Health Benefits of Riding
Harry McMillan www.peak-photo.co.uk
Horse riding is a skill that involves physical activity. Many beneficial effects on health are claimed for horse riding, some physiological and some psychological. Those who enjoy horse riding are unlikely to argue with claims that it has a broad benefit on health and well-being. There has not been much ‘scientific’ research into this subject. The British Horse Society commissioned a study into the health benefits of riding ( 'Health Benefits of Riding' ). Amongst the study’s conclusions it found ‘Horse riding and activities associated with horse riding, such as mucking out, expend sufficient energy to be classed as moderate intensity exercise’. The study noted that achieving this level of exercise three times a week should help an individual achieve or exceed the minimum level of physical activity set out in government recommendations.
Many other amateur riders will be expending significantly higher levels of energy, for example those involved in competitive riding and those who look after horses on a daily basis.
Exercise alone is clearly not the most important reason why people ride. Riding and working with horses is a way of life – providing many valuable challenges, lessons and insights – as well as a sport and means of outdoor exercise.