Have you been looking for something new and interesting to try out lately? Maybe you’re looking for an extracurricular activity for your kids to try.
But have you considered taking horseback riding lessons?
There are a lot of physical and psychological benefits to riding horses. Not to mention it can be a fun and unique experience every time you ride.
But what makes riding horses so good for a person?
Read on to learn eight wonderful benefits of horseback riding lessons for both children and adults.
1. Physical Exercise
The first and most obvious reason to try horseback riding lessons is that it is good physical exercise. Everything regarding horseriding and care requires the use of your muscles.
First of all, you need to be able to saddle the horse. Saddles are heavy objects, and you have to raise your arms high to get them on the horse. This makes good use of the arm muscles.
You also use those for cleaning out stables. Stalls need to be regularly cleaned, or the horses will be forced to live in their own messes.
You also need to move your body to groom the horse after riding. You need to brush it and rinse it to get all the dirt off after a long day.
And riding itself also requires the use of your muscles. You need to be able to use your strength to pull yourself up onto the horse.
Then if you want to ride fast, your legs must keep your body lifted off the saddle for extended lengths of time. This builds up leg strength.
Even just casual riding moves your hips in the same motion as walking. This means that your legs and stomach move in ways that use almost all of your lower body strength.
You also need to keep your arms raised, or your horse won’t know which way you want them to go. If you lower your arms, most horses will assume you’re trying to get off.
And all of this has great physical benefits for your body.
Next is that horseback riding lessons promote socialization. It gets you out of your house and away from the many devices that take up so much of everyone’s lives.
You’ll meet a lot of new and interesting people when you take horseback riding lessons. These will be your classmates, staff, and other equestrian enthusiasts that are there taking care of their horses.
These encourage social skills, especially in young children. It gets kids out of their comfort zones and communicating with kids their own age. And in today’s digital world, these can lead to friendships that last a lifetime.
This happens when children start helping and encouraging each other during lessons.
This is true, even for adults. Many grownups who start taking horseback riding lessons keep coming back because of the good friends they make there.
And some of these people will be around horses for the rest of their lives! Many careers in this world involve being around horses.
Some kids who take horseback riding lessons will become veterinarians. Others will become horse jockeys or raise show horses. Some might get into making equipment for taking care of horses or write literature for other horse enthusiasts.
But kids will always have those bonds with the good friends they made during horse riding lessons. Those memories and friendships will never die or fade. And they’ll be dying to come back again to make new memories and friends too.
3. Mental Health
Many studies show that riding horses can have benefits for your mental health. It’s relaxing, and physical exercise releases serotonin.
A lack of enrichment is a leading cause of mental health and behavioral problems in children. Horseback riding and care is an excellent outlet for these kids to reground themselves. It allows them to understand what leads them to behave the way that they do.
For kids who are more shy and anxious, horses don’t need to be a competition. It’s meant to be a fun activity for them to share with others. And when they do well at it, it gives them a boost in confidence.
This is often what leads the more quiet kids to come out of their shells around horses.
It’s also stimulating to the brain, which means that it can be helpful for those who suffer from depression. This is true for both children and adults. In fact, horseback riding is a highly recommended form of therapy by many psychologists.
Some studies have shown that it can even reduce stress. Children who rode horses were found to have less cortisol in their saliva than children who didn’t. This is the hormone most often associated with stress.
Naturally, this is going to vary from person to person. All mental health issues are going to be somewhat unique from one another. However, many studies have indicated that, in general, horseback riding has many great psychological benefits.
Horseback riding is also going to teach your kids responsibility. Your kids will learn how to care for the horse as well as ride it.
They will learn how to feed and handle the horse properly. Instructors will teach them how to groom and wash the horse. They will also be taught how to keep pastures and stables clean for the horses.
And most importantly, they will be taught how to treat these animals with respect. They are large animals, but they still have needs. Both children and adults will be expected to take good care of the animals while in charge of them.
They also startle easily, making them dangerous for children who don’t understand that they need to be calm and quiet around horses. Kids will be taught this lesson long before they ever even get near the horses.
It’s an effective way to teach kids to take responsibility for another animal. They will learn that they are responsible for keeping themselves and the animal safe when they are in the saddle. This is a lesson that they will take with them wherever they go.
Even if you or your child don’t stay around horses for the rest of your lives, these are all lessons that you’ll never forget. They are lessons that prepare you for taking care of a pet or a child of your own someday. It’s good practice to care for an animal that can’t necessarily communicate back to you.
5. Problem Solving
Horseback riding can be a good lesson in problem-solving.
For example, horses like carrots and apples. But if you hold onto them with your fingers, the horse might bite those instead of their treat. What do you do to prevent this?
If you’re out on a trail and the two-hundred-pound horse you’re riding wants to go one way instead of following your group, you can be in danger. You need to quickly think of a way to get your horse to obey your commands without hurting yourself or the horse. What do you do in this scenario?
The truth of the matter is that horses are living creatures. They have minds and wills of their own. They have health issues just like humans do.
The goal is to teach you how to deal with those problems. Horseback riding lessons give you the tools to deal with these problems and many others. For children, it can be a lesson in working together to solve these problems.
And they’re tools that you can then take with you and apply wherever you go. Even if you end up in an office job far away from horses, you’ll still have those problem-solving skills you learned from riding.
6. Development of Competitive Skills
Raising horses can also lead to friendly competitions.
For starters, there are horse races. This involves prepping your horse to run as fast as it possibly can. Many people breed multiple horses for this purpose.
There are also skill competitions such as hurdle jumping. Both the rider and horse must work together to succeed at these competitions. The horse must be ready to obey its rider’s commands, and the rider must be able to stay on when it jumps.
There are also show horses. These horses are mainly for their looks, but they still need to get plenty of exercise daily. At show competitions, they are judged on their beauty, manners, and rideability.
If they are in western or stock shows, they may also need to show some skills related to their breed. They might need to demonstrate jumping or even cattle herding in some cases.
Friendly competition is a good motivator in life. And in many cases, there is an opportunity to win good money at any of these competitions. It’s also a great place to make friends and learn even more about caring for horses.
There is also the benefit of companionship if you eventually choose to get your own horse. Many horse enthusiasts will tell you that their horse is their best friend.
There is a good reason for this. If you take good care of your horse, it will become as loyal as the gentlest dog breeds. This is a bond that you will share with it for both of your lifetimes.
And considering that some horses can live to be thirty years old or more, this will be a long-lasting bond. Your horse will always be there for you, and you will definitely always be there for it.
And they’re incredibly smart animals. The amount of skill that many horses can demonstrate over and over again indicates high cognitive ability. They are almost on the same level as dogs in this category.
And they have been known to show high levels of emotional intelligence as well. They are social animals that enjoy being around other horses and humans.
There are even studies that show that horses understand human emotional patterns. They understand when you’re upset and may even attempt to cheer you up. They can even recognize the differences between human voices.
This is what makes horses such great animals to take care of. In some cases, they might even also take care of you.
Finally, the most important reason to get horseback riding instruction is for fun!
While it’s meant to be an educational experience, it’s first and foremost supposed to be enjoyable for everyone involved. This should be the main reason that you want to ride a horse at all! Everything else is just a part of the experience.
The mental health benefits and the physical exercise are all mostly because you’re having fun! And the friends and education are just perks that come with all of that. Not to mention that you might fall in love with horses and want to get one for yourself.
You might even find yourself wanting to participate in horse competitions too. You never know where life is going to take you once you start having fun taking riding lessons.
So if you and some friends are looking for something different to do, then why not give horseback riding lessons a try? It’s fun, and it’s good for the body and mind!
Start Taking Horseback Riding Lessons Today
It’s time that you experienced the benefits of horseback riding lessons for yourself. But where can you go to do this? You need a place with staff that you can trust to guide you through how to handle a horse.
That’s why you should trust Ridge Meadow Horse Farm. Our staff tailor lessons by age group and experience to make them educational and fun for everyone involved. So whether you’re five or fifty-five years old, you’ll enjoy our lessons.
We offer private, semi-private, and group lessons, so go ahead and bring your friends along with you! We offer the best experience for horseback riding in PA. Contact us today and see how we can help get you started riding.