Horseback riding both builds a person’s character, as well as their physic. As Winston Churchill once said, “there is something about the outside of the horse that is good for the inside of a man”. We tackle this further in the Pursuit of Horses.
Riding fills the soul as much as we benefit from it as an athlete. Riding provides a full body workout, that emphasizes strength in the core, your balance and coordination. It is also a great cardio workout.
Dr. Alison Stout, DO, of EvergreenHealth Sport & Spine Care. says horseback riding offers the following health benefits:
Core Strength: “Horseback riding is an isometric exercise, which means it uses specific muscles to stay in certain positions, in this case, keeping balanced on the horse,” Dr. Stout explains. “As a result, postural strength becomes very important in horseback riding.”
Balance and Coordination: “Staying balanced becomes more challenging the faster and more quickly the horse moves,” she says. Cantering or galloping and jumping, for example, are much more difficult than a simple jog or trot. The rider must develop coordination skills to move the body with the horse in order to help the horse stay balanced.
Muscle Tone and Flexibility: Along with the core muscles, the inner thighs and pelvic muscles get the biggest workout as a rider positions himself or herself. This exercise helps with good overall muscle tone and flexibility.
In fact, Dr. Stout says the muscle strengthening can be as effective as a typical weight-bearing exercise. The arms and shoulders get a work out as well as they have to constantly gently communicate with the horses mouth, similar to dancing with a partner.
Cardiovascular Exercise: Depending on the type of riding and the speed and agility of the horse, horseback riding can require more effort, energy, and cardiovascular capacity.
Mental exercise: “There are many mental benefits to horseback riding,” Dr. Stout adds. “There’s a confidence that comes from learning how to handle and interact with this huge animal. You really learn about yourself as you experience time on a horse.”
Additionally, she finds horseback riding to be a very relaxing and calming experience. “Horseback riding grounds me. It takes me away from any other worries or issues because, for the time being, the only focus is on riding and staying on the horse. While horseback riding is a great exercise, the real benefit I get now is the connection with the horse and the peace of mind that comes with every ride,” she says.
At Four Winds, we focus on the English style of riding, particularly show jumping and we cater to all levels.
Our program is goal oriented with a focus towards competing. We believe that competing is a tangible proof of the betterment of a horseman. Each of our instructors has a rich background and can provide specialized training programs to help reach specific goals.[i]
[i] Stout, Alison. “Benefits of Horseback Riding.” Benefits of Horseback Riding, 20 Oct. 2017, www.healthiestbest.com/benefits-of-horseback-riding