In order to keep your balance while horseback riding, and ensuring you won’t be bounced off, you have to use your core strength. When you are riding a horse properly, you will engage all your core muscles, starting from your abs, to your lower back and obliques.
Horseback riding has a similar effect on your core strength as doing ball crunches and planks. Since balancing is not easy, it will help you burn calories and even shed some extra pounds.
However, more experienced riders will learn to control their muscles, which keeps them mounted and up off the ground (even without stirrups!) Horse riding has a similar effect on improving your balance as doing light yoga or Pilates.
Since you have to hold your position for an extended period of time, you are basically doing an isometric workout. In order to keep yourself perched in the saddle, you will sometimes have to squeeze your thighs so hard, that it will feel like you have drained every ounce of strength you had.
Because this was a beginner lesson, the majority of time was spent sitting in the saddle and walking. It takes strength to sit up and down continuously without relying on your hands to help push your weight up.
At the end of a 30-minute lesson, I had burned 140 calories, with an average heart rate of 115 bpm. PEOPLE also spoke with professional hunter-jumper rider and trainer Melissa Grubber for her thoughts on riding as a workout.
On a half-hour ride consisting of flatworm and jumping, Grubber’s average heart rate was 132 bpm, and she burned 180 calories in 27 minutes. And on a more strenuous schooling ride of just 17 minutes, Grubber’s average heart rate was 143 bpm, and she burned 131 calories.
Today, society is aware of the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and many seek non-traditional methods of exercise to improve their fitness. Horseback riding is a great exercise that checks all the boxes, fun, outdoor, and strenuous.
When riding a horse, my stress level reduces, and I feel similar to the way I do after a workout, my muscles are tight, and my head is clear. If you have ever ridden a horse for more than 30 minutes straight you know your muscles are being worked, contracted, and tensed frequently.
When I ride a horse after taking a short break, my back and legs are typically sore the following day. If you are not used to horseback riding or have taken a break, expect some muscle soreness, but don’t let it a little pain deter you from getting back in the saddle because the benefits you gain are essential.
The more often we ride the more our core is worked and strengthened, which, in turn, leads to better posture, balance and more enjoyable experiences. Improvement of your core muscle strength-pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen-lead to better balance and stability.
Core muscles comprise mass and when worked correctly fat is being burned proportionately. You will notice better overall physical performance in daily activities and other sports such as swimming and running.
Weak core muscles can lead to lethargy, less endurance, and low back pain because of poor posture. When a horse jogs or runs the rider is required to hold their body weight by pressing down on their stirrups replicating the benefits derived from a squat exercise.
The inner thighs are worked by exerting pressure against the horse either to increase speed or maintain balance. You will need to pull his head up from the ground if this often happens you will feel the burn in your arms and shoulders.
The cardiovascular system transports blood and nutrients throughout the body providing necessary elements to cells to help fight diseases, stabilize temperature, and maintain proper functions of the organs. Over time this leads to a stronger heart which in turn functions better and improves overall wellness.
However, riding at accelerated speeds or training your horse for racing, dressage or jumping will likely lead to healthy aerobic benefits for you. The following results are what would be expected of a rider in decent shape: After riding her horse for 30 minutes at a moderate level, her average heart rate would be 130-140 bpm and 180 or so calories burned.
So there can be some benefit to the cardiovascular system when you go horseback riding, it just will depend on how hard you decide to ride. If you notice yourself tightening your legs, and hanging on to the reins to stay in the center you are not balanced.
Riding with your feet out front causes you to vertically move back and vice versa. Some horses will attempt to move forward fast to bring you into proper balance.
As you develop your riding skills pay attention to how your body movement influences your horse. You will be able to follow a horse’s motion much better and notice the rhythm and timing of footfalls, all of this will lead to greater horsemanship skills.
The faster a horse moves the more challenging it is to keep a proper position and balance. The muscles of the core, arms, and legs get a good workout if a balanced ride is achieved.
Horses are big strong animals that can bolt quickly and if you are not alert you could easily end up on the ground. There can be plenty of ways to strengthen muscles and increase cardiovascular capacity around the barn.
Lifting hay, feed bags, and saddles provide a great way to exercise your body while getting some needed work accomplished. Walking your horses, fixing fences and cleaning stalls are always to keep you physically and mentally healthy.
Every year sees a new fitness craze that is ‘ 100% guaranteed ‘ to help you lose weight but the vast majority of these flash in the pan ways only work for the celebrities who swear by them. The ‘crazes’ that involve exercise are far more likely to work which brings me back to the question of ‘Is horse riding a good exercise to lose weight?’.
The dictionary definition of exercise is ‘ an activity that requires physical effort and is carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness ‘ which means that horse riding most definitely does count as exercise. To keep your balance you’ll use your legs, thighs and abdominal muscles as well as your core strength.
Then to keep yourself sat upright you’ll use your core strength as well as various muscles in your back and stomach. A recent study by the British Horse Society found that riding uses enough energy to be classed as moderate-intensity exercise.
This is one of the reasons why horse riding is such a good form of exercise, not just for losing weight but for your general health too. What makes horse riding such a good form of exercise is the wide range of muscles you’re using without feeling as if you are.
An added bonus of horse riding is that it’s kinder on your joints, this is because you’re not causing any sudden impacts and are instead moving them freely. On the other hand, if you’re going through more paces than it will count as a cardio workout, even if you’re just walking, trotting and cantering on the flat without any jumping or racing.
When you add activities such as cutting or dressage into your riding then your cardio workout is even greater. Studies have shown that being around animals can not only positively boost your mood but can also help to relax you and lower your heart rate.
As well as the benefits to your health and mood horse riding is a great way of making new friends, after all, you already share a hobby together. Walking 145 Trotting 350 Cantering 455 Galloping 580 Pleasure 290 Reining 420 Cutting 300 Jumping 600 Polo 535 Dressage 410 I hope you found this article helpful.
My name’s Lucy and since learning to ride at the age of five I’ve not only owned dozens of horses and ponies (and a few donkeys) but I’ve also run a very successful riding school, teaching both English and Western. I have a real passion for horses and feel that they can add so much richness and joy to our lives which is why I created this blog. I want this site to be a real Facebook for new and experienced owners and riders alike.
This blog contains affiliate links, however, I’ve only picked items that I genuinely feel may be of help to you. These links will cost you no more than the standard cost of the item(s) in question but a small percentage of the price will go towards the upkeep of this site and help me to continue with the site so that I can hopefully help others.