1. Jo

    Great topic!

    It’s been a looong time since I’ve been on a horse and even longer since being in a western saddle. I’ve mostly ridden English and usually only ride western for trail riding.

    I like how you emphasized deep breathing, relaxation, and having fun. Everyone should remember those things, even experienced riders!

    • Martina

      Hey Jo!

      I completely agree with you that even experienced riders can sometimes tense up – especially if they’ve had some accidents in the past or are competing and simply letting the stress of the competition and winning get the better of them. For all levels, it can become really easy to forget to just relax and have a good time when you’re on a horse! As I mentioned, this is really what it’s all about in the end 🙂 And the more fun you have, the more fun your horse will have!

      And I’ve talked to so many riders who’ve been out of the saddle for a while – myself included a while ago! I took several years off of riding and sometimes you can get up in your own head when you go back to it.

      Hope you decide to start riding again at some point Jo!



  2. DamronDuo

    This article popped up at a perfect time! My husband is a big time country boy and he has been looking into getting back into bull riding. I kindu don’t want to be left out, so I’ve been looking at lessons and eventually competing in something myself. Love these beginner tips! Currently the only female friendly competition to someone just getting started that I’m aware of is to train for barrel racing. Are there other’s you could suggest to start off with training for eventually? Thanks!

    • Martina

      Hey there! Ahhh I’m so excited for you – getting started with riding is such an exciting time and I know you’re going to love it. I also wish your husband the best of luck getting back into the swing of things in the rodeo and bull riding!

      Yes you’re right, with a lot of Western style and rodeo events, it’s still more of a “man’s world”. However, there’s still some events that you can compete in! I would even go as far to say that you could do any of them if you really want to but some events definitely will take a lot more effort to work your way into then others and you could get some interesting looks…haha

      For more of the women-friendly events, I would look into like you mentioned barrel racing, reining and roping.

      Reining is kind of like Western dressage where you’re focused more on control and discipline rather than speed or high risk activities (like bronc riding). Roping is being able to rope like a calf for example from horseback and it’s usually a timed event. There’s also team roping that’s pretty fun where you rope one end and your partner ropes the other end of the calf. It takes quite a bit of skill but it’s definitely fun!

      Here’s a link to the Women’s Pro Rodeo Association – I think you might find it helpful to look more into: http://wpra.com/index.php

      Here’s another link to a freestyle reining performance (with music! haha) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgzuyvFOLik

      Hope this helps! Don’t hesitate to comment back or e-mail me if you have more questions (martina@equestrianbootsandbridles.com)



  3. Allie

    I have been involved with horses since childhood as a trainer, coach, judge & breeder. Just want to say that your explanation for the beginner rider is excellent! Should certainly help a new rider become more comfortable and even some good tips for us oldies. And stressing the fun part is a bonus, many forget to just enjoy their surroundings. I have an equine related website too but mine is relating to healthy natural alternatives if you care to have a peek?

    • Martina

      Hey there Allie!

      Thanks so much for your positive feedback 🙂 Feel free to add anything that you think is missing as well. It’s interesting to hear that you have experience breeding! I’ve never really bred horses before so it would be awesome to learn something about that – I’ll definitely check out your site on healthy natural alternatives. I’ve actually just been introduced to this new all natural shampoo and conditioner that smells amazing by Sun Horse! I’m going to give it a try and I’ll probably write a review on it that I hope you check out as well

    • Martina

      Hey Morgan,

      Thanks for your question 🙂
      If you mean from a trot, let’s say I’m going clockwise – I like to trot down the long side of the arena and then at the corner, I’ll pull my left heel back behind the girth, keep my right heel forward and give a kick with my left leg. At the same time, I’ll push my hands forwards making sure there’s no pressure on the reins giving mixed signals. By asking in the corner, the horse should instinctively start the canter on the right lead because they’re turning right. By doing this enough times, you’re also associating your leg cues (left leg back) with the right lead.

      Once you’ve mastered this, then you can begin asking for the correct lead from a trot during a diagonal change. And eventually you’ll be able to do a lead change half way through a diagonal at a canter by switching the position of your legs and kicking with the appropriate heel back.

      Hope this helps!


  4. Clay Westfall

    I would like to thank you for your website! I grew up loving horses, but I had a pretty bad accident when tearing through the woods one day. I never climbed back on a horse, and it’s been that way for 40 years. I can’t believe it, but reading through your article makes me want to get back up there. Thank you for your inspiration!


    • Martina

      Hey Clay, 

      Awww thank you for your kind words – that sounds really scary. I’m so happy you found our website inspiring 🙂 



  5. PKarlsson


    I really liked your article althoug I have never been riding a horse my self. The only experience I have was with a girlfriend I had when I was a teenager. She and her family had a lot of horses that they trained and I remember that I was scared to death all the times when we were at here home 😉

    Anyway, I found your article to be very interesting because I’ve been thinking recently I should try it myself before I’m getting to old.


    • Martina

      Hey Patrik! 

      No such think as too old to horseback ride – and I defintely think you should give it a shot. You can book a trail ride at your closest ranch and just take it at a walk 🙂 



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