Guest post by Rachel Kerr.
Horse riding isn’t just beneficial for your horse, it also has huge health benefits for you! And the benefits of horseback riding go far beyond fitness. As a horse lover myself, I would strongly encourage people to get out and ride their horses as often as possible. To help with this, I decided to write an article on the benefits of horseback riding. I hope you find it useful!
1. Improved Overall Strength
At first glance, it may not seem like horseback riding is beneficial for fitness. But it is certainly one tiring workout! It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced equestrian or a beginner, horseback riding is great for improving your overall fitness, increasing strength in glutes, toning abs, and strengthening thighs. Furthermore, if you are working in the stables and hailing feed bags, shoveling out stalls, or moving hay bales, you will be further increasing your strength.
2. Balance and Stability
Horseback riding has numerous physical benefits and one of these is an increase in balance. Riding a horse requires you to keep your balance regardless of the speed you’re going, the terrain you are covering, or the maneuvers you are completing. Balance is critical when riding as it keeps you on your horse. Perhaps surprisingly, the more your riding skills improve, the more challenging it may become for you to maintain your balance. Horseback riding does wonders for improving your balance, benefiting numerous other areas of your life – including your fitness.
3. Improved Coordination
If you are new to horseback riding, you will quickly realize it is far tougher than it looks. It requires significant coordination! Numerous things need to happen simultaneously to get your horse to walk, trot, or canter without simply wandering off. To achieve this, the rider needs to be able to coordinate their leg pressure, rein pressure and body position simultaneously. And, trust me when I say, it’s far easier said than done. To practice your coordination and see improvements, I would suggest riding your horse at least a couple of hours per week. Just as balance is important, your coordination skills are vital to riding well and safely. The more time and practice you put in, the sooner you’ll see results.
4. Improved Core Strength
Fitness instructors commonly focus on core strength, the core band of muscles that stabilise your upper body. And in riding terms, they stabilise your upper body on an unpredictable animal which could be riding over difficult terrain. Having poor posture and a weak core will hinder the control you have over your horse. When horseback riding, you will find your centre of gravity is constantly shifting, yet you’re having to maintain the same upright position.
Having a strong core can improve your posture, your overall fitness and your riding. Whether you are consciously trying to or not, staying on a horse successfully means you must engage all the right muscles. This improvement in core strength also translates into other fitness activities, yielding improved balance and stability.
5. Positive Character Traits
Horseback riding helps teach responsibility to those who are learning to ride or have been riding for years. Horseback riding isn’t just about taking your horse out for rides during the day, it involves complete horse care.
Learning how to take care of a horse, what equipment to use, and farm care involves a lot of time and dedication. However, the process of learning to care for a horse encourages numerous positive character traits, including patience, discipline, empathy, self-control, understanding, and dedication. A rider developing these skills will go far in their horsemanship.
6. Problem Solving
Problem-solving is an invaluable skill. Horseback riders learn how to problem solve and make quick decisions from the back of a horse. Horseback riding has its difficulties and there are times – particularly during road rides – when the unexpected can happen and riders must think fast to remain safe and in control. Problem-solving is an essential horseback riding skill that is beneficial to all riders.
Horses are social creatures, they like to remain in herds and socialize with others around them. Having the opportunity to socialize with animals has been known to have a positive effect on people. According to the British Horse Society Study, one of the biggest motivations people have for going horseback riding is the opportunity to interact with the horses. Therefore, horses make wonderful companions for therapeutic riding programs and many equestrians say they have formed real relationships with their horses. The companionship horses offer humans is known to have numerous health benefits, physical and mentally.
8. Reduced Anxiety and Depression
If you struggle with your mental health, like so many people do, you will know that one of the things that helps reduce symptoms is getting outside. Riding your horse regularly helps you get the fresh air and exercise you need to keep anxiety and depression at bay – so that you can live your life to the full and enjoy every minute!
9. Great Practice for Competitions
The more you ride your horse, the more practice you will get in for riding competitions. What’s more, you will deepen the bond you have with your horse and teach him to trust you. The more familiar you and your horse are with each other’s behaviours, the better you will both perform in horse riding competitions.
10. Overall Health
The most significant benefits of horseback riding are the benefits this sport provides to your health. If there was ever anything that was good for both physical and mental health, it’s horseback riding.
Get Riding Today!
I hope this article has encouraged you to spend more time with your horse and increase the regularity of your riding. Regular horseback riding will do you both good and increase that special bond you have.
Rachel Kerr is a professional copywriter for Prime Stables Ltd. Started back in 2003, Prime Stables provide hand crafted equestrian buildings to horse owners all over the UK and have become one of the most popular suppliers in the country. They believe in three things: family and people, a love for horses, and quality.