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Starting Green Riders

The A, B, & C’s

So much has been said about the need to of the correct way to start of youngsters to the saddle, with progressive training so the green horses have the right attitude, are well-balanced and able to understand the communication between rider and horse under saddle. This could be called the A, B, C’s of teaching horses to accept the rider.

What about correct way and the A, B, C’s of teaching beginner riders to ride the horse?  Green riders also need to be educated with progressive training so they have the right attitude, are well balanced and are able to communicate with their horse.

A = Attitude

Green horses or young horses need the correct attitude. This must be a mixture of confidence and respect. They should have the confidence to trust people, even when their instincts tell them otherwise.  They also should have the respect to not challenge and also to realize that people are higher in the pecking order than they are.

Green riders or beginner riders also need the correct attitude and a lot of this has to do with confidence and respect. They will gain confidence in their instructor as they realize the instructor will not ask anything of them that they are not ready for. The beginner rider will gain confidence in their horse when they find the safest position to be in, both on the ground and astride. The respect for the horse is gained as they are trained by their instructor about the natural instincts of the horse and to learn what the horse is capable of when they are reacting out of fear and instinct.

B = Balance

Young horses need to learn to balance under the weight of the rider. If the horse is well built and strong this should not as long as it takes the rider to learn to balance. Of course there should be no excessive demands on the horse as they learn to cope with the extra weight of the rider.  The horse will learn about suppleness, bend and straightness, going on circles, up and down hills as well as having the ability to stay balanced through changes in length of stride and transitions.

Beginner riders on the other hand need a longer time to develop the strength to balance himself or herself on the horse without interfering with the horse’s natural movement. This will happen over a period of time and under the expert eye of their horse-riding instructor. The instructor will encourage them to stay balanced without the need to rely on reins or stirrups. In time the green rider will develop a balanced, independent seat.

C = Communication

As part of their training the green horse will learn to listen to the aids of the rider so the rider is able to use their aids to communicate with them. Without these aids, the horse could be a large dangerous animal who may not be suitable for domestication. Over a period of time the horse learns to go forward, backwards and sideways through a series of subtle movements of the rider’s body.

The beginner rider needs to learn to communicate with the horse through using subtle aids. Beginner riders can be rough or cruel if they are not well balanced or if they have the wrong attitude and are scared.This can also be done through ignorance and lack of education which is why it is essential for the beginner rider to have the correct instruction from the beginning.  The beginner rider needs to be educated by their instructor about how sensitive a horse really is, particularly in the areas of the bars of the mouth and the back.


Needless to say, the training of the green horse and the green rider does not start together. The green horse should start with an experienced horse person and the green rider should start with a schoolmaster under the guidance of an expert horse-riding instructor.