Central New York, Sports, Syracuse

Beginning a Journey to Horseback Riding Competitions

By Erica Pieschke SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – When watching horse racing on television, the horses and jockey’s can make it look effortless. However,¬†years of hard work and dedication go into training.

Even starting with the first horseback riding lesson, there is one thing that needs to happen in order to succeed: trust. According to Laura Baker, the owner of Baker School of Riding, if the horse trusts the rider, they will allow the rider to be the leader.

“It just means that you’re showing that horse you have the ability to keep them safe,” Baker said. “So if that horse feels safe, then they’re much more likely to be relaxed and to be able to perform.”

This will then allow you to train the horse to learn obedience, flexibility, and balance; this is known as dressage. Baker says that dressage is “the foundation of all” horseback riding.

In a competition, including outside of dressage, a judge will be looking for this in the way the rider guides the horse. This allows judges to assess a horse’s:

  • Fitness
  • Stamina
  • Abilities to work well on the ground
  • Jumping

There are many types of horse competitions, from showing or jumping miniature and draft horses to racing in events such as Belmont Stakes.

Whether racing is what the end goal is or just to have a little fun, Baker said it’s a sport that anyone can try.

“You don’t have to compete to enjoy horses,” she said. “You can just come out and go for a trail ride or you can just really want to learn and become a better rider.”

These are two of the many horses Laura Baker has for her students to ride at Baker School of Riding. (c) Erica Pieschke.

This horse is waiting to get a saddle put on for trail rides at Route 80 Quarry Ridge Stables. (c) Erica Pieschke.