Horse riding is a hobby that many people are interested in taking up. After all, what could be more fun than riding on a beautiful horse and enjoying the outdoors? However, if you’ve never ridden a horse before, you may be wondering whether it’s the right activity for you. Here are some things to consider before you saddle up:

Age, weight and fitness level

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to start riding when you are a young child. Most stables don’t have a maximum age limit, so if you’ve always wanted to start riding, why not give it a go?  A lot of people worry about their weight too. Studies have shown that horses can comfortably carry 20% of their weight, so even if you are overweight, it’s likely you can still ride and don’t need to worry about hurting the animal. You’ll just be on one of the bigger horses.

The fitness level you’ll need will depend on many factors. You can often start off with short, leisurely rides which won’t require much fitness, and can help you build up stamina and core strength. You can then build up to longer, tougher rides, and horse riding can be an excellent form of exercise. 

The cost of horse riding

If you’re just looking to ride a horse now and again, then look for local stables that hire out their horses and give lessons, as you can pay by the hour and enjoy it as a fun experience.

When you start to get more serious about horse riding, the costs can stack up, especially if you don’t have your own pasture. Boarding can easily run into hundreds per month, plus you need to factor in expenses such as:

  • Buying specialist equipment
  • Shoeing
  • Food – some horses need a special diet
  • Vet bills – horses are sensitive creatures and vet costs can be high
  • Vaccinations

If you are thinking of buying a horse, it’s important to speak to someone who is an experienced, responsible horse owner to discuss what to look for and what costs you might expect. Options such as sharing a horse are often the best bet for first-time owners.

Getting specialist training

Those who get serious about horse riding and own or part-own a horse may also want to consider getting training from a professional. Horse trainer Clinton Anderson teaches owners to communicate with their horses, and this kind of training can be useful for novice horse riders who are uncertain around the animals and need guidance.

Horse riding is the kind of hobby people often get really enthusiastic about and spend a lot of money on when they don’t need to. Take things slow. Get some lessons locally and perhaps volunteer to spend some time with the stable’s horses, so you can see if you enjoy working with the animals. If you don’t mind the early starts and mucking out, you might eventually decide to get your own horse, which can be an excellent way of keeping fit and active and enjoying the outdoors for many years to come.