The horse riding lesson
Most riding establishments offer private teaching or lessons in small groups. However, if you are a complete beginner, most schools require that you start with a few private lessons with a tutor. This may be a one-to-one class with the instructor or possibly with one or two other beginners. The idea is that these more intensive lessons enable you to gain confidence and get to a safe and comfortable standard to join a group class.
At the first lesson you can expect to learn some of the following basic riding skills, including:
- How to get on and off the horse
- How to sit correctly
- How to walk and trot
- How to hold the reins
- The signals you can make to guide, steer and most importantly stop the horse
The first lesson usually takes place in an enclosed pen specifically for beginners, so there will be no danger of breaking into a gallop and riding off never to be seen again.
Protect your head when riding
It is not necessary to buy a full set of riding wear before starting your first lessons. However, the single most important piece of equipment all riders need is a safety hat. All riders must wear the current standard riding hat. Your riding school will have riding hats of varying sizes for beginners to hire for a lesson. It is a good idea to arrive a little earlier on the day of your first lesson to allow time to try on your hat for the perfect fit.
What to wear
The riding school will provide the necessary safety equipment, but your clothing at your first lesson is really important. A pair of comfy trousers should be worn. Make sure they are not too tight, and definitely not jeans as they may restrict movement and be uncomfortable. Alternatively, baggy clothing can flap around, causing alarm to the horse or pony. Make sure you wear flat/smoothed sole shoes, ideally with a heel, but definitely not trainers or wellington boots.