Benefits of Horseback Riding

Please welcome guest blogger Mike Shortridge –  all the way from Australia!

Horseback riding is an enjoyable pastime for all ages and can be a fun hobby. But it also comes with amazing benefits including offering good exercise and helping to strengthen your muscles.

A ride provides significant exercise, but also offers benefits including improved balance, coordination, and even a meditative effect, helping riders forget about everyday stresses for the duration of the ride.

We caught up with Russ from and asked for his top ten ways in which horseback riding can benefit your overall health. Here they are.

1. A moderately intense workout

While riding a horse might look easy, anyone who has ever tried it can testify that it’s not the case. Balancing in the saddle takes a lot of muscle effort even at a standstill, while actively riding and guiding a horse can be incredibly strenuous, providing a great workout. Riding a horse to a light trot uses up as many calories as any other type of moderately intensive exercise.

2. Stronger muscles in your core

Horseback riding requires balance in the saddle to stop you from bouncing around. Staying in place makes use of all your core muscles. So regular riding can help you on the way to better abs, keeping your central core lean and strong.

3. Better overall posture

The position for riding can help to align hips, back, and pelvis, and strengthen your core, meaning more time in the saddle can lead to a much-improved posture. The more regularly you ride, the better your posture can become.

4. Improved muscle tone

Riding horses helps exercise your lower body providing better toned muscles. You use lower body muscles holding the position to remain balanced while riding and improve your muscle tone and overall flexibility.

5. Physical labor

Looking after a horse including mucking out stalls, pushing wheelbarrows, and carrying food also add to the daily workout. All these activities will help you to burn more calories and get stronger and fitter alongside the riding itself.

6. Better balance

Every time the horse moves and turns you need to keep your balance to stay on. The more you ride, the better you will get at staying on and being balanced, which will help you gain strength for when you are out of the saddle.

7. Increased awareness of your body

Riding a horse helps you to be more aware of your body and core muscles as you start to use them on a regular basis and see noticeable improvements in your strength and muscle tone. All the benefits from the increased awareness and strength will also translate into your everyday life away from the stables.

8. Faster reactions

Riding a horse means constantly being aware of what is around you and what is happening with the horse. You need to watch out for low branches, anything which might spook the horse, and any sudden movements which could throw you off balance, so your quick thinking and fast reactions will improve.

9. Improved coordination skills

Many things need to happen at the same time when riding. You use your feet, hands, core and mental faculties all at the same time to keep the horse under control and stay balanced, leading to improved coordination skills overall. This works particularly well for children and has been shown to create large improvements in childhood coordination overall.

10. A calming meditative effect

Focusing solely on the rhythm of the horse and riding outside can have a positive impact on your mental health with almost a meditative effect. When riding, your focus is completely on the horse and your surroundings meaning all stress, worries, and concerns are left behind during your time in the saddle.

There are many benefits to horseback riding for adults and children alike, including regular exercise, fresh air, improved coordination, and quick-thinking skills. Riding has also been proven to be beneficial in other ways, particularly for children, improving confidence and developing better coordination. Horses provide therapeutic benefits for children in bonding with the animals and taking on the responsibility of looking after them. As an enjoyable family event, horseback riding can bring everyone together while offering all these health and mental benefits at the same time.

About Mike Shortridge: Mike is a freelance writer who contributes to and other equine-related blogs internationally.

Thanks for stopping by, Mike!

Photos via Pixabay used under Creative Commons CC0.