Long before the introduction of the automobiles or even the discovery of the wheel, people used to get from one point to the other on horseback. Instead of the car maintenance tips of this new age, young ones were taught to take good care of stallions and mares. Today, however, horse riding has become a popular recreational activity rather than a means of transport. Nonetheless, there are a number of benefits associated with the activity. Don’t drop that jaw yet! It's been found that horses are now treating mentally disabled children, which can only prove that horseback riding is even more beneficial. Here are 5 benefits of horse riding to your health.

1. Quick Body Reflexes and Coordination

When riding on such a big mammal that has a mind of its own, you can’t help but go with the rhythm. To be a good and safe horse rider it requires you to exercise on a variety of muscles, some of which you probably didn’t know existed. This makes horseback riding a full-body workout of its own kind. It helps you think, adjust and react to different composure, thus improving your coordination and ability to make quick reflexes.

2. It Improves Body Stability and Awareness

The human body’s stability is dependent on the core muscles, which comprises of the abdominal and pelvic muscles. With weak core muscles, some tasks can be difficult to accomplish. The general stability of your body is also affected. Weak core muscles can also affect your posture, balance, and ability to pass the Hollowing Test. It can cause general weakness and increase your risk of suffering from lower back pain. Regular horse riding can get your core muscles back into form, improving your general stability, balance, and posture.

3. It Improves Muscle Toning and Flexibility

You guessed it right! Apart from strengthening your core muscles, horse riding can also help tone your muscles and improve your flexibility. When on the horse’s back riding, the biggest workout is often on the inner thighs and the pelvic muscles. For the best horse riding experience, you’re required to adjust yourself to the cadence of the horse so that you remain and maintain the squatting position. This is what helps tone down your muscles and in overall helps you maintain flexibility.

4. Mental Fitness

Just like any other exercise out there, horse riding comes with a myriad of mental benefits. The activity can help improve your morale, focus, cognition, and attention to detail. Being a fun activity, it is also a great way to relieve stress with the release of feel-good chemicals in your CNS. The whole experience soothes and relaxes your mind. Horseback riding helps boost your confidence, from the way you control the animal to the way you handle yourself during the ride. As a matter of fact, horse riding has been found to be useful in treating a variety of mental health conditions such as cerebral palsy, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and ADHD, especially in children through what is known as Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy.  

5. General Strength

Being a form of exercise, horse riding will improve your general strength. It may seem easy as seen from other people, but believe you me; it’s not as easy as it looks. It will take physical and mental strength to be a horse rider. It will require you to fully take charge over the animal and control all its movements. This takes brute strength. If it becomes a routine, horseback riding will at the end of it all help you develop general body strength.

There you have it! You now know how important caring for the horse is, especially if you happen to own one. Let horseback riding not only be a recreational activity but a way of life if possible.

A senior academic researcher, reviewer, and editor, Dr. Declan Pouros is also an internationally accredited psychotherapist. He earned his PhD in Psychological Counseling and Guidance, and in the years since, he has taught in the Department of Psychological Counseling and Guidance himself.He has also authored papers that have gone on to appear in such world-renowned journals as the European Journal of Psychological Assessment, Psychological Reports, the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Asia Pacific Psychiatry, and Computers in Human Behaviour.