When learning to ride a bike for the first time, you need to learn some basic skills. These are the cornerstones of being a good rider.
When you learn to ride, the first thing you need to know is how to stop, wow, or stop. When your trainer wants to stop your horse, they may use any of these words. Most likely, your first step in learning to ride will be walking. But before you do that, you need to know how to stop.
To prompt to stop, close your fingers and squeeze back. The horse should stop when it feels the reins being pulled back. When you use the reins, you eventually learn to use your body, seat, and legs to stop. By stopping your body, you are also prompting your horse to stop.
As you gain skills and improve your aids, you’ll push the seat deeper into the saddle, tighten your back, bring your legs slightly closer to the horse’s back, and squeeze the reins back. Once the horse responds and stops completely, the cueing should stop. This doesn’t have to be forced. Sometimes it helps to exhale when you stop.
Sometimes you need to use a stronger assist, pulling back if the horse is reluctant to stop. “Give and take” as the horse strides forward, squeezing back and releasing until the horse comes to a stop. You can also use your voice to ask your horse “Wow”. Remember, if you’re going to a show, you won’t be able to use voice prompts while you’re riding. Your pause prompt should be smooth. There should be no “dead pull” or yanks and jabs on the reins. Ideally, you want your assistive device to be barely visible.
If the horse is stopped correctly, his nose will be down, it will not swing to one side, and it will stand more or less (with a leg “at each corner”). If the horse is head up, you may have used it too hard. If the horse swings or turns, you may not be able to hold the reins evenly.
tip: Don’t forget to breathe! As you struggle to focus, you may find that you are holding your breath. Natural breathing will help you stay relaxed in the saddle.
Once you come to a complete stop or stop, you may be asked to continue walking, trotting or jogging, or even jogging or jogging, depending on how advanced your commands are. If you stop because the ride is over, give your horse some compliment, maybe a scratch or a pat on the neck. Dismount and loosen the loop or harness if you are riding past the stirrups.
Like any new skill, it takes time to learn to stop until it feels comfortable and natural. Eventually, it will appear automatically and your help will be more effective and unobtrusive.