The famous English sporting journalist R.S. Surtees wrote that “there is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse”. Although many feel they are too old to learn to ride, this is never true; becoming comfortable in the saddle is largely a result of riding-hours, not what age you began learning to ride.
Before we begin going over some basic information you should know that it’s not unusual to learn to ride as an adult, so don’t feel the least bit embarrassed.
In almost all instances, the best way to learn to ride a horse is with a qualified instructor at a riding school. Not only will they be insured in case anything untoward happens, but they will also be able to determine a suitable rate of progression for you.
A Google search for “riding schools” is sufficient to bring up several suitable locations. You should start by reaching out to them by e-mail or phone, explaining your riding experience (if any), as well as your size, and objectives.
Size is a significant factor, as riding schools predominantly cater to younger clients for which ponies are suffice. Although there is a horse-type for practically any size person, tracking down a riding school with an appropriately sized horse might require contacting several yards.
Once you’ve found an instructor and riding school that can meet your needs, it’s time to start learning. You’ll undoubtedly come along challenging times. In these instances take solace in the fact that everyone who has ever learned to ride a horse has gone through those emotions at one time or another, and you are definitely with the majority.
No matter why you’re learning to ride – to hack, event, ride dressage, etc. – for the first few months your focus will be the same: to become comfortable on and around horses. This is a fundamental part of learning to ride, without which you’ll be unable to progress in any direction.
While you’ll eventually become comfortable enough in the saddle to venture out hacking, the same cannot be said of other areas, such as eventing and dressage. Even professional riders (including Eve Jobs and Jennifer Gates) maintain consistent lessons with instructors to aid their progression as athletes, and you’ll likely follow a similar path if you pursue these challenging disciplines.
Set aside your self-doubt, and investigate your options right away – a life fulfilled is a life worth living.