Benefits of Riding Different Horses
Most riders who are interested in horse training Toronto are waiting for the day they can own a horse, dreaming of finding their “perfect match” and developing the unbreakable bond between horse and rider. This fantasy of owning a horse often makes people forget that riding different horses is beneficial to improving essential riding skills and helps to build rider confidence as every horse has a new experience to give and a new lesson to teach.
What Are the Advantages of Riding Different Horses?
Refinement of Aids and Identify Gaps
Every horse has a different reaction to rider aids, some horses are very particular and will only execute the movement if the rider’s aid is precise. Others, especially trained school horses will execute movements even if the aid is incorrect or lacking precision. School horses are great for beginners who need to gain a feel of transitions and different movements, but as ones riding progress, these obedient school horses begin hiding rider flaws. Riding different horses will allow riders to sharpen their aids and practice giving aids to horses of different sizes, who all react to aids differently. This is essential to improving riding skills, as only riding the same horse can hide flaws and result in the creation of bad habits. Riding new horses will help riders identify these gaps and refine their aids all at the same time.
Every day brings new challenges to overcome when horseback riding. Whether on property or at a show, your horse may act differently due to changes in its environment. Riding different horses allow riders to become more adaptable, and increase their ability to problem-solve while riding. Jumping the course, or completing the dressage test at a show will not be so overwhelming since you have done it on many horses. The increased ability to adapt to changes and think on the spot will improve one’s confidence when riding their own horse.
Experiencing Different Training Levels
Horse-rider pairings can often be categorized in two ways; either the horse is training you, or you training the horse. It is good to ride different horses as you will be able to experience riding horses of many training levels. You may be focused on training your horse to learn new movements, and how to better be on contact. This can become a struggle if a rider has not truly felt these movements, so riding a trained horse would allow the rider to do so. Riding a highly trained horse can allow a rider to experience high-level movements beyond the rider’s current capabilities. After gaining a feel for these movements it is much easier to replicate them on another horse, or even teach them to a horse being trained.
Each horse feels very different to ride, as they are different shapes, and sizes and have different stride lengths. Riding a new horse can take a while to get used to, if a rider is used to riding a small pony with a quick stride, riding a large horse that is very elevated will be a challenge. At first, riders may feel they are getting bounced out of the tack, or are unable to sit to the horse’s strides. The more horse you ride the better your ability to tide new horses will be. Practice makes perfect, and the good thing about riding different horses is that your balance will quickly improve due to the amount of adapting being done.
Determining the Source of the Problem
When riding many potential issues may arise, derived from horse or rider alike. Riding a variety of horses will help identify whether an issue is due to rider error, or horse related. A rider may be struggling to get clear transitions on their aid, but not know why. Riding a new horse will help show the problem because if the issue carries over to each horse, it is a rider error, not an issue with the horse.
Become a More Well-Rounded Rider
Building your rider “toolbox” is an essential aspect of riding, as each tool contributes to becoming more well-rounded. The more horses your ride, the more situations you are exposed to, and each new horse will give you a takeaway. These takeaways and skills learned will be stored in your “toolbox” and can be used in the future. Furthermore, different horses may allow you to try different disciplines. A hunter or jumper would learn a lot from getting to ride a highly trained dressage horse. These learned skills could be brought back and used on their own horse, and then improve their jumping. Being well-rounded will allow riders to be successful on any horse in any situation they may encounter in the future.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Riding Different Horses?
No matter how far along your riding journey you are, riding different horses is an essential part of continuous improvement. Saying this, at times consistency is key. If a rider is trying to learn how to properly collect a horse and get them on the bit, it will be necessary the consistently ride one horse, so the rider can familiarize themselves with the feel for the horse. Riding a different horse every lesson would make it impossible for the rider to develop this skill as they would be constantly trying to adjust to a new mount. The key is having a balance between riding different horses and having a horse to ride consistently. With balance, there is not a single disadvantage to riding different horses.
So, is it good to ride different horses? The answer is an absolute yes. Riding new horses is beneficial to developing rider skills and allows riders to continuously improve through gaining new experience on different horses. Each horse has a different personality, feel, and reaction to aids, all reasons why it is so important to ride different horses when building your rider “toolbox.” Riding a new horse might just be the next big step in improving your riding capabilities.
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