Horseback riding comes with many mental and physical benefits. You can also apply the strength you develop from this activity to other areas of life. Discover why horseback riding has a reputation for having a positive impact on the lives of those who regularly engage in it.
Mental health benefits
Interaction with horses has been known to have therapeutic benefits. This has led to the rise of a treatment called Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAT). The emotional benefits of therapeutic horseback riding have been known to directly help treat those suffering from ADD, anxiety, autism, depression, dementia, and other mental health conditions.
Here are a few of the other mental health benefits of horseback riding.
Horseback riding allows you to take a break from life’s stressors and experience the fresh air. Spending time with animals and exercising releases a hormone called serotonin, which can improve your mood and reduce your stress levels.
Like your muscles, mental exercises improve the function of your brain. Horseback riding provides a form of mental exercise by requiring you to think on your feet while in the saddle and through learning a new skill set.
You also have the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills as you communicate with your horse and overcome obstacles together. Memory, assertiveness, and speech are all improved in the process, and these mental developments can be applied to other areas of your life. Both fine and gross motor skills are also improved through horse care processes, such as grooming and tacking.
Feelings of relaxation
Many regular riders describe the experience as the most relaxing part of their day. According to Rheta D. Connor, a certified therapeutic riding instructor, this relaxation comes from circulation and joint and muscle movement while riding. Moreover, simply being in the great outdoors enjoying a change of scenery with fresh air and foliage can provide a relaxing effect.
Physical health benefits
Along with its mental health benefits, horseback riding also serves as a form of exercise. Not only are you burning calories through regular movement, but you are also performing an isometric exercise by using your muscles to stabilize yourself on the horse.
Here are a few of the best ways that horseback riding helps you develop good physical health.
Improves core strength
The stabilizing muscles that make up your core include your abdominals, hips, and lower back. A strong core comes with many benefits that are useful in everyday life, such as preventing injury, improved sports performance, decreased lower back pain, and better posture. Horseback riding helps develop these areas for everyday use but also to make you a better rider.
Improves balance and coordination
Not only do you have to keep yourself balanced on the horse while riding, but you are practicing coordination as you direct the horse in different directions. For more advanced riders, balance and coordination are a crucial skills that continues to strengthen while learning how to navigate barrels, fences, or other obstacles.
Increases muscle tone and strength
There is not a muscle horseback riding does not strengthen. Outside of the core muscles, for example, riding engages your chest, arms, and legs. After all, these work together to keep you from falling.
Other activities for horse care can also improve your upper body strength. When you want to take care of a horse, remember that grooming and the process of tacking (or putting a saddle and bridle on a horse) can increase your strength if you do them often enough.
Improves circulation and flexibility
Like many forms of exercise, horseback riding improves circulation. The rhythm of movement your body does while riding a horse promotes healthy circulation and stretches many of your muscles. This, in turn, improves flexibility and your range of motion.
Ready to Ride?
From horseback riding lessons to a custom hour-long event, which includes up to four of your friends or family, a picnic with a private kitchenette and lounge, and fun with Romeo the horse. We offer horseback riding lessons for every age, and we would love to help customize a fun experience for you at the ranch.
From date nights with picnics to girls trips to family get-together, we can make any event more special with a trail ride at the ranch. For more information about our for to schedule your visit, contact us at (501) 830-6232.