Horse riding is often known for being a unique and exhilarating sport. For this reason, individuals of all ages are able to enjoy the sport.
What many don’t realize is that horse riding isn’t only fun and exciting, like so many other mainstream sports it also has both physical and mental health benefits.
Physical Benefits of Horse Riding
Unfortunately, there’s a common misconception that horse riding isn’t very physical. All too often, people think that riders have an easy job. But riding a horse is physically demanding and requires intense muscle use and memory.
- Burned calories: While you may not burn as many calories riding as you would running, you can still burn a decent amount of calories riding. The amount of calories burned often depends on the gait you’re riding at as well as your weight and age.
- Muscle development: As it burns calories and requires specific muscles, riding can be a great way to build up a unique set of muscles. Most riders will have exquisite ab, leg, and back muscles.
- Body control: Riding requires an intense amount of body and muscle control, therefore it can help build body control, which can be extremely beneficial.
Mental & Psychological Benefits
Horse riding has been shown to have such positive psychological benefits that it’s often used in therapy programs for a wide array of individuals. If you’ve never been around horses, you won’t be aware of how psychologically pleasing their presence can be.
While most riders realize their riding habit is beneficial to their mental health, they don’t always understand why. Unlike so many other sports, horse riding requires you to work together with a beautiful and majestic animal, an experience that can have many benefits.
- Increased self confidence: One of the biggest psychological benefits of horse riding is increased self confidence. Until you get used to handing them, horses can seem somewhat daunting. Of course, once you get to know them, horses have a way of improving your overall self confidence.
- Decreased stress: There’s something about being around horses that seems to naturally relieve stress for most people. For this reason, horse riding is a great activity to take part in if you’re looking to decrease your stress levels.
- Enhanced patience and focus: In addition to improving your self confidence and reducing your stress levels, horse riding can also increase your patience and focus. Just like with so many other animals, horses require a fair amount of patience. Not only that, but when around horses, you have to pay close attention to detail and remained focused at all times.
- Reward: Finally, perhaps one of the best psychological benefits of horse riding, is the fact that it’s extremely rewarding. While at first it may seem difficult, when you learn a new skill with horses, the rewards are exceptional.