There’s a great quote from Sir Winston Churchill, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” From the outside observer, horseback riding may just seem like a pleasurable pastime or a means of travel in some cases, but it is much more.
More Going on Than Meets the Eye
When you see a rider on a horse, you may think that all the rider has to do is give the horse some simple instructions like “Go,” “Whoa,” and “Turn.” In the relationship between rider and horse, it would appear that the horse is doing all the work. The person on the horse is literally “just along for the ride.” Right? Not even close. There’s far more to horseback riding than the casual observer might expect. There are also health benefits beyond simple enjoyment: physically, mentally and emotionally.
Horseback riding develops balance and coordination. Jamie Jankowicz, owner of Legacy Saddlebreds, says, “The movements required to cue a horse as you ride require body awareness on the rider’s part.” Riding also uses muscles: most importantly the legs, abdominal, shoulder and back muscles. However, riding doesn’t depend on strength alone, but on strong, flexible muscles that aid in stability and coordination. Riding is a weight-bearing, full-body, muscle-building exercise. Your blood circulation and sensory integration are affected when you ride, as well as your perception of space and coordination.
For many who ride, a horse is a deeply spiritual being with which they make a connection. Many find companionship and solace while working with their horse. “Although riding can have its frustrations and challenges, most people find the time they ride and spend with their horse as relaxing, a way to relive stress. The time with your horse helps you to be emotionally thoughtful and considerate of the horse, perhaps with this spilling over into your life and relationships with people. Also, when other riders spend time together enjoying their horses, there’s a camaraderie that develops. If you prefer solitude, there’s nothing better than to spend your time with than a horse, a quiet friend at all times,” Jamie commented.
Just the size of a horse demands respect, and learning to ride teaches one patience. A new rider learns many things from a horse, including to respect the horse and have patience as they get to know their horse. Having a horse and caring for it, no matter what your age, is a responsibility. With each ride, you learn from your mistakes, and students at Legacy Saddlebreds learn to take constructive criticism, helping them in their decision-making and to use good judgment. There is so much more going on when you ride a horse than what appears. Riding is a way to relax, a workout for your body and a time to build trust, confidence and sensitivity with another being. “Our instructors at Legacy Saddlebreds love introducing new riders to an experience that can change their lives in so many ways,” stated Jamie.
Legacy Saddlebreds is located at 4151 Thomasville Road, Winston-Salem, NC. The facility offers training, riding lessons, horsemanship camps, adult clinics, youth clubs and horse shows. For more information, visit www.legacysaddlebreds.com.
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