Benefits of Horseback Riding
Before we had the luxury and convenience of cars and other motorized vehicles to get us around from one place to the next, we relied on horses and other work animals for transportation as well as labor. Today horses are associated more with leisure and sport, and not so much with work. However, some farms and rural areas still exercise a more old-fashioned and organic way of life, still using animals for labor as well as a form of transportation. Regardless of the past or present, recreation or work, riding horses has always been a prominent activity.
When you observe someone riding a horse, it seems effortless and that the rider is just merely sitting on the back of the horse making it do all the work. However, horseback riding is not as simple as it looks at all. It takes quite a bit of effort to ride, even just for fun. Equestrian sports are on a whole different level and require an excessive amount of time, skill, expertise and hard work, especially when wanting to compete.
There are many reasons why horseback riding is a great extracurricular activity to consider. Riding horses can provide a lot of benefits for the physical, emotional and mental health of its riders.
Here are some of the benefits one can get from horseback riding:
Physical Awareness and Coordination
For you to be able to successfully ride on the horse, your body, and the horse need to be able to correlate. The more the rider gets familiar with the movements of the animal, the easier the ride will be. Since there are a lot to learn about the animals’ movements, the more time you spend with them, the quicker you develop coordination and stability.
Riding with ease also requires the use of your muscles. Since horses can weigh over 2000lbs, the rider needs to have at least some physical ability to assist in handling and controlling the horse. This sport is a lot more physical than people might think.
Core Strength, Toned Muscle and Flexibility
Horseback riding requires some muscle work from the rider. Riding engages the core muscles, including abdominal and back muscles. Glutes, inner thighs, and the pelvic muscles are also used to position yourself onto the horse as well as control it. The whole body works to provide the rider balance and keep stabilized on the horse. Overall, horseback riding helps in the toning of the muscles and achieve flexibility. Positioning is essential for a smooth ride and also aids in the development postural strength which improves the overall posture of the rider.
Improvement of Body Conditioning
Preparing and maintaining the horse also requires a lot of work. Tasks such as grooming, feeding, cleaning stalls, and saddling up all need aerobic strength as well as endurance. Riding, as well as the chores that go along with upkeeping a horse, can improve your body’s strength and overall conditioning. It requires a lot of effort to handle a big animal like the horse, but the rewards are well worth it.
Mental Awareness and Exercise
Horseback riding helps in developing the riders focus and concentration. Since the primary objective is to stay on the horse and be able to control it, the rider must be aware and conscious of both the animals’ movements as well as their own. On a competitive level especially, it is crucial to react quickly and think intelligently to protect both the rider and horse. You can gradually develop natural reflexes in response to the horse’s actions and behaviors. Both the horse and rider become completely aware of one another.
Therapy and Companionship
Other than being an excellent workout for both mind and body, there are also significant emotional benefits that come with interacting with horses. Some people create a special bond with their horses. Interacting with animals is also a powerful form of therapy. They can become a friend for those who need one. They are known to provide an individual support and comfort to both children and adults. Some people find peace and comfort while connecting with horses. A companionship can develop as the horse and person bond over time.