Friday, July 18, 2014

For the Love of Horses

My daughter expressed an interest in riding horses at a young age.  We signed her up for riding lessons and summer day camps for several years before buying her a horse to keep on our farm.  Before owning a horse, we did some research, but….  Needless to say, owning a horse is completely different from riding one at lessons!  Long story short, we now have two horses and both my daughter and I take lessons – both English and Western.

I have learned that riding horses is truly a sport.  It requires skill, strength, and mental knowledge.  Some might have experience riding a trail horse at a vacation resort, where the horse does all the work.  Training a horse to ride dressage, jump, or western pleasure is a completely different experience!  The rider must maintain balance, correct form, and use a different set of muscles than is used in most fitness activities.

The health and mental benefits of riding horses are many.  Here are just a few:

1.  Physical fitness – riding horses is a physical exercise that builds muscles and burns calories.
2.  Improved balance and coordination – core muscles are strengthened while riding horses, as is your ability to balance.
3.  Build Knowledge – there is much to be learned in the horse world, including a whole new vocabulary!
4.  Reduce Stress – most riders form an emotional bond with their horses and find their stress level decreases during equine activities.

Riding horses can be fun an as individual activity, but it is safer and more enjoyable in a group!  Most areas have local riding clubs.  A quick search online might help you find someone in your area that offers individual or group lessons.   Whatever your physical activities might include, be sure to find new challenges to keep it fresh!

Valerie J Connor, MA CCC-SLP

Donegal Equestrian Centre (n.d.).  Benefits of horse riding.  Retrieved from


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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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