Horses…Good for Us in So Many Ways
There is something unique about horses that has intrigued mankind for thousands of years. With a magical combination of grace, beauty, spirit and strength, horses have unknowingly drawn us into a wonderful, mutually-beneficial relationship with them. We care for them, talk to them, and help them to stay happy and healthy. In return, they nuzzle us, listen to us, and allow us to enjoy the freedom of riding atop their backs. It’s a relationship that can’t really be explained unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. If you haven’t been around horses, or tried horseback riding, it’s an experience you should not miss!
Horseback riding is a physically and mentally healthy activity that people of all ages can enjoy. Young and old alike will enjoy the thrill of the ride along with a surprisingly good physical workout. When riding a horse you will be doing much more than just sitting. You will be stimulating muscles in the dorsal and abdominal regions of your body which are seldom used in everyday activities. If you’ve been wanting to work on your “six-pack”, this would be a fun way to do it! Additionally, horseback riding is much less stressful on the knees and joints than other types of exercise like walking or even swimming. You will be exercising them, but without the jarring and stress experienced in many other physical workouts. Overall, most riders develop exceptional abs, leg and back muscles.
Coupled with the physical benefits are the many mental and psychological benefits of horseback riding. Just being around horses has a positive psychological effect on us. Whether you’re grooming, feeding, or riding them, the mere presence of a horse has a calming effect. Being around horses is a natural stress reliever.
There are also many psychological benefits to horseback riding. Learning to ride helps build self-confidence and helps to develop patience and focus. When you are learning to ride, you are also learning about your horse. You will need to be patient and focus on developing that very special communication between you and your horse. Learning to cue your horse to do what you want will require patience and understanding. Your horse will also be learning to communicate and work with you. Mastering that unique language between you and your horse is a very satisfying and rewarding experience.
If horseback riding sounds like an activity you’d like to try, there are many opportunities available. Many stables provide horses to ride for an hourly rate, or you might consider signing up for a riding class at a local riding school. If you’d like to start out slowly, you may want to try being around horses first. Volunteering at a local horse rescue or therapeutic riding organization would be a wonderful opportunity for some hands-on experience. The Local Equine Assistance Network (LEAN) is always in need of volunteers to help with the care and rehabilitation of abused and neglected horses. Visit their website at www.leanhorses.org. What a wonderful way to learn about these beautiful animals while providing a valuable service for them at the same time.
There is no better way to understand the love we have for horses than to simply be with them.