To the casual observer it may look like all the rider has to do is just sit there. The horse does all the work, well anyone who has ridden a horse will know how wrong that is. There is far more to riding a horse than one might expect. The benefits of horse riding are immense enjoyment, physical and mental fitness and a chance to enjoy the open countryside.
Horse riding develops balance and improves coordination and motor function. Other advantages include strengthening of muscles, reflex acceleration, prevention of muscle cramps, increased joint mobility, boosting the cardiovascular system , improving blood circulation, stimulation of sensory integration, improved visual perception of space, the development of responsibility, patience and self-discipline, increasing self-confidence
Riding a horse at a walk stimulates the internal organs just as walking on foot does. This aids in liver function and digestion. You will be burning calories at the rate of 5 calories per minute for a 10 ½ stone woman. Increasing the speed and ride duration will increase the intensity of your work out and burn more calories
Horse riding is an enjoyable hobby and sport for adults and children alike. Children can learn the responsibility of caring for an animal. As you groom, clean stables, carry saddles or equipment you are also doing weight bearing exercise that helps maintain bone mass. Horse riding is an enjoyable hobby and sport for adults and children alike. Learning to control and care for an animal much larger than yourself can have a profound affect on your confidence and is a great feeling. Riding is a great way to get out and see the surrounding countryside bringing the rider closer to nature. Simply being outdoors and enjoying the countryside will boost your general wellbeing and act as a great stress buster. There is a real sense of exhilaration and freedom when you ride, a feeling that is second to none.
At first you may feel that just learning to stay on and steer the horse is a challenge. When that becomes easy many more learning opportunities present themselves. As you progress with riding and horse ownership you will always have questions and problems. Even the most experienced equestrian would admit there is always something new to learn. Research has shown that lifelong learning may prevent memory loss. Just like your muscles your brain needs exercise to keep young and supple. Riding provides an active avenue for keeping your brain exercised. It plays a role in managing negative feelings including those relating to depression and anxiety.
For many a horse is a connection with nature whether they ride in the arena or on a trail. Many people find companionship and solace while working with their horse. Although riding can present its frustrations and challenges most people find it a relaxing pastime. The companionship of people who enjoy similar activities is also appealing. It’s fun to get together with friends for a lesson, trail rides or visiting local equestrian competitions. For some riders communicating is not easy, but by using the horse as a catalyst an opportunity arises to interact with the helpers and other riders benefiting both the riders and helpers alike. Many horse owners feel their horse is somewhat of a kindred spirit in tune with their own feelings and emotions; more so than any human companion. In times of stress a horse can be a quiet friend, who is without judgment.
Those with limited mobility are able to access the outdoors and participate in physical activity that they would otherwise be unable to do.
Participation in horse riding provides a range of psychological and social benefits, some of which are particular to the interaction with animals and nature and therefore would not be gained from other sporting activities.