Self Help: The Incredible Health Benefits of Horse Riding

Physical Advantages

Riding is a fantastic form of exercise. Even a casual stroll through the woods or fields can burn plenty of calories, with cantering and jumping making for a vigorous cardiovascular activity. Being an isometric exercise, postural strength and good balance are crucial, particularly when riding at great speeds, which is improved considerably with experience. Muscle tone is also a major factor, with the core stomach area, inner thighs and pelvic muscles receiving the most attention. Aside from the workout on the horse, caring for your companion provides plenty of exercise too, from grooming and leading your animal around the paddock, to mucking out the stable and lifting heavy bags of hay.

Mental Strength

In addition to the obvious physical benefits, horseback riding can bring dramatic rewards to your mental health. Being able to handle and connect with such a huge animal does wonders for your self-confidence, and can help overcome fear. Riding and even grooming reduces stress levels and induces calm and feelings of happiness. It is no surprise that horses are used throughout the world in assistance therapy, helping to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, offering an outlet for those suffering with addiction, and working with both young people and adults struggling with autism and behavioural problems.

Spiritual and Social Gains

One of the greatest aspects of horseback riding is being out in the open air, fully connected to nature. As a herd animal, horses are attuned to human emotion, and inherently empathetic creatures. Creating and nurturing a non-verbal bond between you and your animal can bring a sense of enlightenment like no other, a truly spiritual connection that reinforces the link to Mother Earth, and allows you to enjoy the moment and live in the present. Joining a local horse riding club can also open up social networks, offering the opportunity to meet like-minded enthusiasts and make lifelong friends.

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