Why Horseback Riding Lessons?

Nothing is quite like the experience of riding a horse and weekly lessons are the best way to begin and continue to improve your riding.  Learning to ride these wonderful animals has so many benefits including learning to be self confident, relieving daily stress, setting and attaining goals, developing relationships with other “horse lovers”, improving your discipline and work ethic.  Plus it is just plain fun!  We explain some of the numerous physical benefits of riding below.

By its very nature, horse riding influences the whole person and the effect on all the body’s systems can be profound. Whether the event is hacking along woodland trails or riding in a ring, the unique combination of the horse and its movement with the rider produces an extraordinary effort on all the systems of the body.

As the horse moves, the rider is constantly thrown off balance requiring that the rider’s muscles contract and relax in an attempt to re-balance. This exercise reaches the deep postural muscles of the trunk and pelvis and the adductor muscles of the thighs. Also, depending on the speed of the horse, other sets of muscles are working strongly such as the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutei’s during rising trot. Horse riding, especially trotting and cantering increase both the respiratory and circulatory systems therefore it is considered to be cardiovascular exercise.

Indeed, in an article obtained through the Internet (Calorie Control Council – Fit Facts) the total calories used per hour by a 150 pound person during horse riding were similar to those used during jogging (6mph) and cycling (9mph) (315-480 calories per hour).

Riding a horse requires a great deal of coordination in order to get the desired response from the horse. Repetition of the patterned movements required in controlling the horse aid to quicken the reflexes. As well as improved co-ordination and relaxation, riding stimulates the vesibular system by the movement of the horse and it’s changes in direction and speed. Proprioception has also shown to increase due to activation of the proprioceptors in the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint.

To conclude, horse riding is a wonderful form of exercise, which stimulates the cardiovascular system as well as all the body systems. Although riding is a strenuous exercise, it is perceived as enjoyment, therefore the rider has increased tolerance and motivation to lengthen the period of exercise.”

(excerpt from article by Lisa McFarlane,
Senior 11 Physiotherapist, British Horse Society)

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