Horse ownership is an enjoyable and rewarding pasttime. Like most animals, they are much more than ‘just a pet’; they consume a large part of our hearts and contribute to our overall happiness and wellbeing. There are many health benefits to owning a horse, companionship, recreation and relaxation being just a few.
Yes, they are hard work and expensive but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of an evening canter in the fresh, country air.
Here are just a few of the incredible benefits to horse ownership.
Horse ownership keeps you active
There is no doubt about it, horse ownership is demanding. Whatever the weather you still have turn out, ride, clean, groom, feed, rake hay, the list could go on. This keeps you very active and means you’re constantly on the go and burning calories.
Although horse riding is a solo sport, the bond you build with your horse is unbreakable. Teaching a horse and having it trust you and listen to you and vice versa is a great feeling. This transcends into confidence because it’s a wonderful sense of achievement.
It goes without saying that horse ownership reduces stress levels. Many studies have proven that interaction with animals lowers blood pressure and the hormones associated with stress. Not only that, the physical activity of horse riding releases endorphins. Galloping through the British countryside can give you a huge sense of freedom whilst taking in stunning views. It reconnects us perfectly with nature.
Horsy people are incredibly social and share a big passion so it’s inevitable that you’ll make new friends. Whether it’s during lessons, at the stables, at shows or in sports clubs, there are plenty of social events associated with horse riding to fill your calendar.
Helps with disabilities
Horse riding can help people to forget their disability or illness and make the most of their new experience. It also greatly improves mental health and well being by increasing confidence and creating a sense of calm and freedom of movement. The physical benefits are significant, including helping to develop muscle tone, balance and coordination and reduce spasms.
It’s a challenge
Training a horse isn’t easy, but the daily challenges force you to engage your brain and think of solutions. With all that’s going on simultaneously, it’s a lot for your brain to take in so it tests your ability to stay focused on a task in hand.
Character building is a natural part of horse ownership; teaching responsibility, punctuality, sportsmanship, frugality, patience, commitment, confidence and self-esteem.
Muscle Tone and Flexibility
Nearly every muscle in your body gets used when horse riding, but particularly your core, inner thighs and pelvic muscles. Riders often have to maintain a squatting position while they ride, constantly adjusting to the cadence of the horse. This exercise helps with good overall muscle tone and flexibility.
Horse riding is one of the best ways to enjoy the countryside, whether you go for a solo ride, you’re part of a hunt or you’re simply hanging out with friends. But don’t forget your hip flask!
If you love outdoor country pursuits, you may also enjoy reading our beginner’s guide to clay pigeon shooting.