Horse Riding Tips For Beginners

We have many beginners that come to Greenhorn Ranch looking to experience cowboy culture first-hand. While we absolutely deliver on that promise, our first priority is to get you in the saddle safely and to feel comfortable riding a horse. Once you’re at the ranch, our wranglers will pair you with a horse that best match your riding level and personality. Since horseback riding takes center stage at Greenhorn Ranch, our team of expert wranglers are here to guide you every step of the way on your journey to experience the Old West. Our head wrangler has put together a list of his best horse riding tips for beginner riders when they visit their first dude ranch.

Preparing Yourself For The Ride

A horse saddled western style and ready for a ride at Greenhorn Ranch

Horseback riding is a lot more than just sitting pretty on a horse. It’s a full body workout! Your core is working double time to protect your spine and keep you upright. Your quads, hamstrings, and glutes all support the work of your adductors. In other words, horseback riding is as effective as leg day at the gym. If not prepared, you could experience some soreness in muscle groups you didn’t even know you had. The more prepared you are, the better off you will be. Be sure to get in a good stretch before and after your ride.


Just like you wouldn’t go hiking in sandals or mountain biking in a dress, horseback riding is the same way. Be sure to pack smart for your dude ranch vacation and bring the proper footwear and riding gear to be as comfortable as you possibly can. Lightweight jeans and shirts, long socks, and riding boots are all acceptable attire to wear when horseback riding. Keep your eyes on the trail. Once on the trail, you could be tempted to fix your stare on your beautiful horse. We of course want you to admire these amazing creatures but it is very important to keep your eyes on the trail. Much like driving, you need to keep your eyes ahead and focus on what’s in front of you to avoid any obstacles. Don’t forget to take in the gorgeous scenery!


Horseback riding is NOT one of those instances when faking it until you become an expert is great advice. Safety is our top concern at Greenhorn Ranch and we want every rider to have the absolute best experience possible. With that said, trail rides tend to be done in groups and there will most likely be some experienced riders on the trail with you. We encourage every Greenhorn to go at the pace that they are most comfortable. There is no need to try and push yourself or go faster if you’re not ready. The trails aren’t going anywhere and you’re right where you need to be.

A wrangler ready to take a family on a horseback ride at Greenhorn Ranch


Speaking safety, make sure you speak up if you feel that something doesn’t feel right. Our wranglers are there to guide you every step of the way and make sure that your ride goes smoothly. That includes any adjustments to the saddle or your riding position.


Horses are very intelligent animals and have been known to sense happiness, sadness, fear, stress, and anger. If you’ve never saddled up before, or it’s been a while since your last trail ride, try to keep your cool and remain calm. You are in great hands with our expert wranglers who will teach you the ropes in no time. Once you’re matched with a horse that is the perfect fit for your skillset and personality, you’ll find that your worries simply float – or ride – away. Beginner equestrians will soon feel like experienced riders once they’ve taken a few trail rides around the ranch. The tips outlined in this post from our head wrangler should have any Greenhorn feeling ready to saddle up and get on the trails. Remember to have fun – you’re on vacation after all!