Guest Ranch Vacations and First Time Riding a Horse

So you have decided to go to a guest ranch for your next vacation but it will be the first time riding a horse. That’s okay as most guest ranches offer lessons to those who haven’t ridden a horse before  sending them out on a group ride. Horseback riding is a lot of fun but it is important to learn a few basics before riding a horse for the first time.

Horses on the ranch

A Few Basic Horseback riding tips for Beginners:

1)      Before booking a guest ranch vacation find out whether the guest ranch that you want to go to offers lessons for first time riders. If it is your first time riding a horse let them know in advance that you would like some lessons.

2)      Take sensible riding clothes with you on your guest ranch vacation. If you don’t have riding boots you don’t need to buy them unless you want to. Most guest ranches have boots that you can use in various sizes. It is important that you wear something with a sturdy heel. Take a couple pairs of jeans with you as your legs can chafe against the saddle if you don’t wear long pants.

3)      If it is your first time riding a horse, wear a helmet when possible to protect your head in case you fall.

4)      Horses have blind spots so avoid approaching a horse from behind or from the front to avoid getting kicked from a startled horse. It is better to approach them from the side where they can see you.

5)      In the beginning use a mounting block to get onto your horse and always mount from the left-side.

6)      When you are riding a horse on your guest ranch vacation try to remain calm and relaxed. Horses are very sensitive creatures and they can feel if you are uncomfortable and not in control. Be patient and take deep breaths until you feel at ease.

7)      When riding a horse keep your heels tilted down while in the stirrups as this will prevent you from flying over the horse’s head if your horse has to come to a sudden stop.

8)      When riding a horse ,keep your head upright and sit firmly in your saddle and maintain a good posture. Don’t wave your arms around in the air.

9)      To stop, pull your reins back and sit deep in your saddle. Don’t pull too hard as a horse’s mouth is very soft and sensitive.

10)   Most importantly try to have fun and enjoy your surrounding s and your horse.

Heading out for a ride

These are just some of the basics that you will learn about horseback riding if it is your first time riding a horse. Once you feel comfortable with the basics you will find that horseback riding is a fun way to spend time on vacation. There are many other activities at a guest ranch aside from riding but spending time with horses is definitely one of the most enjoyable.

Find your next guest ranch vacation today using our Dude Ranch Finder.

Who wants to go for a ride?

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Related posts:

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  5. Why Not Consider A Family Guest Ranch Vacation This Year?


2 Responses to “Guest Ranch Vacations and First Time Riding a Horse”

  1. Peggy says:

    Awesome tips! I haven’t ridden a horse since I was 14. Question, why can’t you mount a horse from the right side? I watch our Canadian Show Heartland and picking up tips from the show itself on horses. On my bucket list to do a cattle drive.

    • Ashlie Dove says:

      Hi Peggy,

      Glad you like the blog post! Here is some info regarding your question : First, because horses are very one-sided, that is, they only think on one side of their brain at a time (and it’s a very small brain), they can learn something on one side, and not know anything about that particular subject on the other side. So we have standardized the left side as the side the horse is trained for everything, from haltering to leading to mounting. Why the left side and not the right? You have to go back to ancient times when horses were used as war mounts. Soldiers carry their swords on the left side (to reach with their right hand) and so they could only mount from the left or they would sit on their sword. I have been told that in the orient, it is standard to mount from the right, also dating back to ancient times. I’m sure there are other answers to this often-asked question, – See more at:

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