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Horseback Riding for Dummies

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-08-04
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Giddy up! Your guide to horseback riding is here! 

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a horse’s gallop. Add to that the sight of its mane catching wind as its powerhouse body criss-crosses the boundary of strength and graceful agility. They are majestic creatures to behold—and if you’ve caught the equine bug, Horseback Riding For Dummies is all you need to get saddled up and started on your journey to riding into the sunset! 

Inside, riders at the beginner level will discover the differences between Western and English riding styles, get the knowledge to select the best stable and instructor, and so much more!

  • Choose the riding discipline that best suits your interests
  • Find a qualified riding instructor
  • Learn how to enter the competitive riding world
  • Fit and care for the saddle, bridle, and other equipment 

Once you’ve fallen for one of these beautiful animals, it’s hard to hold your horses—and this guide is here to give you the skills and know-how to take that excitement to the ring!

Author Biography

Audrey Pavia is the former editor of Horse Illustrated magazine and an award-winning writer of numerous articles on equine subjects. The author of 10 books about horses, she has also contributed to Horse & Rider, American Farriers Journal, and many other animal magazines.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 2

Beyond the Book 3

Where to Go from Here 3

Part 1: Horseback Riding Basics 5

Chapter 1: Giddy Up! Welcome to Horseback Riding 7

Discovering the Horse’s Mind and Body 8

Taking Riding Lessons 8

Getting into Riding Shape 9

Keeping Yourself Safe around Horses 10

Selecting the Right Riding Style and Gear 10

Riding High from the Start 11

Preparing on the ground 12

Mounting and dismounting 12

Getting a grip on gaits 12

Jumping 13

Adjusting to Advanced Riding 13

Stepping up your current riding routine 14

Buying your own horse 14

Looking after your horse 14

Enjoying Fun and Games on Horseback 15

Chapter 2: Head to Hoof: The Mind and Mechanics of a Horse 17

Understanding How Horses Think 18

Getting a grip on equine society 18

Interpreting equine expressions 18

Getting along with horses 20

Examining the Equine Body 22

The parts of a horse 22

The height of a horse 23

The buildup: Horse conformation 24

Stepping out: The gaits of a horse 24

Colors and markings 27

Sifting through Breed Differences 30

Realizing that breed may matter 30

Picking through popular breeds 30

Chapter 3: School’s in Session: Taking Riding Lessons 35

Finding the Best Stable for Your Needs 36

The initial search: Identifying stables in your area 36

Your major: Finding a school that offers your discipline 36

Campus visit: Evaluating stables with a sharp eye 37

Choosing an Instructor or Trainer 38

Deciding between a riding instructor and a horse trainer 39

Understanding what to look for in an instructor or trainer 39

When you strike out with stables: Seeking out a different teacher 40

Getting the Most from Your Lessons 41

Deciding between individual and group lessons 41

Setting up your lesson schedule 42

Working with your instructor or trainer 43

Chapter 4: Mind and Body: Conditioning Yourself for Riding 47

Understanding Why You Need to Condition Yourself 47

Getting into Riding Shape 48

Lightening the load: Shedding those extra pounds 48

Developing endurance with aerobic exercise 50

Building strength 50

Cross-training: Practicing yoga and Pilates for flexibility and strength 53

Stretching yourself: Increasing flexibility just before you mount 53

Preparing Your Mind 57

Knowing your role as the horse’s leader 57

Banishing your fear 58

Chapter 5: Safety First: Protecting Yourself around Horses 61

Dressing the Part with Safe Clothing 62

Covering your head 62

Slipping into the right shirt 64

Protecting your legs 64

These boots are made for riding: Donning the right footwear 65

Removing your jewelry 66

Keeping a Close Eye on Horses When You’re on the Ground 66

Being in close confines with a horse 66

Moving around a tied horse 67

Identifying dangerous horse moves 68

Staying Secure on a Horse 69

Checking your tack before you saddle up 69

Riding with others 70

Hitting the trail by yourself 71

Part 2: Getting Set with the Right Riding Style and Gear 73

Chapter 6: Off into the Sunset: Western Riding 75

Looking at the Nitty-Gritty of Western Riding 75

Uses 76

Tack and apparel 76

The horses 77

The ride 77

Checking Out Western Riding Activities 78

Hitting the trail 78

Horsing around at shows 78

Working with cattle 81

Chapter 7: Not Just for the Brits: English Riding 83

Examining the Basics of English Riding 83

Uses 84

Tack and apparel 84

The horses 85

Brushing Up on the Basic English Styles 86

Jumping in hunt seat and riding on the flat 86

Making moves in dressage 87

Chapter 8: Dressing Up Horses with Saddles 89

Going Over the Basic Makeup of a Saddle 90

The Heavy Hitters: Western Saddles 91

The pleasure saddle 92

The barrel racing saddle 93

The roping saddle 94

The trail saddle 95

On the Smaller Side: English Saddles 96

The all-purpose saddle 97

The close-contact saddle 97

The dressage saddle 99

Setting Yourself Up with Saddle Pads 99

Playing Matchmaker as You Fit Saddles 101

Fitting a horse 101

Fitting yourself 103

Chapter 9: Getting a Heads-Up on Bridles 105

Breaking Down the Basic Parts of a Bridle 105

Gearing Up with Western Bridles and Bits 107

Looking at Western headstalls 107

Gaining leverage with Western bits 108

Nosing around hackamores 110

Examining English Bridles and Bits 111

Discovering English headstalls 111

Directing attention to English bits 112

Chapter 10: Equipping Yourself with Other Important Gear 115

Dressing in High Style 115

Choosing clothes for safety and comfort 116

Following tradition: Western dress 117

Staying conservative: English dress 119

Reviewing Artificial Aids 123

A leg up: Spurs 123

Tap it out: Whips 124

Part 3: Settling into the Saddle and Easing into Riding 127

Chapter 11: Working from the Ground, Saddling, and Bridling 129

Handling Horses from the Ground 130

Play catch: Approaching horses 130

Buckle up: Haltering horses 131

Follow me: Leading horses 133

Take care of loose ends: Tying horses 134

Putting on a Saddle Properly 137

Western saddles 138

English saddles 140

Saving the Bridling for Last 143

Chapter 12: Mounting and Dismounting 147

Get Set: Preparing to Mount 147

Checking tack 148

Choosing a mounting location 148

Get on Up: The Mechanics of Mounting 150

Western mounting 150

English mounting 152

Wrap It Up: Preparing to Dismount 155

Get Down: The Mechanics of Dismounting 155

Western dismounting 156

English dismounting 158

Chapter 13: Enjoying the Walk 161

Body Language: Helping Your Riding with the Natural Aids 162

Your hands 162

Your legs 162

Your seat 163

Your voice 163

Asking a Horse to Go for a Walk 163

Western cues 164

English requests 164

Riding the Walk in Western 164

Positioning your body 165

Trying your hand at holding the reins 166

Putting your legs in position 167

Moving with the Western horse 168

Riding the Walk in Hunt Seat 168

Positioning your body 169

With both hands: Holding the reins 169

Putting your legs in position 169

Moving with the hunt seat horse 170

Riding the Walk in Dressage 170

Positioning your body 170

Get a grip: Holding the reins 171

Putting your legs in position 171

Moving with the dressage horse 172

Maneuvering the Horse at the Walk 172

Pulling out all the stops 172

Turning left and right 173

Circling the horse 176

In reverse: Calling for backup 179

Trying a Couple of Walking Exercises 181

Using barrels in Western riding 181

Crazy eights: Turning a figure eight in English riding 183

Chapter 14: Bumping Up Your Skills with the Jog or Trot 185

Asking the Horse to Pick Up the Pace 186

Western jog requests 186

English trot cues 186

Riding the Jog in Western 187

Positioning your body 187

Holding the reins in Western 188

Putting your legs in position 188

Moving with the Western horse 189

Riding the Trot in Hunt Seat 189

Positioning your body 189

Holding the reins 190

Positioning your legs in hunt seat 190

Moving with the hunt seat horse 190

Riding the Trot in Dressage 193

Positioning your body 193

Holding the reins 193

Putting your legs in dressage position 194

Moving with the dressage horse 194

Maneuvering the Horse at the Jog or Trot 196

Stopping the horse 196

Turning left and right 197

Circling the horse 200

Trying Some Exercises 202

Following a serpentine pattern in Western riding 202

Circling jump poles in English riding 204

Chapter 15: Getting on the Fast Track with the Lope or Canter 207

Cueing the Horse to Lope or Canter 208

Western: Telling your horse you want to lope 208

English: Requesting a canter 208

Riding the Lope in Western 209

Positioning your body for Western 209

Holding the reins 210

Putting your legs in loping position 211

Moving with the Western horse 211

Riding the Canter in Hunt Seat 211

Positioning your body for hunt seat 212

Holding the reins 212

Putting your legs in cantering position 213

Moving with the hunt seat horse 213

Riding the Canter in Dressage 214

Positioning your body for dressage 214

Holding the reins 215

Putting your legs in position 215

Moving with the dressage horse 215

Maneuvering the Horse at the Lope or Canter 216

Whoa, Nelly! Stopping the horse 216

Turning in an L-pattern 217

Circling the horse 220

Trying a Couple of Balancing Exercises 222

Look, Ma, no hands! Western lunge line work 223

One-handed English lunge line work 224

Chapter 16: Making the Leap into Jumping 225

Delving into Different Types of Jumping 226

On the inside: Arena jumping 226

Out there: Cross-country jumping 227

Checking Out Types of Fences 228

X marks the spot: Crossrails 229

Get some air: Verticals 230

Go the distance: Oxers 230

Not as scary as they look: Walls 230

A test of stamina: Cross-country jumps 231

Making Your Way through the Jumping Process 231

Practicing the two-point position 231

Taking the leap 232

Riding over Multiple Jumps 234

Getting on the grid 235

Staying in line 236

Being on course 236

Overcoming Jumping Problems 237

Refusing to jump 238

Running out 239

Rushing 239

Part 4: Riding into Advanced Pastures 241

Chapter 17: Graduating to the Next Level of Riding 243

Finding a New Instructor or Trainer 243

Switching Disciplines 245

Growing Stronger with Advanced Conditioning 245

Improving Your Balance and Timing 246

Chapter 18: Taking the Plunge by Buying a Horse 249

Deciding Whether to Get a Horse of Your Own 249

Understanding ownership realities 250

Totaling costs 250

Figuring Out What Kind of Horse to Buy 254

Recognizing the ideal equine personality type 254

Taking age into account 254

Considering your riding discipline 255

Determining your interest in competition 255

Checking out breeds 256

Thinking about gender 256

Walking through the Horse-Buying Process 257

Finding help upfront 257

Looking in all the right places 258

Having a horse undergo a pre-purchase exam 260

Chapter 19: Exploring Horse Care 263

Gimme Shelter: Proper Horse Housing 263

Getting on board with commercial boarding facilities 264

No place like home: Keeping your horse on your own property 265

Chow Time: Dealing with Your Horse’s Hunger and Thirst 267

Feeding your horse 268

Watering your horse 269

Hey, Good Lookin’: Grooming Your Horse 269

Getting into gear 270

Brushing your horse 271

The horse wash: Scrubbing down 273

A Little TLC: Maintaining Your Horse’s Health 275

Providing preventive care 275

Recognizing signs of illness 279

Checking out common ailments 279

Part 5: Having Fun with Other Styles and Activities 283

Chapter 20: Step Up: Riding Gaited Horses 285

Defining the Four-Beat Gait 285

Checking Out Breeds Who Display Fancy Footwork 287

Riding a Gaited Horse 289

Positioning your body 289

Holding the reins 290

Putting your legs in position 290

Moving with the gaited horse 290

Chapter 21: Don’t Fence Me In: Trail Riding 291

Preparing for a Trail Ride 292

Using the right horse 292

Deciding where to ride 293

Gathering important gear 295

Getting ready for a ride of any length 297

Staying Safe on the Trail 298

Following some important guidelines 298

Handling spooks 299

Happy Trails: Minding Your Manners 300

Following etiquette when trail riding in a group 301

Encountering other riders when you’re out alone 303

Sharing the trail with non-riders 304

Chapter 22: Show Off: Riding in Competition 307

Understanding How Horse Shows Work 308

Looking at the judging system 308

An eye on the prize: Placings and awards 309

Surveying Different Types of Shows 310

Learning the ropes at schooling shows 310

Raising the bar at rated shows 312

Welcoming competition in open shows 313

Focusing on breed shows 313

Exploring specialty shows 314

Gearing Up for a Horse Show 315

Preparing yourself 315

Preparing your horse 317

Displaying Good Manners at Horse Shows 319

Behaving yourself 319

Handling your horse appropriately 320

Chapter 23: Even More Riding Styles and Activities 321

The Road Less Ridden: Trying Other Disciplines 321

Holding on with bareback 322

Getting your kicks in saddle seat 323

Sidesaddle: A feminine tradition 324

Horseplay: Surveying Sports, Exhibitions, and Other Equine Activities 326

Taking part in trail events 326

Playing polo, the sport of kings 329

Vaulting into gymnastics 329

Drilling on horseback 331

Riding in parades 332

Reenacting history 333

Traveling with a Horse 333

Field trips: Exploring faraway trails 334

Vacationing with your mount 334

Moving your horse with a trailer 336

Part 6: The Part of Tens 341

Chapter 24: Ten Rules of Riding Etiquette 343

Tie a Red Ribbon on a Kicker’s Tail 343

Go Slowly after You Mount 344

Communicate with Your Fellow Riders 344

Avoid Hollering 344

Keep a Safe Distance from Others 345

Approach Courteously from the Rear 345

Pass Left Shoulder to Left Shoulder 345

Prepare Your Horse for Trail Riding 346

Be Courteous during Water Breaks on the Trail 346

Help Others during Times of Trouble 347

Chapter 25: Ten Horseback Games to Improve Your Riding 349

Simon Says 349

Ride-a-Buck 350

Treasures on the Trail 350

Magazine Race 350

Ride and Tie 351

Red Light, Green Light 351

Follow the Leader 352

Boot Bucket Race 352

Egg and Spoon Carry 353

Around the World 353

Appendix: Resources for Riders 355

Index 359

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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