Fun fact | Okay, horses officially trump Zoolander – they’re all about their left sides. Back in the day, soldiers wore their swords on the left hip, so if they mounted their horses on the right, they would sit on their weapon. As a result horses have been trained to expect human activity – leading, saddling and mounting – from their left. Noted.
Need to know | To mount your horse, place a mounting block on the horse’s left side and put the reins over the horse’s head. Then stick your left toes into the stirrup, put your right hand on the back of the saddle, and gently hoist yourself straight up, swinging your right leg carefully over the horse’s back to sit down gently. Voila! Pro-status achieved.
Walking the walk | Imagine you’re a marionette, held up by strings: sit up tall, keeping your shoulders square, your heels down in the stirrups and your focus ahead, in between the horse’s ears. When ready, advance from walking to trotting to cantering.
What to wear | Leave the shorts at home – if you rock bare legs, you’ll cop a chafing. You’ll need sensible enclosed shoes that won’t slip, and a comfy shirt. Most stables provide headgear – if not, just bring your bike helmet.
WHERE TO GO
Forge Farm Riding School provides a Pub Ride for those who want to enjoy a hearty meal with their ride. Yes, please! Forge Drive, Chidlow, 9572 4445.
Avonlea Farm Riding runs lessons Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 4pm, 4:45pm and 5:30pm, catering for beginner and advanced riders. 425 Victor Road, Darlington, 9299 7552.
Perth Horse Riding Centre specialises in teaching beginners to manage and ride a horse or pony, with lessons available for anyone over five years old. You can also learn grooming, hoof care, ground work, tacking up, riding, and washing and cleaning of tack. 73 Twelfth Road, Haynes, 0418 943 776.