If you’re thinking of going horseback riding for the first time and have no clue what to expect, then this blog is for you.
I was eight-years-old the first time I climbed atop a horse. I was at a friend’s birthday party, incredibly intimidated by these magnificent beasts, but also fascinated by their beauty. I believe my love affair with horses began in that very moment.
Over the years, I have fallen even more in love with horses and especially horseback riding, but when I share my feelings I realise that there are still a lot of people who are scared of horseback riding. So, in this blog post I’m going to explain just what to expect when horseback riding for the first time. So, keep reading to learn a few things.
For months I have been itching to go riding, and I definitely wanted to make sure I did so before the weather changed. DC’s weather can be temperamental in late summer, early fall. So, I wanted to enjoy the ride against sunny skies.
I decided to go to Piscataway Riding Stable and Horse Farm for an unforgettable riding adventure. This stable is actually located in Maryland, but it’s not a far drive from D.C.
It was not my first time at this stable, as I had last been there in 2019 and had so much fun.
The farm is not fancy, but the animals and the caretakers are friendly.
One caretaker in particular, Ambrose Durham, is especially sweet and accommodating. He’s one of the main reasons I went back because he’s such a natural entertainer.
Horseback Riding For Heavy Riders
A good friend of mine wanted to go riding with me, but he is on the heavier side – about 300 pounds. It was a difficult finding a riding stable that would allow him to ride. We looked up several places in DC, Maryland and Virginia and they all had strict weight limits.
Finally, he decided to just go to Piscataway and ask them if they had a horse big enough to accommodate him, and luckily they did. In fact, they had several horses that he could ride.
The reason most horse riding stables have weight restrictions is for the safety of the horses.
Horses have to wear saddles for the ride in addition to carrying the rider, so they have to be comfortable, that’s only fair.
But, there are some horses that are strong enough to carry heavier riders, like a Clydesdale horse, a Friesian, Belgian or Mustang. “Lucky”, the horse that my friend rode, moved about effortlessly.
What To Expect On The Trail Ride
The trail ride lasts an hour and is very enjoyable. Riders start out with a quick hop on the horse and very basic instructions – to keep their toes up and their heels down. If you’re petite, like I am, they will place a portable staircase on the side of the horse to help you climb on the horse.
The caretakers also caution riders to lean back when going downhill. It helps you keep your balance and makes for a smoother ride.
There were a lot of open fields at first, but then you quickly reach the woods. There, you’ll find narrow water streams, lots of overhanging foliage, squirrels and other woodland creatures.
There’s even a part of the trail that Ambrose calls the “air-condition zone” and I see why because the temperature is significantly cooler in that area. It was a nice reprieve from the heat, considering that the day I went was a scorcher.
What To Wear When Horseback Riding For The First Time
Forget what you’ve seen in the Hollywood movies, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on new clothes or even helmets to wear on the horse trail. It’s a slow trek and you won’t be jumping any fences.
The best thing to wear are fitted, but not tight, clothing. You want to be able to move comfortably. Yoga pants, stretch jeans or tights work.
You will also want to avoid wearing loose tops. Your top should be fitted to your body in the event that you fall off the horse. Trust me, you don’t want anything getting caught on the saddle or a tree.
As for shoes, sneakers or boots work best. Avoid sandals and high heels at all costs.
Prepare To Stop A Lot On The Horse Trail
While out on the horse trail you should expect to stop a lot. The horses will pee and poop and sometimes they just want to eat a few plants along the way, it’s what they do.
Your horse may also stop if the horse in front of it stops to relieve itself. Just be patient, the horse will get back to the ride as soon as their friend is done.
Luckily, my horse, Coco, was a sweetie pie. She was well-behaved and did as she was told. But, she did relieve herself along the way. The riders behind me got an eyeful and I could hear them ewwing and giggling. It’s to be expected. You can watch my video down below to see Coco in action.
Quick Horseback Riding Tips For Beginners
Many people may be intimidated mounting a horse for the first time. You hear so many horror stories of people falling off of horses or being trampled, but I don’t believe that’s the norm. Most horse rides occur without incident.
The horses are accustomed to the trail and are pretty well-behaved.
Horses can sense when someone is timid, so it’s important to ride with confidence. The horse doesn’t want any incidents, either.
If you’re interested in horseback riding at Piscataway Riding Stable, the cost is $60 for a one-hour ride. The farm only accepts cash, you have to sign a disclaimer before the ride and you can walk in with no appointment necessary.
This adventure is worth every penny.
This Bahamian Gyal