured in the Olympics right along with gymnasts and sprinters, as they should be. The sport has elements of danger with one of the highest rates of head injuries of all sports. It isn’t called “the sport of kings” for nothing!


Horse riding has been an activity for pleasure and works for hundreds of years. Horses have been used to travel with supplies across great distances and transportation since humans started to colonize. Horses were also used in war for a confrontation between dueling nations to pull chariots and later, carry people. 


The uses of horses have evolved tremendously. After years of using horses for needs like transportation and farm work, all of these uses have been replaced by machinery. Now, horses are used for sport and leisure. 


Buying a horse is often expensive, but not as wallet-hitting as all of the expenses surrounding health maintenance and riding supplies such as farrier and vet bills, board cost, feed, tack, helmet… the list goes on. The limit does not exist. is the official website of trusted brands such as TuffRider, Henri de Rivel, Equine Couture and Halo dog products. The English rider can easily get everything they need to enter the ring whether you’re a seasoned competitor or just starting to ride. 

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Horse Care

All horses, no matter the discipline, need exceptional care. This includes horse grooming before and after every ride as well as before a blanket, flysheet or leg wraps are applied. Grooming of-course removes dirt, so your horse is nice and clean before going into the ring, but it has a few other very important intentions. 


Dried mud and built-up dirt can easily cause sores underneath tack and horse clothing if not removed. Regular grooming also distributes the natural oils that the skin secretes, which shines and protects your horse’s coat. 

You must read a Horse Care Guide before going further.


Where to Learn Horse Riding?

small riders learning horseback riding

Choosing a barn to begin taking regular lessons at is really important and developing a strong foundation of skills is critical if you choose to move up the levels of competition. We suggest speaking with people that you know are equestrians so they can give you suggestions. 


Going to a local feed store may have a bulletin board with stable advertisements. Make sure to wear heeled boots and purchase a helmet that fits securely to your head in case of a fall. Wearing tailored-fit clothing is important so that the trainer can easily read your body position.


Horseback riding is an exciting hobby/lifestyle/sport/weekend getaway or whatever your plans are. With a few plans in check and some research behind a quality stable for lessons, you will be well on your way to discovering new friends, new adventures and the bond between horse and rider (plus it is a great way to get in your exercise and meet life-long barn buddies!). 


Look out for more blogs as you advance in your riding, we’d love to be a part of the journey and don’t forget to share your photos on social media! 


Below are a few links to indulge more about the professional and competitive equestrian industry:

U.S. Olympic Teams

Horse Riding Events for all Equestrian Sports Lovers

United States Equestrian Federation Umbrella of Disciplines and Educational Videos

Looking for a stable to start taking lessons at near you?

Learn basic horse care tips and tricks


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