As winter passes into spring, there will be more enjoyable, adventurous, and frequent horseback riding in the months to come. While people often talk about the health of the horses — an incredibly important focus — they never talk about the health of the riders themselves.
The concentration and alertness required in horseback riding is tied to your physical health. If you’re not in peak physical condition for horseback riding, you won't be as good of a rider, which can be bad for the horse. Additionally, you won’t experience the fulfillment riding a horse can bring to you! I’d like to cover three areas in which your physical health affects your riding.
Alertness: Staying attentive and watchful of where you’re going and what potential obstacles may be in your path is absolutely necessary while riding a horse. While horses have great peripheral vision, they always have a blind spot between their noses. You need to be able to look straight ahead of them and be on the lookout for any obstacles that might come up in their paths.
Being well rested, fully nourished, and ensuring your ears and eyes are healthy is crucial to staying alert while horseback riding. If your horse is tired or not feeling well and you don’t catch it, then you as a rider need to be even more on your A game!
Attitude: Did you know that horses can recognize human emotion? It's scientifically proven, actually. Your attitude as their rider affects them!
Similar to the way alertness is tied to your physical health, so is your emotional health. In other words, a positive lifestyle brings around a positive attitude. While there is such a thing as worrying too much about fitness and exercise, apathy can be just as negative.
If you’re doing all you can to ensure your own health, you’re more likely to be in a good mood. It’s common knowledge that endorphins are released while exercising, but did you know that eating more fruits and vegetables is also suggested to make you happier? Practicing moderation or staying away from unhealthy habits regarding alcohol, fast food, and sleep patterns will only help your attitude.
So stay positive — your horse will thank you!
Preparation: All of the aforementioned things boil down to simply taking care of yourself. Riding horses is a sport, and it’s exercise for you just like it is for your horse! As with all good exercise, preparation is a must! In this case, exercising on your own time will keep you fit for riding.
Healthiest Best put this all into perspective in their article “Benefits of Horseback Riding.” They listed core strength, balance, muscle tone, and cardiovascular benefits as results of horse riding. But how is solo exercise a good pre-workout for it?
Well, for instance, when you’re riding fast, it can really take the wind out of you. Regular cardiovascular activity, such as running, can increase your lung capacity, making your fast ride a better time. Using a wearable to monitor your heart rate while you’re riding will prove this to you — the more you work out, the lower your heart rate will be while riding, and the healthier you’ll feel.
To use a different example, horseback riding requires consistent and appropriate posture. As any gym rat knows, the more lifting and core strength exercises you do, the better your posture becomes. These are only two examples, but overall exercise will help your horse riding ability and endurance.
If there’s anything you should leave this article with, it’s that your own physical health increases the enjoyment and fulfillment you can get from your horse riding experience. How do you prepare for horse riding? How do you get yourself into the right mindset? Let us know about it in the comments below!
Photo by Markus Spiske, attained from pexels.com.