Common Myths About Horseback Riding

Beautiful girl on sorrel horse in jumping show, equestrian sports.
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There are a few myths about riding horses that could prevent you from learning to ride well. Here are the six top myths about horseback riding.

  • 01 of 06

    Riding a Horse Is Just Sitting

    This myth makes horse riders laugh. It also makes them wish they could make the person who believes this get on a horse and post to a trot or go out on a ten-mile trail ride. Those of us who ride know that it takes much more than sitting to ride a horse. Sitting is something you passively do on a couch, but on a horse. On a horse, you are using many muscles for balance and stability, and your brain for coordination. In other words, riding a horse is actively engaging many parts of your body and mind although from the outside, it may seem sedate.

  • 02 of 06

    You Just Need to Trust Your Horse

    Riders need to understand how horses think, and that our horse's priority is not the rider's safety and comfort but their own. As prey animals, horses are not programmed to be self-sacrificing. Riders need to understand how to convince their horse to 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.

  • 03 of 06

    Scared Riders Just Need to Understand Horses

    While it can be true that people who aren't confident riders are inexperienced and need to understand how horses think, experienced riders can have a bad fall and lose their nerve while understanding a lot about natural horse behavior. 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 some time and outside help.

  • 04 of 06

    Gaited Horses Are Easier to Ride Than Regular Horses

    Gaited horses aren't necessarily easier to ride than any other horse. What people usually mean when they say this is that with a gaited horse, the rider does not experience the bumpy and sometimes jarring two-beat trot. The trot in a gaited horse is replaced by a smoother fast-walk; the specific gait depends on the breed of the gaited horse. Regardless of its gaits, to ride any horse, you still need a good balanced seat and strong legs to be comfortable, confident, and safe.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Horseback Riding Isn't Exercise

    Again, this is a claim that is made by someone who hasn't ridden or worked with horses. The typical goal of most exercise is to strengthen your muscles, increase your endurance, and improve your balance and coordination. Horseback riding does all of these things, and it uses a few muscles, like those along the inside of your thighs, that few other activities do. Exercise burns calories and horseback riding also fits that bill. Lifting and carrying saddles, grooming and spending time in the saddle all contribute to your fitness. Riding is also good for your flexibility and range of motion, particularly in your hips and ankles and lower back. Even when riding at a walk, there are fitness and health benefits to riding.

  • 06 of 06

    Horseback Riding Is for the Young and Athletic

    Is horseback riding only for the young and athletic? Here are a few links that debunk that myth entirely: