Do you make the cut? Follow this checklist.

We all strive to be the best rider we can be. It’s what pushes us to train and ride more frequently. There are books, magazines, videos, and online resources that direct us on our journey from beginner to advance rider. We study professional trainers and some may even take lessons. While it’s hard to reach perfection, there are some qualities each of us can hope to embody.

1. Determined

If you’ve been in the horse world long enough, then you know it has its ups and downs. Failure could be lurking right after success. It’s hard to know if or when a disaster will strike. Determined riders keep going no matter how messy it gets. Don’t forget the famous motto- if you fall of a horse, you get back up.

2. Patient

Learning to ride takes time. Those that realize the importance of being patient are ahead of the game. Skipping steps or neglecting a good foundation will leave you further behind in the long run. In the beginning, it can be frustrating learning the basics like posting to the trot or canter transitions, but if you keep at it things improve. Even experienced riders are constantly learning.

3. Empathic

The world can be so ruthless! Always remember that horses don’t speak our language nor did they ask for their situation. Love your horse, respect them, and appreciate them. Take the time to understand how they communicate and learn to work together as a team. People hold onto bad memories just as horses do. It is your job as a good rider to work through issues and develop positive experiences.

4. Desire for Self-Improvement

Right up there with determination, self-improvement is an excellent quality to have in the horse world. These riders create realistic goals that help them strive to be better. They’re open to advice and soak in knowledge like a sponge. Why not take the initiative to improve your confidence, skills, and knowledge.

5. Confident

You need the right kind of confidence to make it in the horse world. What kind is that? It’s knowing what you feel strongly about and standing up for it. Confident riders know when to say no or put the brakes on when something doesn’t feel right. They always put their horse’s well-being before ribbons, money, and glamor.

6. Realistic

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by making goals that are unobtainable. Good riders know how far to push their horse. They know their physical and mental limits. Winning isn’t everything! It can be a good idea to work with a trainer. Let them help you create short and long term goals that match the abilities of you and your horse.

7. Problem-Solver

There are many situations where you’ll need to evaluate the problem and determine the proper solution. Sometimes you’ll have all the time in the world to think things over and other times it’ll have to be a split-second decision. Your horse could have a life-threatening injury, the fields could be muddy swamps, or the hay supplier unable to deliver… Good horsemen and women might not know when a problem will strike, but they’re always ready to find an answer.

8. Effective

How you use your time and money in the horse world is essential to being successful. A rider must be able to take a limited resource and make the most out of it. You’ll always need a new this or that, but when money is tight… can you find a way around it? And there never seems to be enough time at the barn. Excellent time management skills are a requirement for working professionals, parents, and students that want to ride.

9. Capable of Handling Stress

Most people use horses as a way to escape stress, but all good riders know barn life can be just as stressful as regular life. There are injuries, competition, monthly and yearly expenses, gossip and drama, and lots of other unplanned situations. You must know how to cope with stress if you plan to make it as an equestrian.

10. Able to Identify Talent

Picking out a good horse or instructor requires the ability to notice talent. It means reacting with your head first. These riders don’t get swept away with fancy clothes or names. They can see the real and natural skills of those around them.

These qualities don’t come overnight, but all riders should strive for them!


Emily Fought
November 13, 2018