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The health benefits of horse riding

Updated: Nov 17, 2021


Everyone knows that Palms West, and especially the Village of Wellington, are known for their beautiful horse farms and competitive equestrian activities. What you may not know is that horse riding can actually be good for your health.

Since their evolution around one million years ago, horses have been an important asset to the human population. They began as a smaller version of their current form and were almost wiped out at certain points in their adaptation. However, the species endured, and are now a mode of transportation that transformed human activity globally. Today, horses have been replaced by alternate transportation methods, but they continue to aid mankind in many surprising ways. How Horse Riding Improves Health

Since the advent of the combustion engine, horses have been used less for transportation and more as a hobby that has increased satisfaction, social interaction, and a feeling of well-being. These impacts did not go unnoticed by the health community, which began to investigate the value of horse riding for patients with physical or emotional disabilities. The results of analyzing the value of riding and working with horses were startling, providing improved physical condition and fewer health issues, as well as a significantly better mental outlook. These experts also began to examine how horse riding could help non-disabled individuals, and studies began to confirm that riding provided significant benefits to the public at large.

Core Strengthening

The act of sitting atop a horse necessitates the use of core body muscles. Shifting and turning are common riding movements that require the use of these muscles frequently. Regular riding can help to keep your core muscles toned and your posture more erect to give you a stronger and more confident appearance.

Stronger Legs

Horse riders must use their leg muscles frequently to mount, stay seated and signal to the animal. These constant movements result in increased muscle strength in the legs, a stronger gait, and better balance when walking.

Greater Flexibility

Being in the saddle requires a certain amount of turning, twisting, and lifting, all of which use muscle groups differently than normal activities. Over time, these movements can provide increased flexibility, balance, and coordination to protect riders against common injuries that occur during everyday movements.

Burning Calories

Horse riding involves a number of activities that expend energy to help maintain normal weight and increase muscle and cardiovascular function. Caring for the horses requires significant energy expenditure in mucking stalls, brushing, feeding, and saddling. In addition, riding itself burns calories, a smaller amount if seated on a slow walk, and more when trotting. More rigorous activities with the animal, such as cutting and reining, burn even more calories and can equal the amount expended during a workout at the gym.

Outdoor Benefits

Horse riding requires you to be outdoors in the fresh air, which has a beneficial effect on lung function and cardiovascular health. Many riders ride in all weather conditions, which burns more calories and improves mental health.

Improved Stress Management

The impact of stress on health is well known, and horse riding provides significant relief from stress for a variety of reasons. Generally, riding activities take the riding away from normal surroundings and activities, providing a much-needed break from the usual sources of stress. In addition, communicating with the animal on an essential level helps to reduce tension.

Better Emotional Balance

Outdoors riding, being in control of a responsive animal like a horse increases the production of beneficial brain chemicals that provide a feeling of happiness and well-being. Horse riding gives individuals a feeling of unparalleled sense of mastery and confidence. The interaction between a horse and rider is straightforward, with no hidden messages or perplexing reactions. The straightforward nature of the human-horse encounter makes it a soothing and enjoyable experience that carries over into non-riding life.

Social Interaction

Another aspect of horse riding that functions to improve physical health and emotional well-being is the social aspects of the activity. Horses necessarily require housing in equestrian centers that offer interaction with like-minded people. Riding in groups is commonplace in the equestrian community, and this aspect offers riders an improved ability to empathize and interact with others, leading to better health. Improved Disability

Studies indicate that disabled riders show significant improvement in their physical conditions and emotional well-being when they engage in riding on a regular basis. Studies with disabled riders show that they receive the muscle and emotional benefits of riding, just as non-disabled riders. In the media, Ann Romney, wife of the former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, extols the virtues of therapeutic riding, crediting it with improving her multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed with MS in 1998 and claimed that riding helped her get out of bed when the illness threatened her with an ever-increasing disability.

Horse riding is not just a way to spend leisure time. It is a way of life that can improve your physical condition and mental outlook, giving you a chance to mingle with others that understand the magic of engaging with a horse regularly.


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