How to Set Your New Horse Up for a Successful First Ride


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After looking at horses for sale and bringing home your new horse, chances are that you’re excited for your first ride. Your first ride is also the first chance that you and your horse really have to get to know each other. These tips can help you to set up your horse for a successful first ride.

Give Your Horse Time to Settle In

Some laid-back horses take everything in stride and may be perfectly ready to go out for their first ride on the same day that they arrive at your stable. But other horses will be better off with a few days to adjust before they’re asked to perform under saddle. Use your judgement but don’t hesitate to give your horse some time to settle in before mounting up for the first time.

Check Saddle Fit

Before you mount up, carefully check to make sure that your saddle fits your horse. Getting on a new horse with a poorly fitting saddle may put him in pain and can cause him to act out with poor behavior. If your saddle isn’t a perfect fit, using shimmable pads can sometimes help to improve the fit until you can get a new saddle.

Ride During a Quiet Time

Taking a new horse into a new arena during the busiest time of the day at your stables won’t make your ride go smoothly. In fact, it only adds to the challenge of your ride, since your horse will naturally be distracted by the other horses and by his new surroundings. Instead, try to schedule your first ride for a time of day when the ring is fairly quiet. It’s a good idea to have your trainer present, if possible, to oversee the ride.

Take Things Slowly

Sure, you may have cantered, jumped, and done other exciting things with your new horse when you rode him on trial, but he was in his arena under the supervision of his previous owner. Take things slowly during your first ride so that you can make it a positive experience for your horse. Remember, your horse is learning to adjust to you just as you are learning to adjust to him. Don’t overwhelm him with too much; you’ll have plenty of time for more advanced movements and achievements later on.

Congratulations on bringing home your new horse, and here’s wishing you a successful first ride.

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