Horseback Riding in Vallarta · Nayarit
Vallarta · Nayarit is a cosmopolitan destination that hosts high-end attractions to meet the demands of residents and visitors who know how to take advantage of it. Those who wish to begin riding or improve their skills will be happy to know about Ecuestre Bucerías, the only equestrian club in the region that is registered with Federación Ecuestre de México (the Mexican Equestrian Federation).
To learn more about this discipline and its benefits for the body, we talked with Ecuestre Bucerías owner and director Amandine Porte, who offered us a brief guide for beginners and what to keep in mind when starting.
The First Step
“To practice riding in any of its disciplines, we must take into account that it is a matter of interacting with a half-ton living being, a harmless animal—as long as man has not made it aggressive—that usually responds according to how we have treated it,” he says.
What Does It Consist Of?
The goal of riding is to maintain precise control over the horse, and it requires good care and grooming of the animal by the rider. At the basic level, the main thing is to learn to ride, but as you advance you can jump, race, herd cattle and participate in shows and dressage.
To practice riding is to understand the horse, to try to improve as a person through a sport, a passion. You cannot be a good rider before being a good person.
Ecuestre Bucerías offers lessons in English (as opposed to Western) riding, where “the rider should sit upright in the center of the saddle, shoulders back and with the back arched. The hands are placed down and in front of the saddle, so that the reins and arms form a straight line from the bit to the elbow. A rein is held in each hand, and the horse is guided with a slight pull toward the side the rider wants it to turn. The stirrup supports the foot with the heel pressing down slightly, the knee bent and the calf vertical. A well-adjusted stirrup should reach the ankle bone when the leg is allowed to hang freely from the saddle.”
Ages and Categories
“The ideal age to start is four, when children are still developing their mental abilities. Since each human being and each horse is different, I have seen six-year-olds who are already out competing or who jump a considerable height and children who are eight or more who are not ready yet. As in all sports, the sooner you start, the better chance you have. On the other hand, the maximum age is what your body will handle. At my school, riders older than 70 come in and ride every day.”
This is the only sport where competitions are not regulated by sex or categories. “Everyone can compete at the same level. It is not so much the physical part, but rather the feeling and the mental aspect.”
Riding is governed by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports and has been included in the Olympics since 1900 in the disciplines of jumping, dressage and eventing.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
“The only thing you must bring is the desire to ride. Each person evolves at a different speed, and there are those who love horses, but have tremendous fear. The first class is completely private, because the beginning is very important and we need to see the rider’s initial reactions. Depending on the result, we determine if you can join a group or if you need more private classes, which I give on my own, since the goal is for the beginner to feel comfortable, safe and in control. Regarding dress, you will need long pants and closed shoes. During the first month, we provide all the necessary equipment: helmet, crops and chaps. By the second month, it is ideal if the rider has his own equipment.”
In addition to developing musculature in the legs, abdomen and back, riding strengthens joints and improves balance. This sport requires dexterity, decision-making, attitude, perseverance, time, dedication and, above all, great concentration. It also promotes socialization, enhances positive values and develops self-confidence, self-control and self-esteem. “We have seen a very positive trend in those who practice riding, because it becomes a whole way of life. You come for the horses and you end up finding something else. The atmosphere in the club has become very family-oriented; the parents of 60 percent of my students also ride. They began to come because of their children and curiosity, which became passion and spread to them,” he concludes.
Riding can also be used for therapeutic purposes, since recreational riding helps to improve both physical and emotional health.
In addition to classes, they also offer boarding, sale of horses for all types of competitions and initial consultations to relocate horses from anywhere in the world. If you are interested in taking beginner’s classes, improving your skills or simply going to socialize, you can contact them at (322) 140-7625 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You find them on Facebook as Ecuestre Bucerías. The club is located on the old road to Valle de Banderas, in Bucerías, Nayarit.