Before we know it, Summer will be here and children will be out of school!
There are many benefits of horseback riding for your child's health. Those who ride at Belle Wood competitively know that horseback riding is physically challenging and at the same time, a rewarding activity. Additionally, studies have proven interaction with horses has therapeutic effects.
Below we've listed some of the Key benefits of horseback riding
Here are ten health benefits of horseback riding lessons and camps:
1. Develops core strength.
One of a horseback riders’ strongest muscles is there core. To be able to maintain a proper riding posture, riders learned to engage the core muscles in addition to the back and chest muscles. It also takes an engaged core to stay balanced on the horse.
2. Improves coordination.
Coordination is such an important skill set for horseback riding. Not only does riders need to coordinate there movements with the horse, they also needs to direct the horse in the right direction and over or around.
3. Encourages trust.
In order to be a successful horseback rider, the rider must develop a trusting relationship with the horse. Horses, like any animal, can be unpredictable. Learning to build trust isn’t just important between horses and riders, but in all human relationships.
4. Exercises the mind.
Unlike idle activities such as playing on electronics and watching TV, horseback riding exercises you physically and mentally. Mental exercise is an important benefit of horseback riding. As riders learn to communicate with their horse, execute movements, and overcome obstacles, the brain will store information on how these tasks where completed. As riders continue to learn new things, the brain will store the information so you can perform the task again, and perhaps even better the next time.
5. Develops problem solving skills.
As you become more advanced in your horseback riding ability, you might take on the challenge of a jumping course, trail ride, or horse show. You’ll have to master problem solving skills as you direct your horse. If your horse is unwilling to submit to your directions, you’ll have to think quickly about how to remain safe and in control of your horse.
6. Increases socialization.
Horseback riding can increase your social circle. Riders get to know your horses and ponies, instructors, other riders, and staff around Belle Wood. The horse community is very social and full of people who will help each other learn about horses. While private lessons are an excellent way to gain experience in a safe setting and attention to work on specific skills, group lessons provide a great social experience. Group lessons not only enable you to learn from your instructor but from your peers as well and group discussion on progressions.
7. Creates time to relax.
Horseback riding has an inherent relaxing effect on people (to be honest, just being present around horses has a relaxing affect. According to Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Rheta D. Connor, “The natural rhythm of the horse aids in circulation and relaxation while gently exercising and massaging the rider’s joints, muscles and spine” (source). These physical motions bring about feelings of relaxation naturally without any thought on behalf of the rider.
8. Provides opportunities to compete.
There are many different types of competition, Belle Wood focuses on Hunter, Jumper, Equitation and Dressage to provide a variety of ways to put riders skills to the test. Training for a show and setting a goal can increase motivation and provide a healthy competitive outlet for riders. Riders who compete may even notice that they feel more driven and confident in other areas of their life outside of horseback riding. The coaches at Belle Wood follow the Long Term Equestrian Development plan designed by Equestrian Canada when creating goals and outcomes for riders at Belle Wood.
9. Increases muscle tone and strength.
Horseback riders develop a special strength known as stable strength. Even when not on the horse, riders are likely to engage in demanding physical activity around the stables. Mucking out stalls, carrying tack, and grooming horses increases muscle tone and strength. A new rider may have trouble lifting a heavy saddle, but after developing stable strength the rider will be able to lift it with ease!
10. Improves mental state.
In addition to increasing feelings of relaxation, horseback riding can improve a riders’ mental state in other ways as well. Spending time with animals is believed to raise levels of the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin. To back up these claims, the British Horse Society conducted a study on the health benefits of horseback riding. Through a survey of over 1,200 horseback riders, they discovered that more than 80 percent of survey participants reported that horse riding made them feel ‘quite a lot’ or ‘extremely’ cheerful, relaxed, happy or active (source).
With all these amazing health benefits of horseback riding, you can feel great about the time you spend riding, caring for, and enjoying the company of horses and we hope to see you at Belle Wood Equestrian