Wed 11 October 2017 Wed 11 October 2017

Once you’ve booked your lesson with has been chosen and the lesson booked the next thing to consider is what to wear for that first lesson. Although riding wear can be bought from saddlery shops and online equestrian stores it is not wise to rush out and buy these items until you are sure that you enjoy riding and intend to continue for some time to come.

The riding school will have riding hats of varying sizes for beginners to hire for a lesson. Comfortable fitting trousers should be worn - overly tight trousers are not advised as these may restrict movement and prove uncomfortable for riding in, whilst baggy trouser may flap and alarm the horse or pony. Boots or shoes with a small heel should be worn and shoes with a chunky grip on the sole are best avoided.

It is always best to arrive at least 15 minutes early for the first lesson. This will give time to find a suitable hat to hire and also give the opportunity to meet the horse to be ridden and see it being prepared for the lesson, if it has not been prepared beforehand. The first thing you will learn on your riding lesson is how to mount the horse or pony.

Before mounting it is always advisable to check that the girth is sufficiently tight. A loose girth will result in the saddle slipping to one side when mounting.

It is always best to mount a horse using a mounting block rather than mounting from the floor. The use of a mounting block makes it easier for the rider to mount the horse, puts less strain on the stirrup leathers when mounting and decreases the chances of the saddle slipping to one side when mounting.

Mounting a horse or pony is done from the "near" side ie the horse's left side. (The horse's right side is known as the "off" side.) Facing the horse, the reins are held in the left hand and the left hand placed on the pommel of the saddle. The reins should be held tight enough to prevent the horse or pony from wandering off when you try to mount but not too tight that the horse or pony starts to walk backwards.

Then turning to face the rear of the horse, take the stirrup in your right hand, turn it clockwise to allow you to gently place your left foot in it so that the ball of your foot rests on the bottom of the stirrup. An important thing to note is that whilst mounting you should be careful not to inadvertently kick the horse with your left foot as this will encourage the horse to walk forward.

With the reins held in the left hand, your left foot in the stirrup, the right hand should be placed over the back of the saddle (cantle). Then with a small spring, jump up straightening the left leg as you swing the right leg over the back of the horse, remembering to move your right hand forward as you do so, and then gently sit into the saddle.

Once astride the horse, turn the right stirrup clockwise to allow you to place your foot in it, sit up and take hold of the right rein in your right hand.