Common Myths about Horseback Riding
When it comes to horseback riding, you need to understand how horses think. Their first priority is not the riders safety and comfort but their own.
As prey animals, horses are not programmed to be self-sacrificing. Riders need to understand how to make their horse trust them by always being consistent and good leaders. If you let a horse think for itself and trust it to make its own decisions, you are asking the horse to be a leader, and that can lead to problems. Being the leader is your job. There are many stories about horses that have saved their rider’s skin through some harrowing experience. However, as romantic as these stories are, it’s more likely that the horses extricated themselves from a bad situation, and the riders were able (by luck or skill) to stay aboard.
Horses Like To Be Ridden or enjoy certain sports
There are three motivating forces in a horse’s life: eating, reproducing and seeking safety. While some may be more willing workers than others, no horse has ever jumped a course of fences, gone out for a long hike, performed a dressage test, cut cattle or run the barrels on its own whim. Left to themselves horses like to eat, feel safe with their herd buddies and reproduce. And while a well-trained horse can do many things for a rider, it’s unlikely they will ever offer to do any of those things unasked. A lot of people don’t like this fact, but horses don’t like to be ridden.
Does this mean we shouldn’t ride them? The trade-off for being ridden or driven and having their reproduction controlled is that we take care of the eating and safety part of their lives. Everyone needs a job. Not everyone likes their job. And because our horses have no choice, we need to ensure we are making that job as comfortable as possible by learning to ride well and taking care of things like saddle fit and proper nutrition.
People Afraid to Ride Just Need More Experience in Understanding Horses
It’s a myth that people who aren’t confident riders are inexperienced riders who need to understand how horses think. If that were true, then there wouldn’t be riders with years of experience working with and riding horses suddenly finding they’ve ‘lost their nerve’. Whether it’s a result of a bad accident, or you’ve just started playing a game of ‘what if’ in your brain, loss of confidence can happen to the best of riders. The good news is, fear can be overcome. It just may take sometime and outside help.