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Do you think not letting your beginner friend ride your horse is a bit mean? 

Listen to this video to find out why you don’t let your beginner friend ride your horse.


Horse riding can be an exhilarating and rewarding activity, but it is crucial for beginners to start on the right path. In this article, we will explore the biggest mistake that beginners often make in horse riding: riding a friend’s horse. We will delve into six reasons why this mistake should be avoided and present a solution to help beginners embark on a safe and enjoyable equestrian journey.

1. Miscommunication and Signal Sensitivity

When riding a friend’s horse, beginners may face challenges with misinterpreted signals. Experienced riders have established a specific language with their horses, which may not translate well for beginners. This miscommunication can lead to unintended movements or speeds, making the experience overwhelming and potentially dangerous.

2. Lack of Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Using ill-fitting or inadequate PPE can put beginners at risk. Borrowing a friend’s helmet, for example, may lead to poor fit and compromised protection. Similarly, wearing improper footwear increases the chances of the foot slipping through the stirrups, which can result in accidents during mounting or dismounting.

3. Unfamiliarity with Individual Horse Behaviour

Each horse has a unique temperament and training history. Riding a friend’s horse assumes that the animal is suitable for a beginner’s skill level, which may not always be the case. Beginners may encounter horses that are too sensitive, reactive, or simply not trained to accommodate inexperienced riders. Such scenarios can be intimidating and potentially dangerous.

4. Lack of Qualified Instruction

While experienced riders may have good intentions, they may not necessarily possess the skills to instruct beginners effectively. A fall from a horse during the early stages of learning can have long-lasting consequences, both physically and mentally. It is essential to have qualified instructors who understand the challenges beginners face and can guide them safely through the learning process.

5. Riding Conditions and Safety

Open areas without enclosed arenas limit control and pose additional risks. In the event of a misunderstanding or loss of control, a horse’s natural response might be to accelerate, potentially turning a canter into a gallop. When combined with obstacles such as ditches and logs, this can become a terrifying experience for beginners, putting them in harm’s way.

6. Hazards of Trail Riding

Trail riding may seem idyllic, but it can turn hazardous without proper control over the horse. Crossing or riding alongside roads without adequate skills may expose riders to the danger of collisions with vehicles. Inexperienced riders must learn essential control techniques before venturing out on trails to ensure their safety and the well-being of the horse.

To avoid these potential pitfalls, it is advisable for beginners to seek guidance from professional horse-riding associations. These associations have stringent approval processes for their member centres, ensuring qualified instructors, suitable horses, and safe facilities. They offer enclosed arenas for learning, controlled environments for beginners, and well-maintained equipment. Additionally, these centers have insurance coverage and governance policies in place to prioritise safety.

Riding a friend’s horse may initially seem like a convenient option for beginners, but it can lead to significant risks and potential negative consequences. By choosing to learn from professional horse-riding associations and their member centres, beginners can receive proper instruction, access suitable horses, and ensure their safety through well-maintained facilities and adequate personal protective equipment. Let’s prioritise safety, respect the equestrian journey, and promote a world where humans and horses can enjoy each other’s company with trust and appreciation.

When has it been a problem to let a beginner ride a horse meant for experienced riders? Share your experiences below.


For more information about careers in the horse industry, visit InternationalHorseCollege.com/101CareersInTheHorseIndustry and access the free download titled “101 + Careers in the Horse Industry.”