Use coupon code "SAVE20" to get FLAT 20% Off


Your Cart is Empty

Back To Shop

How to Control and Steer a Horse in Horse Riding

How to Control and Steer a Horse in Horse Riding


Horse riding is not only an exhilarating experience but also a delicate art that requires skill, finesse, and effective communication between rider and horse. One of the fundamental aspects of horse riding is learning how to control and steer a horse with confidence and precision. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various techniques and strategies to help you develop the ability to control and steer your horse effectively, ensuring a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Read More: How to Choose the Perfect Horse for Riding Discipline?

Some Key Points: Control and Steer a Horse in Horse Riding

Horse riding is a blend of skill, finesse, and communication between rider and horse. To navigate effectively, you must grasp the art of controlling and steering your equine partner. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the most crucial points that lead to mastery in control and steering while maintaining harmony with your horse.

1. Safety First

Prioritize safety for both you and your horse. Ride in a safe environment and use protective gear to prevent accidents.

2. Proper Tack and Equipment

Ensure your horse’s tack, such as the bridle and bit, is correctly fitted and comfortable. Ill-fitting equipment can lead to discomfort and hinder control. 

3. Maintain Proper Posture

Rider posture significantly affects control. Sit tall, engage your core, and maintain a balanced seat to communicate effectively with your horse.

4. Developing a Strong Foundation

Before attempting to control and steer a horse, it’s crucial to establish a solid foundation of horsemanship skills. Focus on building a strong bond with your horse through consistent groundwork exercises, gaining trust, and establishing clear lines of communication.

5. Understanding Basic Aids

Aids are the primary means of communication between rider and horse. Familiarize yourself with the basic aids, including the use of reins, legs, seats, and voice commands. Understanding how to apply and coordinate these aids will allow you to effectively control and direct your horse’s movement.

6. Mastering Rein Control

Reins play a vital role in controlling a horse’s direction and speed. Learn the various rein positions, such as direct rein, indirect rein, and neck rein, and practice their application. Develop soft and responsive contact with your horse’s mouth, ensuring clear and precise communication through the reins.  Mastering rein aids is essential for steering. Learn the basics of direct and indirect rein aids to guide your horse in the desired direction.

7. Utilizing Leg Aids

Leg aids are essential for steering and controlling the horse’s lateral movements. Understand the use of leg pressure, leg placement, and leg cues to influence the horse’s direction and lateral movements. Practice applying leg aids consistently and effectively to guide your horse’s movement.

See Also: Horse Harness: Fitting and Adjustments

8. Harnessing Seat and Weight

Weight Distribution

Your seat and weight distribution have a significant impact on your horse’s balance and movement. Learn to maintain a balanced and centered seat, adjusting your weight distribution to communicate desired movements and changes in direction effectively.

9. Communicating with Voice Commands

Voice commands can complement and reinforce other aids, enhancing your communication with your horse. Teach your horse simple voice cues for commands like “walk,” “trot,” “canter,” and “halt.” Consistently use these voice commands in conjunction with other aids to reinforce and clarify your instructions. While rein and leg aids are primary, your voice and seat also convey cues. Adjusting your voice tone and shifting your weight can influence your horse’s actions.

10. Practicing Transitions

Transitions between gaits and movements are essential for maintaining control and responsiveness in your horse. Practice smooth and seamless transitions between walk, trot, canter, and halt. Focus on maintaining a balanced and rhythmic ride while guiding your horse through each transition. Maintain control over your horse’s speed using a combination of rein and leg aids. Practice transitions between gaits to ensure responsiveness. Every horse is unique. Spend time understanding your horse’s cues, preferences, and idiosyncrasies for more effective control.

11. Building Confidence through Exercises

Engage in various exercises to further develop your control and steering abilities. Set up cones or markers to practice precise steering and weaving patterns. Incorporate serpentines, circles, and figure-eights into your rides to enhance your horse’s responsiveness and maneuverability.

Read Also: Health & Safety: Horseback Riding Activity

12. Progressing to Advanced Techniques

Learn various steering techniques, including direct, neck reining, and opening-the-door methods, to adapt to different riding situations. Once you have mastered the basics, you can advance to more advanced techniques such as lateral movements, collection, and lead changes. These techniques require increased finesse, coordination, and timing, but they will further enhance your control and steer your horse with greater precision.

13. Consistency and Patience

Controlling and steering a horse is an art, so remember that mastering the art of horse control and steering takes time and patience. Consistent practice, clear communication, and a patient approach will contribute to your progress. Celebrate small achievements along the way and appreciate the journey of learning and bonding with your horse. Be consistent with your cues and keep them clear. Horses respond well to precise and repetitive cues, making their training and responses more reliable.

Mastering the art of controlling and steering a horse while horseback riding is a journey that requires dedication, patience, and practice. By focusing on these key points, you’ll develop a strong partnership with your horse, ensuring safety, precision, and an enjoyable riding experience.


Controlling and steering a horse is an essential skill for any rider, and it requires a combination of knowledge, technique, and a deep connection with your equine partner. By developing a strong foundation, understanding basic aids, practicing consistent communication, and progressing gradually, you will gradually gain confidence and finesse in controlling and steering your horse. Embrace the process, enjoy the journey, and savor the remarkable bond that horseback riding brings between rider and horse.

Related Articles:

Importance of Proper Stirrup Length in English Riding

Bridle: An Important Component of Horseback Riding

Benefits of Horseback Riding

The Importance of Proper Horse Saddle Fit for Your Equine Partner

Written by

The author of the article is Alicia Nelson. She is a professional writer who is keenly interested in learning more about horses and their riding essentials. Apart from being a writer, Alicia is interested in equine life and is also a learned person in English riding disciplines. It’s also her profession to gather more and more knowledge about equine life and let others know about it in a correct manner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Your Cart is Empty

Back To Shop