top of page

Is Your Horse Ready to Ride?

I’ve seen a lot about getting your horse back into work and how to get your horse fit over the last few days but not that much about how to get your horse ready to ride. The best advice I’ve seen is to lead your horse around the arena or lunge him a bit before you get on.

These are both really valuable exercises to do before you ride but how do you know you’ve done enough and your horse is ready to ride? Do you just do a few laps and hope for the best?

Do you know what signs to look for to see if your horse is ready to ride? Here’s some really simple things you can look for to check…

Blinking 👀 - it may sound a bit stupid but if your horse is staring off into the distance, wide eyed and not blinking his attention is definitely not where you want it - on you!!

Head low ☺️ - preferably not on the floor and between his knees 🐎 but head below the withers when standing or moving is a good sign that your horse is relaxing

Licking and chewing 😋 - scientific evidence suggests that licking and chewing is a sign of the horse moving from tension to a more relaxed frame of mind

Tail relaxed or gently swishing flies 🐴 - a wringing or tense tail is a sign of tension that will follow all the way through the back making for a tense ride

As well as looking at all these indicators I also ask myself these to very important questions:-

1️⃣ Could I ride that?


2️⃣ Would I want to ride that?

The answer to those questions might be completely different.

Let’s say you watch a horse on the lunge and he puts in a little buck. First question, if that buck happened while I was in the saddle would I be able to sit it? Next question, would I want to?

You might look at that buck and think “Ah, that wasn't too bad, I'd probably stay on no problem” But you might also look and think, “Do I really want to be sitting on a horse that's doing that?” There's a good chance the answer to that question is going to be a little bit different.

If you watch your horse on the lunge or doing groundwork, and just mentally make note of the answers as well as looking for the signs above it will give you a lot of help in terms of working out if your horse is ready to ride. #DontBeAnArenaDart #horsetraining #horsetrainingtips #horsemanship #horsebloggers


Before trying any training technique it is important to rule out pain or discomfort. Saddle fit, teeth, back, hoof balance and lameness issues should all be checked by a qualified professional before applying any training.

If you have questions or need idea's to help with a specific problem feel free to get in touch with me on


Lyla has been helping riders and their horses in the UK, USA and Europe for over 15 years. She has prepared horses for crowds of over 6,000 people with no calmers or ear plugs for venues including Birmingham NEC, Aintree, Bury Farm EC and Hartpury.

Lyla specialises in horse psychology and behaviour problems with a specific interest in dressage and has worked with horses from grass roots to Grand Prix across the UK and Europe including international competitors and Olympians from Spain, the US, Canada and the UK.

See or email for more details.


All training techniques discussed are from experience only, it is impossible for to accurately advise on horse/rider combinations without seeing them live. Lyla Cansfield & Equine Mind & Body Training strongly advise anyone considering using any of the techniques discussed to get live help and can take no responsibility for the outcome of applying any of the techniques discussed with or without supervision. Riding is a high risk sport.

Featured Posts
Follow Lyla
  • Facebook Classic
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
bottom of page