Horse riding is open to anyone regardless of their background or their ability.
It is very exciting when you go for your first lesson but a lot of people are unaware of what to expect - especially if this is their first time around horses. Here is a guide detailing what you can expect from your first riding experience.
Booking your first lesson
When it comes to booking your first lesson it is important to make the riding centre aware you are a disabled rider. We also recommend asking what facilities they have. You can also check out the centre’s website to ensure they are able to accommodate disabled riders.
The riding centre will ask you a number of questions designed to help you make the most of your first horse riding experience. Here are some examples of questions they will ask:
- What is your riding ability – what experience have you had in the past?
- What is your age, height and weight? (If you don’t know your height or weight you may be measured or weighed when you get to the riding centre)
These are some questions you might want to consider asking the riding centre:
- Do you have riding hats and other safety equipment that I can borrow?
- Who is your riding school accredited by? (We recommend that you use BEF Member Body accredited facility such as The British Horse Society, the Association of British Riding Schools, The Pony Club or Riding for the Disabled Association)
Arriving on the yard
When you arrive at the riding centre, head towards the reception area where a member staff will be able to help your prepare for your first riding lesson. If no one is around at the reception there should be a member of staff on the yard who can help you, but remember to avoid heading towards the fields or horses before you know it is safe to do so. Once you have been greeted by a member of staff they will be able to help you get kitted out.
Getting kitted out
In most cases the riding centre will be able to provide you with a riding hat if you dont have one, but we recommend you check with them when you book. The teaching staff will make sure your hat is fitted correctly and is in good condition and they will ask you whether it feels comfortable or not.
Meeting your mount
It is important when meeting your horse or pony for the first time that you approach them calmly but with confidence as some horses like having their own space. The instructors will let you know if there is anything your horse likes as some of them enjoy fuss and may want to sniff you. Most horses enjoy being patted and this is often used as positive reinforcement during lessons.
Getting on and off
Before you get on, it is likely your instructor will run through what you are going to cover in your first lesson. They will then be able to help you get on and make sure you are comfortable. If you have ridden before and there's a particular aid you require, do make the centre aware when you book.
You will be accompanied by a leader who will help you keep control of the horse by holding on to them. If at any point during your lesson you feel unsure or nervous about something, raise this with your leader or the instructor and they will be able to help you.
At the end of your lesson your instructor will help you get off correctly and they may ask whether you would like to help put your horse away. This is welcomed by a lot of centres and is a great opportunity to get closer to your horse and feel more comfortable around them.