Equestrian Training Tips

BEF Update on EHV

Equestrian Training Tips


Discover equestrian training tips for amateur horse riders in the following guide.

No matter if you are a professional 3-day eventer or a novice learning the art of horse riding, regular training is key in your improvement. The fantastic nature of partaking in equestrian sports is the variety of events which encourages engagement with the sport and allows the rider to find their best fit for them and the horse.

Depending on what event you choose to take part in, often determines your training routine and techniques. While it is hard to cover tips for every event, this piece aims to provide some general and universally applied techniques across events.

1. Make sure you are using the correct equipment

No matter what sport you play or take part in, having the wrong equipment can severely limit your progress. For this reason, this is where this list is going to start. Using the correct equipment in equestrian sports is imperative not just for your improvement, but also for the wellbeing of the horse. For example a grackle noseband would not be suitable in the dressage arena, or a dressage saddle for jumping. If you are using the wrong tack and a saddle which are not correctly fitted to you and the horse, the performance and response you will get from the horse will be reduced. To make both you and most importantly the horse comfortable, it is useful for you to look at a saddle fitting guide so you gain a rough understanding of what to look for when choosing the correct saddle (width, design, size of the horse, discipline) for both you and the horse.

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2. Training is a gradual process

Training is all about the gradual progression of you, the riderand the horse. A clear progression through a well thought out training programme for both of you will allow you to achieve a rounded and through development through the necessary skill sets of your event.

It is well documented that the single worst thing you can do in a training programme is to hurry the horse and overcompensate for any progression you may already have achieved. You need to let all the skills you have learnt sink in and give you and the horse time to compute, when you overload your horse with new skills every week your progression will be significantly slower. Also, once you start to rush a horse through a set of skills it may not be ready to carry out, this is where severe injuries can occur and the responsiveness of the horse can slow down and show clear disdain for listening to you.

Benefits of Horseback Riding for Children - child and horse

It is important to remember that for you to partake in an event you need to build a relationship with your horse, as without the horse you simply could not take part. To build this relationship, simple pieces of positive reinforcement can go a long way, reward the horse for what it does well and what it naturally wants to do, build the natural behaviour and temperament as the basis for all your training.

3. Body Language

Having the correct body language is incredibly important when you are working with horses and animals in general. The message you want to give to the animal can be directly countered by the body language you are giving off, and therefore determines the way the animal can react. When you start to approach a horse, they are immediately determining are you a threat or a friend, all of which is determined by the way you approach and the sounds you make.

If you have had a bad day or are subsequently stressed the horse will be able to pick this up from a considerable distance away from simply the way you walk up to it. With this in mind, it is important you watch your body language around horses at all time, and not just when training.

The horse will be paying attention to what you are doing the whole time and be constantly aware of your horse’s emotions and signs they might be showing. Keeping in touch with your horse’s emotions and giving off positive energy, you will gain the best performance out of the horse and most importantly create a strong friendship. When a strong bond is created between you and the horse, more often than not the horse will be at your side for as long as it can be.

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