Horse riding is one of the best ways to see the beautiful scenery of Belize as you travel through the country. Whether you are riding through the forest or visiting the temples seeing our beautiful country on horseback is not to be missed.
An adventure on horseback requires different planning than a journey on foot. The distances are longer, the pathways and roads taken are challenging, and you also need to consider your ability as a rider. For those embarking, or thinking of embarking, on an adventure by horseback who don’t have experience with horses, we have provided some basic tips to get you started.
Approaching the Horse
It is best to approach a horse in an arc rather than a straight line as some horses can become aggressive. Equine experts at Equusite state that a horse has many blind spots and if you suddenly appear they can become frightened so never approach directly from the front or rear. It is best to let a horse know that you are approaching by speaking to the horse to let him know that you are near even though it can’t see you. A very important point to remember is to never to walk behind a horse within kicking range.
Mounting and Dismounting
Getting on and off a horse properly will ensure that you stay safe and don’t fall off. The tradition is to mount a horse from the left side and this is the example we will use. Make sure the saddle is tightly secured and won’t slide off. Western Saddle suggests that the best way to get onto a horse is to first put your left hand on the horse. Keep your hand in front of the saddle while still holding the reins. Then put your left foot in the stirrup so the ball of the foot is comfortable at the bottom. In one smooth motionk pull yourself up swinging your right leg over. When dismounting, do the exact same motion but in reverse order. However when dismounting it is vital that you take both your feet out of the stirrups in case the horse bolts.
To get the horse to move forward gently squeeze your legs. If this doesn’t work give the horse a light tap with both heels. Keep the reins loose so the horse can bob its head as it moves. When you want the horse to stop gently pull on the reins. It is important to always feel in control. If you are a beginner rider, don’t try and make the horse go too fast.
For those who are apprehensive about learning to ride a horse take inspiration from former Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton. After retiring from cycling, she was sponsored by horse racing specialists and Gold Cup analysts Betfair. Pendleton not only learned to horseback ride, but she also competed in the Cheltenham Festival within 12 months. She was routinely dismissed by critics until she competed and finished fifth in her race. She still continues to race till this day. Inspiring, right?
Hopefully this article has given you the confidence to consider an adventure on horseback. If you believe that you need extra information there are many horse riding schools dotted around the country. Seeing while horseback riding is one of the best experiences you’ll ever have!