It can be nerve-wracking to ask to horseback ride someone’s horse. There are a few things you can do to make the process easier. Follow these tips for asking to ride someone’s horse to increase your chances of getting a “yes!”
Growing up as a horseless kid desperate to ride (and 100 miles from the nearest riding stable!) I tried all these methods. Here’s what works.
Method 1: How to Ask to Ride Someone’s Horse in Person
When I was about 11, I got up the courage to knock on the front door of the horse-owner who lived closest to my house. She answered, and I nervously asked to ride her horse. Unsurprizingly, I got a polite but firm “no”.
See, there’s some technique to asking in-person to ride someone’s horse. Here’s a better strategy for asking in person:
- Get to know the horse’s owner. Be familiar and friendly. Say hello when you see them and start conversations.
- Demonstrate your responsibility. Horse owners don’t like to give rides to people who might think it’s funny to kick their horse, or who might act silly and fall off. Instead, prove you can follow instructions.
- Show interest without a direct question. Asking to ride someone’s horse is often too direct, unless you are close friends with someone. Instead, start by saying “I love horses, I’d love to ride yours sometime if you’re open to it.” This takes the pressure off and lets the person think about it. It might even get you an invitation to ride their horse!
- Ask directly. Once you know someone well and they know you are a responsible person interested in riding their horse, you can ask directly. As a familiar acquaintance, you can simply ask “Can I ride your horse sometime?“
If you have a mutual friend, ask that person to introduce you. Once you’ve been introduced, start a conversation with the horse owner.
Method 1: How to Ask through a Letter
Yep, I also did this one as a horseless kid. This time, it worked! With my mom’s help, I typed out a letter on her 1990’s computerized typewriter and sent it to the owner of a local horse farm. A few days later, my mom got a call from the horse owner inviting me to come over and ride one of her horses!
If you write or email to request to ride someone’s horse, here’s what you should include:
- An introduction. Who are you and why do you want to ride their horse? If you have experience with horses, highlight this.
- The request. Don’t forget to include the big question! Be clear if you are asking to ride their horse once or more regularly.
- A persuasive statement. Why should they let you ride their horse? Describe how you’ve learned about horses and why they should let you ride their horse.
- Steps for them to follow up. How can they reach you?
Here’s an example of a good note asking to ride someone’s horse:
Hello, my name is _______. I am a 7th grader at _____. My mom and I bike past your farm all the time and I love seeing your horse.
If you are open to it, I am interested in riding your horse. I have been riding several times at camp and I am a very responsible person. I am a very gentle person and I have a lot of patience.
If you are open to letting me ride your horse, please reply to this email and let me know when a good time for you would be.
Try not to take it personally if your questions or emails are met with a “no”. It’s not personal, I promise! As a horse owner today, I understand that letting people ride my horse is a big legal liability. Without the right insurance on my farm (the kind that riding stables have), I could lose my horse or even my whole farm I let someone ride my horse and they were injured.
Also, not every horse is safe for beginners to ride. There have been times as an adult horse owner that I didn’t own a horse that I could let people ride. If someone asked to ride my horse, I had to say no because the horse was too difficult to ride.
Remember, rejections of your request to ride someone’s horse probably aren’t about you. Keep asking other owners, build your riding skills where and when you can, and try to get enough experience in riding lessons to get paid for riding horses for exercise.
If the horse owner is hesitant, offer to help out around the barn or with the horse in exchange for riding time. By following these steps, you’ll be on your way to horseback riding someone else’s horse in no time!