L’autrice ci descrive gli otto punti che, a suo dire, sono assolutamente necessari per imparare a cavalcare. E non c’è che dire, i suggerimenti sono tutti esatti :).
Find a good riding stable. If you’re a beginner and trying to figure it out yourself isn’t going to get you anywhere. A good riding stable will have an experienced riding instructor, lesson horses appropriate for your level, and a good arena to ride in. When you’re choosing a riding stable, take a lesson or two to evaluate the riding instructor and the lesson horse you’ll be riding.
- The riding instructor should be experienced and good at riding. She should be patient and good at teaching, and though you shouldn’t expect her to read your mind, she shouldn’t pressure you to ride at a level you aren’t confident at.
- The horse should be calm, experienced, and at least eight years old. Though it can be romantic to imagine galloping on a beautiful two-year-old, choosing a seasoned horse who will trot in a circle for half an hour will be more fun and safer.
Prepare your horse for riding. Before you ride, you should groom and tack up your horse with the help of your instructor.
Find your balance riding. On your first lesson, your riding instructor will probably lead your horse or put him on a lunge line while you get used to the feeling of riding a horse. If you feel unbalanced, hold onto your horse’s mane until you feel balanced again.
- If you move at a brisk pace, you’ll be able to feel a rocking motion as you ride. Your seat should naturally move with the motion. Your arms also need to move with the motion of your horse; though you should have light contact with your horse’s mouth, keep your elbows light and move them with the horse.
- When you ride, look straight forward and keep your back straight. About a third of your boot should be in the stirrup, and keep your heels pointing down. Don’t let your leg go too far forward as if you’re sitting in a chair – this is called the “chair seat” and is incorrect. Your shoulder, hip, and heel should all be aligned.
Use aids to control your horse. Aids are what you use to control your horse. They can be natural, such as your hands, seat, and legs, or artificial, such as a crop (whip) or spurs.
- To make your horse move forward, squeeze with your calves. Horses that do not move forward after a gentle squeeze may need your squeeze to have more energy in it. Some people will say lazy or stubborn horses require kicks with your legs or the use of a crop or spurs but if a horse has been correctly educated then this amount of force is not needed. Remember, ask yourself the question, if a horse can feel a fly land on it then why would it need so much more force to get it to do things?
- To make your horse halt, sit deep in the saddle and apply pressure with the reins. You can also say “whoa”. Practice halting your horse without using your reins; your horse should respond to your seat.
- To turn your horse, pull the left or right rein out to the side and apply pressure with your outside leg. You have to add pressure with your outside leg or your horse will turn his head as much as you please – while going straight forward.
Learn how to trot. Once you’re confident at the walk, squeeze tighter and start trotting. You can sit or post the trot.
- When you sit the trot, sit deep in the saddle and keep contact with your legs. Be careful to keep your elbows relaxed, so you don’t jerk on your horse’s mouth – you can also try sitting the trot on the lunge line without reins.
- To post the trot, rise up in your stirrups every other step. Point your heel down and keep contact with the horse’s mouth. When you post the trot, you’ll have to think about diagonals. Horses trot moving their legs diagonally. When you’re moving to the left, you should rise when your horse’s right shoulder is forward. When you’re moving to the right, rise when your horse’s left shoulder is forward. Try to just look with your eyes when you’re checking your horse’s diagonal – you could lose your balance if you turn your whole head.
Learn how to canter. The canter is a rocking gait similar to a rocking horse, except faster. To canter, move your outside leg slightly back and squeeze. Use this signal while you’re at a slow trot; don’t just speed up your horse or he’ll usually start trotting quickly instead of cantering.
- When you sit the canter, your seat rolls with the canter and you stay in the position you normally ride in. Don’t tense up – keep your upper body still and keep a steady contact with your horse’s mouth.
- You can also canter while in the half-seat. You can sit in the half-seat by inclining your shoulders forward slightly (but don’t slump!) and rotating your pelvis forward. You can also sit in the two-point position while cantering, but this is generally only used while jumping.
Have fun with your horse! Riding is an incredible sport, and you can do anything from polo to trail riding. Enjoy!