Horse Riding & TrainingHorseback Riding

Too Old To Ride A Horse? Why You’re Never Too Old!

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Think you're too old to ride a horse? Think again! Our blog post explains why you're never too old to saddle up and take the reins of this exciting hobby. Let us help you break free from the age barrier and embrace the joy of horse riding, no matter your age!

Starting Horse Riding As An Adult

If you have been thinking, “I want to ride a horse but I am too old to learn to ride,” then this blog post is for you.

I have seen questions relating to being too old to ride horses all over the internet. 

One of them said, “is 13 too old to start horse riding lessons?” There are many other people posting the same question; just replace 13 with whatever other age.

13 years old is not too old to start riding horses. In fact, it is a great age to start riding. At thirteen, you are young but more mature than a young kid, limber, and strong.

Unlike most adults, you are more attuned to feelings when something feels right and you still have an imagination.

horse riding for adults

Horseback Riding For Adults

If you are older than thirteen, don’t get discouraged. You are not too old to start horse riding .

Whether you are in your young adult years, mid-adult years, or older adult years, you can begin your riding journey now.

Horse riding in your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s… dare I say 90’s can still be possible for you too. 

There is no set horse riding age limit, other than what certain riding lesson barns set in their policies. Most of the time, an age limit at a riding barn is for the minimum age a lesson student has to be.

Now some of you may wonder, “What about horseback riding for seniors?” 

Horse riding for the elderly is not out of the question, but you do need to take extra precautions to be safe.

Senior horseback riding doesn’t look the same as riding for younger adults, teens, or kids, but that’s okay. Horseback riding can bring joy to people of all ages.

Risks Of Riding Horses As An Adult

The most important thing about riding as an adult is that you don’t have any health problems or injuries that can get worse or be aggravated by riding horses.  So if you are concerned about this, ask your doctor if riding is okay for you.

There is always a risk of getting hurt around and on horses, which is why it is important to take proper safety precautions. This will bring the likelihood of getting hurt way down.

As an adult, you don’t bounce back as easily from a fall or injury as a young person.

But as an adult, you also probably don’t take as many risks as a younger person, so you will probably be more careful and cautious.

  • Some ways to mitigate the risks of riding horses would be to take lessons until you are experienced enough to ride on your own. 
  • Make sure your riding instructor is safety focused, and you feel confident in their teaching abilities. It may be helpful to get recommendations and to watch some lessons to see how you like their teaching style.
  • Don’t push yourself while riding to do something that you really don’t feel ready for.
adult horseback riding

Is Horse Riding Hard?

People new to riding horses often wonder about the difficulty level of horseback riding. Is horseback riding hard? Is horseback riding easy? 

Well, the answer is that horseback riding can be both easy and hard, depending on the situation.

When horseback riding is easy,  or should I say easier, that’s when you have the right riding formula.

This would be when you ride a very well trained horse, have muscle memory for your position and aids, and practice things that you know well. 

Other than that, when you are learning to horseback ride, you will find that it is not as easy as you thought it would be.

Especially as an adult, younger or older, it can be hard to ride a horse when you just start. Kids have an easier time being less analytical and more feeling-based.

Riding horses requires a lot of abstract feeling to know when you have it right. 

Although, as an adult, you will have some things easier. Even though you might have more trouble with the feel aspect of riding, you will learn the techniques faster. As an adult you’ll tend to learn faster than children because your brain is more fully developed.

adult learning to horse ride

Everyone Learns To Ride Horses Differently

I know for myself that I am learning new things easier in my 30s than I did in my younger years. Part of that is because my focus is better than it used to be. 

I know everyone is different, though. Maybe you are an adult who easily forgets things that they learn, or maybe you are good at understanding “feel.”

Maybe you have trouble making your body and limbs do what you know they should be doing.

Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and no one learns to ride in the same way.

There are many factors that will affect how you learn to ride a horse. 

  • Your riding instructor
    • How they explain things to you.
    • How safe they make you feel.
    • How often you get pushed out of your comfort zone ( this is okay as long as it is not so far that it is a dangerous situation.)
    • How much they pay attention to your riding.
  • Your age
  • Your body type
  • Your fitness
  • The horses you ride
  • Private or group riding lessons
  • Your strengths and weaknesses
  • The style of riding your learning
  • How often you are able to ride
  • The tack you ride in
  • Your confidence level

All these things I listed can affect the way you learn to ride horses and how fast you get good at it. These factors will be different for every person who is learning to ride. 

Things Holding You Back From Riding

Sometimes our mindset can get in the way as adults when it comes to riding. There may be some things that you are thinking about that are keeping you from starting horseback riding. Keep the following in mind when it comes to starting horse riding as an adult.

Don’t feel bad about not being as good as the other riders your age.  

Or, that some of them improved faster than you. 

Or, that you didn’t ride as a kid and all the other adults have been riding their whole lives. 

Or, if you used to ride as a kid but stopped, and you’re picking it up again.

Or, that most of the beginners that you see are kids.

You get to ride now. You get to learn and improve now. 

Enjoy it; don’t compare yourself. There are many adults who wish they could ride horses. There are many people whose health doesn’t allow them to ride. You get to.

You may be worried about being too heavy to ride.

You can be too heavy to ride a horse. Especially as a beginner rider you will make mistakes and bounce around on the horses more. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ride at all. It just means you need the right horse that can carry you.

Your instructor should be knowledgeable enough to put you on the right sized horse that is comfortable with carrying your weight.

Some barns have weight limits because that is the limit the horses they have available can carry. You will need to be honest about your weight and find a barn that has a horse or couple horses that can carry you safely and comfortably.

There may be times you feel you don’t fit in because of your age. 

Like I said before, often there are many beginners who are kids. You might feel awkward being the only adult newbie. 

You can either own and ride because you love it or you can find a barn that does adult beginner group lessons. 

You can take private lessons or maybe semi private lessons with an adult friend.

Just know, you are not less valuable to the equestrian community because you are starting off later in life.

What matters more than your age is your desire to ride horses.

Maybe you have a physical or mental disability as an adult and you think horseback riding is off the table.

There is something called therapeutic riding.

They have horse facilities where they can accommodate individuals with mental and physical disabilities. So if this is you, even you can have an opportunity to ride horses.

You just need to make sure that you find a program that can accommodate your specific needs.

How To Start Horseback Riding?

Now you know you want to ride a horse, and you are not too old to start riding. The next step is to find out how to start horseback riding.

 What steps do you need to take to start your horse riding adventure?

Here are 7 steps you can take to get started.

  1. Google it. My grandmother tells me to google it when I ask her a question. Some search terms you may use.
    • Horse barns near “town, state”
    • Riding lessons near “town, state”
    • Beginner horse riding near “town, state”
    • Horseback riding lessons near “town, state”
    • Therapeutic riding program near “town, state”
    • Therapeutic horse farm near “town, state”
  1. Check out the websites of potential lesson barns in your area. See what style they teach, the cost.
  1. Call or email the barns you might be interested in and ask if you could check out the barn that you are interested in lessons.
  1. Check the barns out. Meet the instructor. Have a list of questions to ask. Watch some lessons. See how well they care for the horses.
  1. Choose a barn and instructor you liked best and set up a lesson.
  1. Make sure you have all the right gear and you are prepared for your first lesson.
  1. Let your journey begin!

Time waits for no one. Ride the horsey!

If you want to ride horses don’t let your age be the barrier that keeps you from your dream.

Do it at your own pace and have fun while you do it.

Don’t worry about what anyone thinks, focus on the joy it brings.

It may be hard in the beginning but it gets easier and even when it is difficult at first it is fun!

Go for it, ride the horsey!

Cheers, Kacey

P.S. Here are some related articles to getting started riding:

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Disclaimer Notice: Please be aware that horseback riding and related equestrian activities carry inherent risks. The advice and experiences shared on this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional training or advice. Ensure your safety and that of your horse by wearing appropriate gear, practicing safe horse handling, and consulting with certified equestrian professionals. Remember, each horse is unique, and techniques may vary accordingly. Always prioritize safety, respect, and patience in your equestrian endeavors.

Kacey Cleary Administrator
Kacey has been an equestrian since 1998. She was a working student at several eventing and dressage barns. She has owned horses, leased horses, and trained horses. Kacey received an A.S. in Equine Industries from UMass Amherst, where she rode on the dressage team. She was certified with the ARIA and is licensed to teach riding in MA. She has been a barn manager and has run her own horse farm.
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