March 28, 2008 - Admin

Horseback Riding for Exercise & More

By Sean Prenderville
Riding at Sunset

It has been nearly a century since horses served as our primary means of transportation. Since the invention of horseless carriages, the horse has evolved into largely a recreational animal. Horseback riding as a sport encompasses a wide array of styles and goals. It is a fantastic physical activity, and, whether you are 8 or 80, horseback riding is a great form of exercise.

Many people begin riding as a child, either through formal lessons or by trial and error. A trip to Grandpa’s farm was never complete without a bareback ride on one of his horses. Horseback riding need not be formal by any means. Some of the best childhood memories were fantasies enacted while astride a neighbor’s pony. Children enjoy horses and often share their deepest, darkest secrets with their equine friend.

As childhood transitions into adulthood, many people choose to hone their skills and make horseback riding a serious sport. There are many venues for competition in the horse world including western, hunting, jumping, dressage, cross country and gaited events. Within each of these disciplines is a wide array of events in which to compete. Western events include such things as demonstrating skills still used on a ranch, speed events, and pleasure classes. Horseback riding events can be further divided into competitions for specific breeds such as Arabian, Quarter Horse, Thoroughbreds, Shires and Appaloosa shows as well as events for all the pony breeds such as Connemara, Exmoor, Welsh and Highland ponies.

Many people find ways to incorporate their love of horseback riding with their daily work or social life. Although there are many methods of working with livestock on a farm or ranch, the horse remains the first choice of most. He alone is capable of taking instruction and applying it. He alone can carry you over the rough country to find missing stock or to check fence lines. He alone can carry you over fields and fences as you chase the illusive fox with a foxhunting club. Life is enriched by the time spent with a horse.

Many mature riders find that there is nothing more wonderful than a ride through the forest and the countryside along a trail or bridleway. There is a communing with the horse as you both enjoy the scenery of nature. This type of horseback riding is truly the most rewarding. You can cast away the stresses of life and take time to smell the woods, listen to the call of birds, watch light dance on a stream as you cross it, and simply take the time to appreciate life. Horseback riding is many things to many people but it is definitely one of the best aspects of life.

Even when physical limitations make horseback riding difficult, people can continue to enjoy their time with their horse and in nature. Many former riders become carriage drivers. Just as with riding, there are opportunities for pleasure and competition as well as using one, two, or more horses. Whether you are a horseback rider or a carriage driver, the horse can be an integral part of your entire life.

Even when physical limitations make horseback riding difficult, people can continue to enjoy their time with their horse and in nature. Many former riders become carriage drivers. Just as with riding, there are opportunities for pleasure and competition as well as using one, two, or more horses. Whether you are a horseback rider or a carriage driver, the horse can be an integral part of your entire life.


About the author: Sean Prenderville is a retired accountant and riding instructor . Since his retirement he has devoted almost all of his time to horses, their care and welfare. For more information click:horseridingforall.blogspot.com

Riding as Exercise

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