One of the best hobbies or sports to enjoy (and that I am obviously a big fan of) is horse riding. Not only do you get to enjoy social time and bond with your horse, but you get to enjoy time outdoors and also get pretty strong and fit in the process. It can help to grow your confidence, as well as help you to develop new skills, self-discipline, and perhaps even carve out a career path for you. So if you think that horse riding might be for you, read on.
Why Get Into Horse Riding?
Some of the reasons why have been outlined above; it is fun, social, active, and gets you outdoors. Horse riding is a really unique activity. It can be a really beneficial sport both physically (mucking out horses is hard work, as well as riding them), and mentally. The bond you can have with a horse or pony is unlike any other. Getting out in nature can help with mindfulness, as well as relaxation. So can be good for anxiety sufferers and those with depression.
Who Is Horse Riding Aimed At?
The wonderful thing about horse riding is that it is suitable for a whole different variety of people. You can start as a young child, or take it up as an adult. You might be seeking to have a relaxing hobby, or prefer to have a hobby that taps into your adrenaline junkie nature. All of these things can be said of horse riding; how much you do will just depend on you.
Isn’t Horse Riding Expensive?
If you want to get serious with horse riding, then it can prove a little pricey if you are thinking of getting your own horse, or looking at steel building prices to house your horse or pony in your own stables. But there are many different options, depending on how involved you want to be. Group lessons at an equestrian centre are the most affordable option. Then if you become passionate about it, it does become a bit of a lifestyle change. So the cost doesn’t seem high as you are always at the stables or with the horses.
How Much of a Workout Do You Get?
If you’re looking at horse riding as a pretty relaxing way to get outdoors, then you do need to bear in mind that horse does not do all of the work! You do get a pretty good workout out horse riding. The main areas it works are your legs, thighs, abdominals and glutes. It does really get your heart racing, though. So if you think you need to lift weights to workout; you’d be wrong.
How Easy Is It To Go Pro?
There are a lot of competitions for all horse riders. So whatever level you are at, there will be competitions for you to enter. Then you can see how things go from there. If you take a real shine to it, then it would be fairly straightforward to become a professional (along with lots of hard work and determination, of course).
Re-published with kind permission from Dressage Hafl|Blog
Horses. How much do we love them?... We thought we'd count the ways by picking out some of our favourite quotes from Trot On members....
"Never know where love for horses ends and blind obsession begins!" Dazzle.
"They make the World a better place." sophieandcallum.
"They make you stop worrying about everything else - in the moment with your horse is where it's at." Loes and co.
"Horses are better listeners than anyone. They're also the best huggers. Horses are a girl's best friend....screw diamonds!" Brealyn10
"They are still wild at heart but they are willing to share that with us." EspritCheval.
"You can't hide from a horse - they know you for who you are and don't judge you by anything else. You can just be you with your horse." Gallante.
"...just the smell of them is better than any drug, legal or illegal, that will ever be made!" Fi919
"Because you can tell them every little thing and never ever will they tell another soul." vesophie.
"My horse is half of my heart, my soul, my very being. You take her away and you will lose half of me...." Polkadotpolly.
"I have no choice.....they are in my blood. Part of who I am." MoonShadow.
"If you could have someone running the country for us, wouldn't it be great if it was a horse. There is no falseness or lies, no nasty back biting." Leah2004
Now tell us why you love horses... ♥
Her bed was taken to the car park so the pair could be reunited for a final time... READ MORE
The dying hospital patient has her final wish fulfilled during an emotional reunion with her horse CREDIT: SWNS
From non-verbal and aggressive to engaged and tranquil, hippotherapy transformed Fennec Hurley's temperament in just two months.
Two months ago, little Fennec Hurley was non-verbal, hyperactive and physically aggressive, regularly hitting himself and his mother.
Today, he is talking; he is far more tranquil, much happier and no longer aggressive, according to his mother.
Fennec rode a horse.
The two-and-a-half-year-old, who was diagnosed last November with severe to moderate autism, had exhibited symptoms of the condition from a young age: "When he was 18 months old, he had no words, was walking on tiptoes and was extremely energetic. He made no eye contact and was not very affectionate," recalls his mother, 29-year-old Ciara Fehilly from Bishopstown, Co Cork, who recalls that her son made no progress with traditional sessions of occupational therapy.
Based in rural Co Cork, the clinic uses horses to treat a range of conditions including autism, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, brain injury, dyspraxia, chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome and a number of rare genetic disorders.
In recent weeks, Fennec has been attending weekly 50-minute sessions at Strides, where he spends up to 40 minutes on horseback under the supervision of a qualified occupational therapist. Although her son was initially very resistant to the therapy - he protested noisily, Ciara recalls - at his fourth session, he amazed his mother by greeting his horse, saying, "Hello" and later "Bye-bye"... READ MORE
Eight champion horses of the past six decades are honored on Great Britain’s Racehorse Legends set of stamps issued April 6 by Royal Mail.
The stamps feature Frankel, Red Rum, Shergar, Kauto Star, Desert Orchid, Brigadier Gerard, Arkle and Estimate in their most famous races. The paintings for the stamps are by equestrian artisit Michael Hislop.
The set includes eight stamps: two nondenominated first-class stamps (as of March 27, the first class-rate is 65 pence), two £1.17 stamps for the rate to Europe for letters up to 20 grams and to other countries up to 10 grams, two £1.40 stamps for international letters up to 20 grams, and two £1.57 stamps for letters to Europe up to 100 grams.
One stamp of each denomination shows a flat-racing legend, and the other depicts a national hunt legend... READ MORE
Find out what April has in store for your horse!
Check out this month's predictions in HORSEY HOROSCOPES - Visit HORSEY HOROSCOPES on the first day of every month to find out what the universe has in store for you and you're horsey friends. Sometimes it can be difficult to feel fully connected to your horse or pony, but we can help. See you there! #horseyhoroscopes
Last month, your Aries may have been a little full of themselves. At the beginning of this month expect this attitude to... READ MORE
The influence of Mars transitioning Taurus’ realm will greatly affect your horsey friend throughout this month. Expect to... READ MORE
The period between the 14th-22nd, the position of Uranus in conjunction with the Sun’s movement through Gemini will... READ MORE
The influence of the Full Moon on the 10th of this month will positively affect your Cancer horse. A full moon is a time of ... READ MORE
Mercury's retrograde at the beginning of the month will make for a bit of miscommunication between you and your Leo... READ MORE
Mercury, Virgo’s ruling planet will put your equine friend a little off balance during the beginning of this month. Mercury’s... READ MORE
Being an Air sign, the Libra is renowned for being fairly relaxed, and this month you will have no worries in that... READ MORE
Saturn’s retrograde through the Scorpio’s sector of self this month will align with the Scorpio’s natural sense of ... READ MORE
The effects of Mercury’s retrograde could bring about a few minor health concerns this month, so just keep an eye on... READ MORE
Capricorn owners are in for treat this month. Expect your equine friend to be up for any challenge you present as the... READ MORE
Venus, known as the planet of harmony, will directly transit the Aquarius’ sector of house and home during the first week... READ MORE
Ranting driving instructor learns his lesson from 14-year-old horse rider: She cooly schools him on the rules of the road...
Craig Allred, 52, can be heard shouting: ‘What gives you the right to let your horse shit on the road?’ after becoming angry by the mess made by the animal.
When young rider Callum Mullock tried to explain that he and friend Megan Lockett, 14, who filmed the incident, couldn’t ride the ponies through the privately owned fields alongside the public road, Mr Allred replied: ‘I don’t care about your horse’.
The 12-year-old countered this by saying: ‘Well, we don’t care about your car’, with the youngster expressing his fear that the angry instructor might try and ‘run us off the road’.
He said: ‘He was very angry. He said that we shouldn’t be riding on the road. I was a bit shaken up after that I didn’t know what he was going to do.
‘I said to my friend I thought he might try to run us off the road. Usually people are quite understanding of horses. It was a very quiet road, not many people around.'... READ MORE
For me, hacking out on my horse is one of the best ways to spend a sunny day – what's not to like about cantering through a field or along a track surrounded by beautiful countryside! However, for most of us, going out for a hack usually involves riding on the roads, an action which is becoming increasingly dangerous. We hear more and more reports of terrible accidents involving cars but there is actually no official requirement from the government to record road accidents involving horses unless a person needs to be taken directly to hospital. A horse's life or suffering is of no consequence according to them!
This is why The British Horse Society have taken it upon themselves to document these incidents, providing an online form to report horse related road accidents, including near misses, past and present.
According to the BHS there are over 3000 accidents each year involving horses and riders on the roads in the UK alone. I think we all agree, something needs to change, but rather than sit around talking about it, we all need to act!
Ride Yorkshire is one of many organisations who are working to change this, and to make horse and rider road safety a priority for all road users, including equestrians! Ride Yorkshire is a not-for-profit social enterprise which operates in Yorkshire, working to help riders in the area by doing things like providing hacking route suggestions and even organising horsey holidays in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Janet Cochrane is one of the leading figures behind Ride Yorkshire, and she is helping to organise an event on 21st May which aims to raise awareness regarding horse and rider road safety. With the help of the University of York Riding Club (which I am a proud member of…) Janet and between six and eight other horses and riders will set off from the University Campus, riding around a designated route along the roads of York. Janet told me,
“We really hope that the ride will make people think about horses and riders on the road; we want to make ourselves obvious, but without getting in the way too much, so we are going to be wearing florescent tabards and handing out information about what we’re doing along the way. We’re hoping to get the local media involved, and the local police and council have been helpful too”.
Explaining why she decided to organise the ride, Janet said,
“Our aim is to make people aware that the roads are a place for horses and riders as much as cars and cyclists. We want to help people to realise that actually, as equestrians we are short of places to ride out other than the roads, and that all road users therefore need to learn to respect one-another”.
Because the ride is setting out from the university, she hopes that it will encourage young people to think differently about their attitude to riders on the road.
“We know that lots of students have cars, but many do not have much driving experience simply because of their age. We just want to help as many people as possible to be safe on the roads; at the end of the day, we want to make the roads a safe place not just for us riders, but for everyone”.
As many of us are aware from the many tragic stories and news articles shared on social media, horse and rider road safety is an issue which can’t be ignored any longer. Janet explained,
“rider road safety is becoming more and more important because there are so many cars on the road now. People simply aren’t aware of the right way to pass horses safely because the information isn’t made available to them. There isn’t enough emphasis in the Highway Code on how to pass riders safely, and when learning to drive people tend to be given very little information about this”.
Through the ride in May, Janet hopes to make passing horses and riders safely a top priority for all road users.
Alongside the May event, there are many ways that riders can ensure that we maximise our safety on the roads. Janet stresses the importance of wearing florescent clothing when out hacking,
“So often I have seen riders out on the roads without High-Viz clothing, and from a distance they simply merge into their surroundings, especially if they’re on a dark coloured horse or out riding in bad light. Putting a florescent tabard on before you leave the yard, and putting some reflectors on your horse, can make all the difference between a driver seeing you in good time and not being able to pick you out against the background”.
One of the main problems though is that other road users don't know the correct way to pass a horse safely. As riders, we understand that horses as prey animals can be easily spooked so to them, a cyclist can easily seem like something that might attack them.
“It is so important that cyclists coming up behind us let us know that they’re coming,” says Janet, “Generally, horses are fine with bikes passing them, but some might completely panic – the point is that you never know. If cyclists were to call out and say something like ‘Good Morning!’ from a distance, at least the horse and rider are made aware of them in advance”.
After all, if a horse were to kick out at a bike, it’s the cyclist who would probably suffer most, so this is for their own safety too. For car drivers, the recommended speed for passing a horse is 15mph, but what is crucial is that the driver allows a wide berth between the horse and the car. Janet pointed out that even if the horse is fine with cars,
“something could so easily spook them and cause them to jump out and hit the car”,
which could cause so much damage so caution is key.
This event being run by Ride Yorkshire is part of a nationwide campaign. On 21st May, many other groups across the country will organise similar rides to promote awareness regarding road safety. If you wish to support one of these rides yourself, visit the ‘Pass Wide and Slow’ Facebook page, which whilst also acting as a place to report road safety incidents, gives you the opportunity to get involved with local sub-groups too. If you are lucky enough to live in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside like me, Janet would love to hear from you via the Ride Yorkshire website.
Please share your experiences of riding on the roads below…