Horse riding is enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. In fact, an estimated 30 million people in the United States ride horses as a hobby. Not only is it a wonderful way of getting into the great outdoors and spending time in nature, but it also brings plenty of other metals, physical, and personal benefits. Whether you are considering taking up riding or have already begun your journey into riding, have a read through this article to see some of the excellent benefits you could get – or are already getting – from horseback riding.
A HOBBY FOR FRIENDS, OR NOT
One of the great things about horse riding is that you can choose whether to go solo or ride out with a group of friends. Jane, a horse riding expert from Ayr Equestrian agrees, saying, “Horse riding is, of course, a wonderful group activity. But, it can be just as rewarding and fulfilling going for a solo ride on your own terms.” This means that it’s clearly a great hobby for anyone. Whether you’re a people person or just a horse person, you can enjoy all the benefits of horse riding. If you do want to start riding with a group, there are plenty of equestrian clubs in all corners of the country, so you can find some new like-minded friends to ride with.
GREAT FOR MENTAL HEALTH
There have been plenty of studies relating to the benefits of horse riding for your mental health. Firstly, it has been shown that simply spending time with horses – and other animals – has a hugely soothing and calming effect on the mind, reducing the effects of stress and anxiety in many people. This is caused by the release of serotonin which is released due to both the animals and the physical activity. As well as this, spending time riding horses uses a fair amount of brainpower. Many mental skills are required to focus, balance, and concentrate when riding. These things activate the brain and heighten mental agility. Having an idle mind is detrimental to mental health and can lead to all kinds of conditions later in life, so activating the brain with equestrian skills can only be a good thing.
If you’re riding horses, you’ll likely be helping keep or look after horses as well. This means there are plenty of responsibilities and duties for you to undertake. This is especially beneficial for helping teach your kids about daily responsibilities. Daily chores include feeding and brushing your horses, as well as letting them out of their pens for a short while every morning. There is also the fun business of cleaning up their mess daily! Weekly responsibilities include full grooming of the horse, changing of bedding, cleaning of hooves, and cleaning water and food troughs. Now, we’re not saying you have to make your children do all of these tasks alone! But, they will certainly help teach your children about caring for not just animals but learning about a bit of hard work and responsibility in life. Of course, it will also teach them about loving their beautiful equestrian friend.
PHYSICAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Of course, horse riding is a physical activity, meaning it’s a great activity for any of us to help keep our bodies strong and agile. It takes quite a lot of physical strength to control a horse, especially if you are a confident rider who likes to travel at a canter. The muscles throughout your core including your abdominals and lower back muscles will strengthen the more you ride, as will your quads and hamstrings in your legs. When you combine extra core and back strength with the straight-backed position you need to hold whilst riding, you will find that your posture improves. Yet another nice physical benefit from horseback riding.
Another physical benefit of horse riding is improved balance and coordination. As we have said, you are training both your brain and body whilst riding. The balance will improve as you spend more time on horseback, using both your arms, legs, and core to help keep you upright. The fact you are using multiple parts of your body at once to both balance and control the horse also improves your coordination. Basically – horse riding is great for your body!
All in all, as you can see, horse riding is simply a great all-around hobby. Your mind will improve, your body will feel stronger, and you will learn so much. Alongside this, you may end up with a whole new group of friends who enjoy riding their horses with you. We truly hope you take up and enjoy caring for and riding horses.