Sir Winston Churchill once said , “ there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
Horse riding is a sport like no other. There exists a close relationship between horse and rider which is based on trust and purposeful direction provided by the rider to the horse. The trust between the horse and rider grows sometimes to the extent that the relationship starts working on instinct.
We all have our own reasons for wanting to ride a horse. However it is essential that we like horses. As mentioned earlier horse riding constitutes a relationship between a human being and an animal and no relationship is successful without the basic ingredient of liking one another. Sometimes the size of the horse as a being can intimidate people let alone getting astride and riding it. Horses sense fear and emotions which can sometimes make the interface between a person and the horse awkward. The best way to overcome some awkward moments is to ensure frequent interactions under the guidance and supervision of a trained rider/instructor. Pampering horses with sugar lumps and carrots can go a long way in breaking the ice.
Horse riding can be taken up at any age. But if you are looking to develop proficiency in the sport you need to start young as in most other sports. However, with proper instruction and guidance there is no reason why people in their forties and beyond can’t learn to ride. Lots of seniors have ridden into their ‘golden years’ with a favorite equine companion. And, there are benefits beyond simple enjoyment; physical, mental and emotional.
Riding develops balance and coordination. The movements required to cue a horse require body awareness. Riding also uses many muscles; most importantly the leg, abdominal, shoulder and back muscles. Furthermore research has shown that lifelong learning may prevent memory loss. Riding provides an active avenue for keeping ones brain exercised. Finally, for many, a horse is a connection with nature whether they ride in the ring or down the trail. Many people find companionship and solace while working with their horses. In times of stress a horse can be a quiet friend, who is without judgment or guile.