The 7 Benefits of Horseback Riding
The 7 Benefits of Horseback Riding
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. Here at Prime Stables, we 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! Read on to find out more.
Improved Overall Strength
At first glance, it may not seem that 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, shovelling out stalls and moving hay bales, you will be further increasing your strength.
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 manoeuvres 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.
If you are new to horseback riding, you will quickly realise it is far tougher than it looks and 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 is 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 riding safely. The more time and practice you put in, the sooner you will see results.
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 you riding. Whether you are consciously trying to or not, staying on a horse successfully means you have to engage all the right muscles. This improvement in core strength also translates across to other fitness activities, and yields improved balance and stability.
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, during illness and health. 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.
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 – that the unexpected can happen and riders must think and act quickly to remain safe and in control. Problem-solving is an essential horseback riding skill that is a benefit to all riders.
Horses are social creatures, they like to remain in herds and socialise with others around them, just like humans. Having the opportunity to socialise 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.
I hope you have found this article useful. I hope it has encouraged you to spend more time with your horse and increase the regularity of your riding. There are probably a few benefits that I have missed off the list, if so, please let me know in the comments below. I love hearing the benefits others receive from horseback riding.
If you would like further information, contact us today, we would love to hear from you.