Hi! It’s Mrs. Wada on duty. I was browsing my photo albums in my Google+ account and saw the photos of my first horse riding in Japan. It was a free trial horse riding lesson and I thought I’d share with you guys the details.
How did we get the free trial horse riding in Japan?
Mr. Wada and I were just hanging out one weekend. We were about to enter a local mall when a young lady approached us and offered a chance to win a prize by draw. In this kind of situation, I usually just say “No, thanks. I’m good.” I don’t know why, but at that time I accepted her offer. Anyway, luckily I won a prize, a coupon for free trial horse ride.
Since I haven’t tried horse riding before, and Mr. Wada somehow shared the feeling to try it too, we then decided to make the reservation. As we continue our way into the mall, Mr. Wada informed me that all slots inside the draw box are “win” slots. He said that it’s all part of their marketing strategy to get customers to sign up. I didn’t expect that and kind of felt I got tricked. But oh well, free horse ride I thought.
Horse Riding Experience
So the day came for our trial horse riding. The place is about 35-minute ride from Okayama Station. As we entered the place, we were ushered to our seats and asked to wait for another staff to give us a quick background on horse riding and to fill up some forms. Since we got coupons, we only need to pay 200 yen per head for insurance. As the time of writing, it would have cost us from 2,500 yen each.
After that, we armed ourselves with boots, vest and helmet for safety. We were asked beforehand to come over wearing shoes with socks. The staff then led us to the horse barn.
For trial lesson, we were only allowed to ride our horses in a specific area. Just going round in circle.
Getting on the horseback
Get on the platform.
Insert one foot into the kicking strap while grabbing the reins.
Bring your body up and get onto the horseback.
Slide your other foot to the strap.
And, straighten up.
After we got on the horseback, our instructors taught us the following:
1. How to take off
As a total beginner in horse riding, I was surprise to know that you can give a sign to a horse to start walking by tapping its stomach with your heels. At first try, I couldn’t tap hard enough to make him move but after few tries we finally were able to start.
2. How to stop
For stopping, you just need to pull both reins at the same time. Simple right?
3. How to speed up and slow down
At first, I was a bit nervous to be on that high position even more when we started moving. But not too long, I began to relax and enjoy the ride.
4. How to trot
After few rounds of walking around, the staff suggested to try trotting this time. He told us to get up and stand all the way up and then sit down in rhythm. I tried as he said but it was too difficult for me to stand up and to sit down quickly enough to match my horse’s rhythm. Despite of the difficulty f that part, I really enjoyed it a lot and wanted to ride more but 30-minute ride lesson is already up.
What makes the experience even more fun was the staffs themselves. As they were giving us instructions what to do, they were joking around, trying to entertain us. For me, it felt like I was in a stand-up comedy show. My horse was in the mood for a trot while Mr. Wada’s wasn’t. Lucky for me!
After the trial lesson, we asked the staff to take a photo of us together with our horses. Then the staff led us back to the reception area and introduced us to different options in horse riding lessons. Part of me got really interested to join, already imagining riding a horse in a grassland, but I just can’t afford it. Upon checking their website recently, they now offer more options for riding experience and it also differs on the location. You can check the list in the links below this post.
We gave our thanks to the staffs and left the reception area. Near the entrance of the place, we had the chance to take a peek of the students who were undergoing some lessons. Aside from the Thoroughbred horses, we also saw some ponies.
Have you tried riding a horse? Or have accepted any free trial lesson of something? How did it turn out? Share us your experience!
For other weekend adventure ideas, you might like to check also our dairy farm and park visits.