Why do we ride? cont

I have been asked a couple of times by my friends recently – “And you do this for FUN?” As I have been working with a two semi wild, unhandled adult mares causing some unplanned incidents. The most impressive one was getting the lead rein around my foot while unloading a mare that had never been halter trained, needless to say I came bouncing out the box and down the road on my rear end. Happy to say the mare now leads like a star.

Well there are many good reasons to ride horses and they make up for these moments of doubt.

There are many psychological benefits to being around horses so much so that horses are one of the most utilised animals in human/animal therapy programs. They are used in rehabilitation programs for people suffering from addictions, abuse, depression, to mention just a few. Being outdoors and enjoying the countryside is also a great way to boost one’s sense of general well-being and reduce stress.

The good news is that it is also a really good physical workout! Catching your horse, grooming and tacking up are the start of your cardiovascular and muscle conditioning workout. An hours riding activity can burn as many calories as half an hour jogging, which is great news. The movement of the horse also has an effect on the riders deep postural muscles of the trunk and pelvis as well as the adductor muscles of the thighs. Thus the feeling of muscles you never knew you add after your first ride or after a long break from riding.

The ultimate high that keeps us coming back for more is the feeling of complete exhilaration and freedom when riding. There is no better feeling in the world than when the horse and you merge and become one energy, two beings in complete harmony and working as one. Phillippa Johnson and her horse were the perfect examples of this when they won the gold medal for SA at the recent world games.