Horse riding is physically demanding despite the fact that the horse seems to do much of the work while you’re simply on its back. Staying on the horse and steering require finesse, strength and stamina from the rider.
To stay on the horse you need to move with the animal and keep your balance. This requires core strength if you plan to stay safe and in the saddle. Horseback riding can teach anyone balance because remaining on the horse becomes a matter of survival and is thus great learning motivation.
Once you get the hang of it your movements will naturally counteract those of the horse – it becomes second nature. This muscle memory will serve you well because your general balance will improve.
Horseback riding involves a lot of horse riding gear and many things need to happen simultaneously. You need to keep control of the reigns, keep your feet planted in the stirrups and hold on to the body of the horse with your thighs – just to name a few.
Your coordination will improve greatly as you refine your horse riding skills and get the hang of using all the equestrian equipment– not to mention the fact that your reflexes will improve too!
Riding horses will inevitably improve the flexibility of your hamstrings, glutes and hips. This will also reduce tension from other sports or strenuous activities that you partake in.
Keeping your balance while horse riding is a very effective isometric exercise. Balancing yourself in the saddle activates your core muscles and engages them throughout. This will lead to toned abdominal muscles and a stronger core.
Your inner thighs grasp onto the sides of the horse constantly during the ride. This squeezing action tones your upper legs and makes them muscular and powerful.
Besides keeping your balance on the saddle you need to move with the horse. When the horse begins to gallop you need to stand up in the stirrups in time with every bounce. This requires effort and will certainly improve your fitness level the more you ride. Your heart rate will go up aiding in circulation and maintaining a healthy heart. The heart is like any other muscle, it needs regular exercise and horse riding great for getting in your cardio workout.
If you have a role in the maintenance of the stables and the care of a horse you will also get plenty of exercise as you deal with various kinds of equestrian equipment.