Do Horses Actually Like To Be Ridden?

Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by Allison Price

Every friendship requires giving and taking. Do you give enough to your horse so they can enjoy your friendship? Horses were wild and free before man could adapt them to his needs. Horse owners must ensure that their relationship with horses is one of friendship, not slavery. The question is: Do horses like being ridden?

Every Horse is Different

Horse personalities can be as diverse as human personalities. Although there are some general types of personality, it comes down to the individual. One horse may whine and run when they see you at the gate. One horse may come to you and then run the other way. Another horse might greet you, provided you don’t hold a halter/lead rope. How do you know if a horse enjoys being ridden?

Establish a Relationship based on Respect and Trust

For a strong friendship, it is important to have respect for your horse. The foundation of a good relationship is on the ground. We discuss in our article 15 Important Ground Rules for Horse Safety the importance of horses wanting to work for the love they have.

Horses that love their job will be more productive, safer and, most importantly, more fun to be around. Stacey Westfall’s famous, bareback-freestyle reining championship ride is an example of a horse who loves his job. This is possible by building trust and working together with your horse. Horses that are unhappy with their job might be barrel horses fighting to not go in the arena. This is often caused by excessive use of spurs.

Do Horses Actually Like To Be Ridden?

Be the team leader

You must be the leader of the horse/human friendship. Horses are hardwired to follow a hierarchy structure because they are herd animals. While you want to build a loving relationship between your horse and yourself, it is important to keep your horse safe. Your horse must understand that you are telling it what to do. A 175-pound person can lose to a horse that is 1000-1200-pounds heavier than a horse that is 1000-1200-pounds. While it is important to lead a team, you must also remember that there is a fine line between leading and being abused.

Horse had a bad experience

Horses can retain a lot of memories, even those from bad experiences. Horses that have been abused or hurt will not enjoy being ridden. Although they might be able to do the work, they don’t enjoy it. To earn trust from an abused horse, it will take patience and a lot of time. You can make your horse a trusted friend once you have gained their trust. The horse’s tolerance for riding will vary depending on how much abuse they have suffered.

Horse Reacts When Ridden

Cold back is a condition in which a horse acts out when it first gets on. How to Help Horses. Horses acting up while being ridden can be due to three main reasons: The horse is too green and requires more wet blankets, pain or personality. Start looking for signs of distress if your normally well-behaved horse suddenly acts up while being ridden. Horses can become anxious about the unknown, which can lead to them acting out. When you and your horse are faced with something frightening, it is important to establish a trusting leadership role.

Signs Your Horse Loves to Be Ridden

We discussed above how to build a strong relationship with your horse and encourage your horse to ride. We then discussed the reasons horses might not like to be ridden. Here are some signs that your horse enjoys riding.

  • Relaxed facial expression
  • Ears should be perked up and not pinned
  • Lips licked
  • Relaxed even gait (definitely no bucking)
  • Responsive to your commands
  • Willingness to do things which are contrary to their nature
  • Stands still to be saddled or bridled
Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!