Happy horse, happy rider
Research carried out by the University of Brighton and Plumpton College suggests that riding stimulates positive feelings with a massive 80% of respondents revealing that horse riding made them feel cheerful, relaxed, happy or active.1 Central to the positive experiences people felt from horse riding was the relationship with their horse - as well as the more obvious physical benefits for you and your horse, riding can strengthen your bond, boost your mood and keep your horse mentally alert and stimulated.
Up the ante
Mixing up the terrain that your horse rides on is a great boost for their fitness as well as keeping them engaged and mentally content. Exploring and taking advantage of your surroundings is a great way of getting out and active with your horse and there’s something for everyone:
- Hills - Wherever you are, chances are you are never too far away from a hill or two. Slowly going up and down them is a great opportunity to help your horse build stronger muscles (particularly in their hind legs) and develop their balancing skills. Tackling challenging hills will also benefit their core strength and stamina but remember to start off slow and steady until your horse becomes more accustomed to inclines and declines.
- Large open spaces - Scout out a large opening or grassy field before you go out hacking and use it as a practice arena if your horse is gearing up for a competition or simply a fun playground if they are approaching their twilight years. Here your horse can hone a variety of competition skills. However, be aware that the uneven ground may mask muddy holes or dips so always check the clearing first.
- Roadwork Although riding on the roads may seem like a daunting experience for some horses and riders, it is great for their fitness and varying their workload. Roadwork can help strengthen horses’ legs but take extra precautions to stay safe on busy roads. Read our guide to staying safe on the roads.
Alternatively, if your sense of adventure is leading your further afield, try out these hacks: