Is horseback riding a sport? If you have been an equestrian for any length of time, you know the strength, determination, and mental focus that horseback riding requires.
Amongst equestrians, there is no question that this discipline is a sport of its own.
To the rest of the mainstream sporting industries, though, this question is still out for debate.
Here are the top five reasons why we totally think horseback riding is a sport:
✅Horseback Riding Requires Talent
As with any discipline, anyone can learn to horseback ride. Any rider can practice to get better. Yet also like any discipline, horseback riding requires talent to excel in high-level competitions.
The kaleidoscope of talent required for an excellent equestrian includes strength, coordination, quick thinking, thoughtful strategy, high-level observation, and, most of all, intuition.
Related post: 5 Reasons Horseback Riding is Good Exercise
✅ Strength and Stamina
Horseback riding requires hours of practice on horseback. Strategy, muscle memory, and the understanding of horse behavior is all best cultivated in the arena.
But just like any other athlete, the equestrian excels the most when they train outside of the arena.
Some of the best riders will incorporate cardio to their weekly routine to increase stamina. They may also add weight training or bodyweight exercises to strengthen their core, legs, and back to perform with higher precision on horseback.
Related Post: 6 Core Training Exercises for Equestrians
✅ Intense Mental Focus
All athletes can relate to the focus that their sport requires. After all, the determination to win and the concentration to execute maneuvers with our bodies takes a focus that demands us to block out all other mental noise.
What most other athletes may not understand, however, is the mental focus required in remaining in-sync with another living, breathing being.
Controlling and propelling our own will and movement is a feat in itself. But compelling an equine to do the same is a whole other matter.
Horseback riding involves engaging and redirecting the distractions and opinions of a sensitive, thousand-pound animal.
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Competition is perhaps the most characteristic attribute of any sport. It is how the rider strives to improve and achieve in the equestrian world.
Competition is also the driving force to handle pressure with a fighting spirit instead of a defeated or passive attitude.
The equestrian does not back down from a challenge. The equestrian rises to the occasion.
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Sportsmanship in any industry speaks to the core of the athlete. Is that athlete honorable in his game? Does she treat her opponent with respect? Do they want the best for their discipline as a whole?
Sportsmanship comes down to the integrity that the athlete carries. In horseback riding, sportsmanship is what causes the equestrian world to thrive for new competitors who will define the future of the sport.
Moreover, a rider’s sportsmanship in relation to their horse is the greatest indicator between a good and great rider.
A good rider is talented, disciplined, and focused. A great rider is all of these things, but also puts their horse’s well-being first.
So is horseback riding a sport? Without a doubt.
What sets horseback riding apart from all the other sports? Equestrians get to spend our days with some of the most remarkable creatures on the planet.