10 Horse Riding Tips for Beginners and Advanced Riders

Welcome to the world of horse riding, where the bond between a rider and their magnificent steed is a truly special one. Whether you are a beginner looking to learn the basics or an experienced equestrian aiming for golds in the Olympics, this comprehensive guide by Alycia Burton and Elizabeth Letts is here to help you become the best rider you can be.

From my own childhood experiences on the farm to the thrill of competing in the Olympics, I have learned that riding horses is so much more than just sitting on their backs and making them move. It is about understanding their emotions, building a total body connection, and most importantly, forming a strong bond with these incredible creatures.

In this guide, you’ll find 21 tips that will not only teach you how to ride correctly and effectively, but also provide insights into the world of horses and help you become a better rider overall. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced rider, these tips will be invaluable to your equestrian education.

Let’s dive in!

Learn More

If you’re interested in horse riding, there are plenty of ways to learn more about this exciting sport. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rider, continuing your education and improving your skills is essential. Here are some tips and resources to help you on your journey:


There are many books available on equestrianism that can provide valuable knowledge and insights. Some of the best books for riders of all levels include “Riding a Horse for Dummies” by Luiza Golds, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Horseback Riding” by Kari Letts, and “The Rider’s Fitness Guide” by Christoph Hess.

Training Centers:

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to learning, consider enrolling in a horse riding training center. These centers offer structured programs designed to teach riders of all ages and skill levels. Check out places like the Elizabeth LLC Equestrian Center or the Pippa Funnell Event Team for options.

Riding with Experts:

In addition to formal training, you can also learn a lot by riding with experienced and talented riders. If you have the opportunity, ride alongside famous equestrians like Isabell Werth or Beezie Madden. Observing their technique and asking questions will help you improve your own skills.

Building a Strong Foundation:

Like any sport, horse riding requires a solid foundation. This starts from a young age, so if you have children who are interested, consider enrolling them in riding lessons. The bond formed between a child and a horse can last a lifetime.

Beyond Riding:

Horse riding is not just about sitting in the saddle. There’s so much more to it. Learn about horse care, training, and sales. Expand your knowledge of horse anatomy, nutrition, and behavior. The more you know, the better rider you’ll become.

Improving Your Skills:

Becoming a better rider takes time and effort. Practice regularly, focus on your position and balance, and work on strengthening your core muscles. Don’t be afraid to try new things, explore different disciplines like dressage, show jumping, or endurance riding. Challenge yourself to always improve.

Remember, horse riding is not just a sport but a way of life. It’s about the connection and bond between horse and rider, the emotions they share, and the joy of working together as a team. So, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rider, keep learning, keep improving, and enjoy the ride!

Improving your lower body position

Having a strong and effective lower body position is crucial for riders at all levels. It not only helps you stay balanced and secure in the saddle, but also improves your communication with the horse. Here are some tips to help you improve your lower body position:

1. Develop a strong core: A strong core is the foundation of a good lower body position. Work on exercises that target your abdominal and back muscles to build a strong core.

2. Work on your leg position: Your legs should hang straight down from your hips, with your toes pointing forward. Use your thighs to grip the saddle, while keeping your lower leg relaxed and in contact with the horse’s sides.

3. Keep your heels down: This is one of the most basic principles of riding. Keeping your heels down helps you maintain balance and stability in the saddle.

4. Use your seat effectively: Your seat is an important tool for communicating with your horse. Sit deep in the saddle and move with the horse’s motion to stay connected and balanced.

5. Relax your hips: Stiff hips can interfere with your ability to move with the horse’s motion. Allow your hips to move freely with the horse while maintaining a stable and balanced position.

6. Lengthen your leg: A long leg helps you maintain a secure and effective lower body position. Work on stretching exercises to increase flexibility and lengthen your leg.

7. Practice two-point position: Two-point position, or half-seat, is a great exercise for improving your lower body position. It helps you develop strength, balance, and stability.

8. Take lessons with a qualified instructor: Riding lessons with a knowledgeable instructor can be extremely beneficial in improving your lower body position. They can provide guidance, feedback, and exercises tailored to your specific needs.

9. Watch videos and read books on riding: Learning from experienced equestrians is a great way to expand your knowledge and improve your riding skills. Watch videos and read books on proper position and technique to gain valuable insights.

10. Learn from your horse: Your horse can teach you a lot about your own position. Pay attention to how your horse responds to your cues and adjust your position accordingly.

Remember, improving your lower body position is an ongoing process. It takes time, practice, and dedication. And most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Every rider, whether a beginner or advanced, has room for improvement. Keep learning, keep practicing, and you’ll continue to progress in your riding journey.

Good Horse Riders Do This

When it comes to horse riding, there are certain habits and practices that set good riders apart from the rest. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced equestrian, incorporating these habits into your riding routine can help you become a better rider and improve your overall performance.

1. Set Goals and Learn Continuously

Good riders always have goals and strive to improve their skills. Set realistic goals for yourself and work towards achieving them. Continuously seek opportunities to learn and grow as a rider, whether through lessons, clinics, or educational resources.

2. Maintain Proper Position and Balance

A good rider knows the importance of maintaining the correct position and balance in the saddle. Practice keeping a straight line from your ear, shoulder, hip, and heel. This will help you maintain stability and communicate effectively with your horse.

3. Build Strength and Endurance

3. Build Strength and Endurance

Riding requires physical fitness. Good riders understand the importance of building strength and endurance outside of the saddle. Incorporate exercises that target the muscles used in riding, such as core exercises, leg workouts, and cardio activities.

4. Develop a Strong Bond with Your Horse

A good rider recognizes the significance of forming a strong bond with their horse. Spend time getting to know your horse, building trust, and developing a partnership. This connection will greatly enhance your riding experience and performance.

5. Practice Proper Horsemanship

Good riders are not only skilled in the saddle but also practice proper horsemanship on the ground. Learn how to handle, care for, and communicate with your horse effectively. This will contribute to a harmonious and successful partnership.

6. Stay Mentally Focused and Present

To be a good rider, you need to be mentally focused and present in the moment. Clear your mind of distractions and concentrate on your horse’s movements and cues. This level of mental focus will improve your riding ability and overall performance.

7. Learn from Experienced Riders

There is always more to learn in the equestrian world. Seek out opportunities to learn from experienced riders and trainers. Whether it’s watching a top show jumper like Beezie Madden or reading a book by Pippa Funnell, there is a wealth of knowledge waiting to be discovered.

8. Attend Competitions and Shows

To further improve your riding skills, try attending horse riding competitions and shows. Watch and learn from other riders’ successes and mistakes. Observing different riding styles and techniques can broaden your horizons and inspire you to strive for greatness.

9. Embrace a Positive Attitude

A positive attitude is crucial for success in the equestrian world. Good riders remain positive, even when facing challenges or setbacks. Embrace a growth mindset, learn from your mistakes, and maintain a belief in yourself and your abilities.

10. Take Care of Yourself

Lastly, good riders understand the importance of self-care. Remember to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. A healthy and balanced rider will be better equipped to handle the demands of riding and perform at their best.

By incorporating these habits into your riding routine, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better rider. Remember, improvement takes time and dedication, but with consistent practice, you can achieve your equestrian goals.


What are some tips for beginners in horse riding?

Some tips for beginners in horse riding are: start with a qualified instructor, wear proper riding gear, be confident but not arrogant, always be aware of your surroundings, and practice regularly.

How can I improve my lower body position in horse riding?

To improve your lower body position in horse riding, you can practice on an Equicise simulator. This will help you develop balance and stability in the saddle. Additionally, you can take lessons from experienced instructors like Christoph Schork or Maren Vogel, who can provide guidance on proper positioning and techniques.

What do good horse riders do?

Good horse riders are confident yet humble, they have a deep understanding of horse behavior and body language, and they communicate effectively with their horses. They also prioritize safety and always take proper care of their horses.

Who are some famous equestrians that young riders should look up to?

Young riders should look up to famous equestrians like Amber Russell, who runs Russell Equine LLC and is known for her expertise in horse training and riding. Other notable equestrians include Christoph Schork, Maren Vogel, and Elizabeth Letts, author of “The Perfect Horse”. These individuals have achieved great success in the equestrian world and can serve as inspirations for young riders.

How can I keep learning and improving in horse riding?

To keep learning and improving in horse riding, it is important to continue taking lessons from experienced instructors, attending clinics and workshops, and reading books or articles on the subject. Regular practice and exposure to different training methods can also help in honing your skills.

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