Are you an animal lover looking for a way to better your life and make it more enjoyable? Well then horseback riding may be a good option. Riding provides many benefits for adults and kids alike, mentally and physically. Riding can be very therapeutic which is why so many therapeutic riding programs are popping up more and more. I am definitely happy to have horseback riding as a hobby of mine, best decision ever! Granted I was eight or nine when I picked it up. So without further a due here is a list of benefits riding provides as a hobby.
Horseback riding provides a break from the mundane day to day activities and reduces stress. It is a great way to take a break from your busy life while still having a sense of purpose, with your time. Riding help to release endorphins (feel good hormones) and lowers cortisol (stress hormone).
Your mind is focused on the task at hand, your balance and communication. You don’t have time to think about all the problems going on in your life. The horse can sense when you are stressed or tense so you must work on relaxing your mind and body.
I always notice the difference when I have a hard day. While I am riding I feel so free and after I ride I feel much more relaxed and positive.
Horseback riding is good for your physical health. Riding provides a cardiovascular as well as strength training workout. I notice when I ride in a lesson and I am out of shape. I can get very tired, especially when I work on sitting trot, cantering or jumping courses, I am huffing and puffing. After the ride my legs feel like jelly. The next day or two my legs feel the real pain. Then I know I got a damn good workout.
Once a week of riding is not enough to get you into good shape… I would know… I used to ride just once a week without a regular workout routine. However riding is great exercise, it builds your stamina, improves your posture and flexibility, and works your core strength and leg muscles.
If you just ride once per week, I would suggest supplementing that with a workout routine at home at least 2 other days per week. It will make a real difference in your riding. If you can afford the time and money, it would be even better if you could ride those 2 extra days a week. That’s 2 extra days of exercise and riding practice.
Horseback riding is fun and provides joy and excitement. This is the main reason I love to ride, because I enjoy it so much, I have fun, I get adrenaline rushes, it makes me smile.
Connecting with and being carried by a 1000 pound plus sized animal, becoming air bound over fences, riding a nice balanced rocking horse canter, riding at the beach or on some nice trails, the wind blowing in your face while your galloping.
I love riding it can be a challenge sometimes but it is so much fun!
Horseback riding helps to build confidence. If you have confidence or self-esteem issues riding can be a great help. I myself have encountered these problems throughout my life and riding makes a big difference.
Everyone starts at the bottom when you first learn to ride, but you set goals and milestones. As you reach each milestone you take it as a small victory and each small victory builds you up. Builds up your confidence, builds up how you see yourself.
Celebrate these small wins and overtime they will become something much bigger. Not only will your riding skills be more advanced but your attitude and personality will be changed for the better as well.
Just remember to stay humble, it can be easy to fall into be cocky and prideful, when we become good at something. And no matter how good or confident you get, you will still make mistakes, just make sure you learn from those mistakes.
Horseback riding teaches life skills: empathy, patience, respect, discipline and perseverance. Whether you are an adult or a child or an adult that acts like a child, riding can improve your character. Horses are not vehicles or robots; they have a mind, and a will of their own. They have ingrained instincts and individual personalities.
Sometimes horses don’t respond the way you want them to, for a number of reasons. You must be patient and try to figure out why the horse is acting the way he is.
FOR EXAMPLE say you want your horse to go forward from the walk into the trot, you squeeze and there is no response, you squeeze again still no response and again same thing. Now by the fourth and fifth try with nothing you are getting pretty frustrated. You blame it on the horse and punish him… maybe yell, maybe kick him really hard or repeatedly, maybe whack with the crop once to several times, or maybe you just give up. So why wasn’t the horse going forward when asked. One reason was the horse was dull and desensitized to the riders legs because beginner rider tend to kick and squeeze the horse frequently, even when the riders leg should be still and quiet. So that was already going against the rider but not the horses fault. The bigger mistake the rider was making was that they were tight on the reins and pulling back slightly. Every time the rider asked the horse to move forward she was also telling the horse not to go forward. So the horse was getting conflicting signals and was confused. It was not the horse’s fault it was the riders fault. We must be empathetic and put ourselves in the horses’ shoes.
Horses may not respond the way we want because of pain, fear or lack of confidence, lack of clear communication, confusion, frustration. It’s our job as riders to be leaders to the horses we ride but also to respect and be patient to understand the horses we ride.
Along with respect, patience and empathy riding teaches discipline and perseverance. There may be times where you feel that you hit a plateau or you are struggling with a certain aspect of your riding. You must keep pushing through these times, look for supplemental options to help get you past these dry places, such as riding books, articles, workouts for core and legs, stretching for flexibility, or whatever you can think of that may help. Recognize the smallest improvements. Pushing through those times you want to just give up and it seems too hard is what develops discipline and perseverance in your life.
Horseback riding creates the opportunity to make friendships. Sometimes it’s hard making friends living our regular live, riding gives you the chance to meet new people, with a passion the same as your own.
Not only can you make friends with other people you can create friendships with the horses.
You can meet people in group riding lessons, just being around the barn and talking with other riders, joining different horse clubs or organizations. What other ways have you made horsey friendships? Comment down below.
Horseback riding can strengthen relationships. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a spouse, riding is an awesome hobby to use as a bonding activity. Any kind of hobby mutually enjoyed can draw people closer together, but what is cooler than riding horses? It’s an adventure, it’s a good time. Gives you the opportunity to encourage each other and build lasting memories.
Give it a try you’ll love it!
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Cheers and God Bless,