Category: Trail Riding

Horseback Riding: The Basics

Horseback Riding: The Basics

Horseback riding is great sport that almost anyone can take part in, but riding can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.  That being said, learning how to ride is not that difficult, after all before cars people got around on horseback for thousands of years.  If you are new to riding you should definitely invest in some lessons.  The riding instructor will teach you horseback riding: the basics and everything you need to know to stay safe while riding. In the meantime here are some tips that you should know.

Where to Walk

First and foremost you should follow the rules that your riding instructor gives you at all times they are there not just for your safety but that of the horse too.  The first rule is never ever walk right behind your horse.  When the horse hears you but can’t really see you behind them they have a tendency to kick.  Getting kicked by a horse may look funny in the movies, in the real world it can cause serious injuries and even kill you.

Hats and Helmets

Always wear a riding hat or helmet, getting thrown from a horse is almost a rite of passage and the last thing you want is a concussion from falling.  At the same time, you should also have a good pair of boots, they will help you keep your feet stable in the stirrups as you’re learning to ride.

Don’t go alone

You’re first couple of times it is not recommended that you head out on the trails solo.  If you get thrown or hurt yourself you can find yourself in a heap of trouble.  Even the most experienced rider can find themselves in trouble, at the very least tell someone where you will be going and what time you should be back.

Handling Your Horse

How you mount and dismount your horse is also something that you need to learn along with keeping your balance and handling the reins.  Always keep your hands low and in front of the saddle, this helps you to maintain your center of balance by keeping your center of gravity low.  Here is a video showing you how to mount and dismount your horse.

When first learning to ride having a well-adjusted horse that is neither skittish nor nervous will help too.  The most important skill is learning how to stop your horse when necessary, firmly pull back on the reins, it pulls the horses head back bringing him to a halt.  Horses will go where you want them to once you learn how to give them proper signals and that’s when riding is fun.

Horseback Riding with the Navajo

Horseback Riding with the Navajo

Utah has some of the most incredible terrain in the entire world with mountains in the backdrop and vast canyons to be found in the state.  It was once part of the wild west and today it is filled with National Parks like Zion, Bryce and of course the Grand Canyon.  Millions of tourists flock to Utah every year to go skiing, visit the parks and just get in touch with nature.  The scenery in Utah is so spectacular that Hollywood drops by to take advantage of the natural beauty of the state as a backdrop for dozens of movies.  If you really want to get into places rarely visited by tourists then horseback is the way to do it, try horseback riding with the Navajo.

The Trail Ride

Not only can you see the beauty of Utah, but you can witness the ancient Anasazi Civilization that has been drawing in archeologists for decades.  The Navajoland Ride will take you through the incredible Canyon de Chelly.  Deep in the heart of Navajo country you can witness towering walls that were carved out by ancient glaciers.  As you traverse the valley you can see ancient cave dwelling that are high up the cliffs where the kept intruders away.

If you take the Winter Pasture Horseback Ride you can go right into the Grand Canyon, tourists don’t often go into the canyon through the Utah side.  Coming in from Utah has a lot of advantages, the climate is milder and it protects the local wildlife from the fierce winter storms that blow through Utah.  There are benches and meadows that you can stop at along the route.  Visiting the canyon from the Utah side on horseback is an incredible ride.  During the fall you can witness the cattle drives that move the cattle from Utah to Arizona for the winter months.  It is like stepping back in time as you watch real life cowboys do their thing.  Here is a look at the canyon from the Utah side.

Always make sure that before you set out on the trail that you have a surefooted experienced horse that doesn’t mind the terrain.  There are plenty of guides that can take you on the trail, these are third and fourth generation cowboys who know the area and can give you a local’s perspective on the history of the area.  This is a Western experience that you can’t even imagine…think of “City Slickers” it’s much like that, only without Jack Palance.