People tend to think of horseback riding as just a ride, something passive but enjoyable. For those not familiar with riding, it’s actually a good source of physical exercise. Horseback riding itself is probably one of the oldest sports in history. In ancient Rome chariot racing was a demanding and dangerous spectacle that rivaled gladiatorial combat in popularity. Surviving and evolving into our modern time, the game of polo relies on endurance and coordination from both rider and horse. If we were to research each of these sports, we’d find that horseback riding actually conditions human riders just as much as the horses they partner with. While Happy On Hooves isn’t a polo club, our rides still provide exercise which you can use to your benefit. Even our beginner’s trail ride trains your body and mind, as well as conditioning you to the natural elements.
Riding, especially along trails, relies on physicality and mental awareness. For one thing, being in the saddle is a balancing act. As your horse moves, you must remain in an upright position while also moving with your animal as he or she climbs, descends, and turns. This forces you to engage your core while also working on flexibility. In truth, you’re not just riding along, but riding with your horse, which makes this an active form of exercise.
Horseback riding uses a lot of other muscles that can be difficult to target in a conventional workout, particularly in the lower body. As you ride you use your legs to steady yourself and steer the horse. As you grip the horse with your legs, the tension will work your inner thighs, glutes, and potentially your hamstrings. You get a leg day in without even hitting the gym. It’s important to remember that you’ll probably be sore after your ride: you’ll need to stretch and hydrate afterwards and throughout the next day. Being outside will also accustomize your body to the weather and sun, allowing you to build physical tolerance and endurance for when you are running or even working outdoors in the future. Our trail rides are basically like going on a hike, just on a horse. You will work and expend energy but also get to enjoy the woods our trail winds through.
Physicality is only part of the equation, however. Our rides can be both relaxing and exhilarating. Many of our clients express that the rides are a great stress relief. More than that though, horseback riding can help you build confidence in addition to sharpening focus and visual acuity. You’ll find yourself reading the movements of your horse and being mindful of what is needed from you to steer the animal and successfully traverse the trail.
Our rides are all meant to maximize your experience. If you opt for a casual ride you can certainly find it in our beginner’s trail ride, which is slower and more focused on simply enjoying the scenery. Of course, if you find yourself ready to test yourself physically and as a horseman, our extreme trail rides up the speed and intensity! New or unexperienced riders are also welcome to partake; we still keep it safe and fun. For more information on booking rides, check out our main page and visit us on Facebook!