How to ride a horse

So you are a first time rider, and want to know how to ride a horse!

When you watch someone ride, they make it look easy. It's only easy when you know how!

Where to go to learn to ride

Having riding lessons in a riding school is a good way to learn the basics before you commit to buying your own horse.

Other than that, if you have a friend who owns a suitable horse or pony for you to learn on, you'll save you money and in return you can help to care for the horse, such as mucking out, feeding, watering, turning out or brining it in from the field or grooming.

There are so many ways in which you could help and of course you are also learning the aspects of horse care.


A horse learns the signals to turn left and right by his rider instructing him, using aids such as hands, legs and seat, known as horse communication.

If you are a first time rider, you'll need to know how to turn a horse.

Let's say you want to turn left.

Shift your seat position a little to your inside.

Gently turn the left rein, asking the horse to bend its neck and head towards the left.

The outside rein (right rein) reinforces the inside hand, so controls the amount of bend in the neck.

As you turn the horse, you are also lengthening the outside rein of the neck by moving your outside hand forwards.


As well as using the reins, you also instruct the horse with your legs.

The inside leg (left leg) signals to the horse to move over and instructs the horse to keep moving forward, and your outside leg (right leg) applies pressure behind the girth to control his hindquarters.

Only turn the horse when his neck and head are fully bent and the horse is looking in the direction you want it to go.

The rider should also be looking in the direction that you wish to go.


Horse information

The commands for turning right are the same only using the opposite aids.

Therefore, you would shift your weight slightly to the right, with your left leg pressing behind the girth.

The left rein that is now the outside rein reinforces the inside hand, controlling the amount of bend in the horse’s neck.

The right leg (inside leg) instructs the horse to move over and continue to move forward.

The rider should be looking in the direction of the turn, and prepare for the turn in plenty of time.

Do not turn the horse until he is looking in the correct direction, or the horse will fall in on the shoulder and his head will be looking in the opposite direction.


You should always stay in balance with the horse along with a relaxed body following the movement.

If you are off balance and behind the imaginary” vertical line “, you will cause the horse to be hollow backed.

The horse will be tense and with his head raised.

If you are in front of the vertical line, you will be putting too much weight on the forehand.

As a first time rider you now know how to turn horse left and right, so it's time to move on and learn how to trot.


Just click below for more horse information on how to ride a horse.





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How to ride a horse step by step


Learn how to stop a horse

Learning to trot

Learning to canter

Learning to gallop

Learn Western riding

How to turn left and right

How to get on a horse

How to get off a horse