Does my horse like being ridden?

ridden riding

Horses are not made to be ridden. Their backs are fragile, and they will easily cross their own physical boundaries. That’s why it’s very important to look closely to the cues your horse is giving you. Are they telling you your horse hates riding? Or does your horse like being ridden?

Tacking up

Horses know what’s about to happen when you carry a saddle towards them. Some horses show a lot of anger once they see the saddle. Others are not as clear with their signs. It is very common, but definitely not normal when a horse acts out while being tacked up. Kicking their legs, biting in the air or towards you, swinging their head up and down or walking away from you are ways your horse might be telling you he doesn’t like riding. 

There are many reasons why a horse could act out while being tacked up. It could be because of pain, which could be caused by stomach ulcers. Your tack could also be a cause of the problem if it doesn’t fit properly. It could also be your way of tacking up. A horse is very sensitive and tacking up very slowly and gently can already make a big difference in his reaction.


One of my most common dm’s on Instagram is ‘my horse won’t let me mount him’. ‘Why’ is the only thing you need to think about. Your horse might feel unbalanced while being mounted, stressed, in pain or he might not like having to ride again. You can teach your horse to park in at the mounting block and make it a relaxed situation.

Tension and freezing

If you do get on your horse, what do you notice? Do you feel tension or is your horse’s body relaxed? And is he walking even when you’re not asking him to? Or do you constantly have to prevent him from stopping and freezing?

After you found the cause of your horse’s behavior, it might take a while before he enjoys the rides and can feel relaxed during them again. You can help him by making the trainings fun and easy for your horse to understand. Let him join the thinking process in the training by adding materials. Reward for any wanted behavior and your horse will start to get the goal of the trainings.

Become a member of Happy Horsemanship TV and learn more about reading your horse’s signs, helping him with whatever he needs and finding fun and relaxation during rides again.