Why you should take up horse riding

Here's why you might want to take up horse riding (Pic: Thinkstock)

Here's why you might want to take up horse riding (Pic: Thinkstock) - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A new study commissioned by the British Horse Society shows the benefits, both physical and mental, of being involved with horses – even if you don’t ride

The British Horse Society is urging more people to take up horse riding as part of a healthier lifestyle. This comes as a study commissioned on behalf of the society concluded that in addition to being a great hobby, there are numerous health benefits to riding.

The study explored the physical and mental health benefits of horse riding, and found that just half an hour of mucking out is classed as moderate exercise. NHS guidelines state that adults should complete at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.

In July, research conducted by Public Health England found that one in four women, and one in five men, are doing less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Half an hour of mucking out five times a week will meet the recommended exercise targets set out by Public Health England and the NHS, bringing numerous health benefits. The study found that trotting is classed as vigorous exercise and exerts more energy than playing badminton.

The report shows however, that you do not have to get on a horse to reap the health benefits. Building up a relationship with a horse can help with mental wellbeing. Eighty per cent of participants in the study noticed an improvement in their mood after being around horses. Spending time with horses can also be the motivation needed to get outside and start exercising.

We really hope that more people consider taking up horse riding, or if they’re not ready to jump on to a horse just yet, to consider volunteering at their local yard or stable - the perfect way to get your foot into the equestrian world. Not only are there health benefits, it’s also a great way to get outside and meet new people. And as the Paralympics last month shows, riding is far from being a sport just for able-bodied people. Horse riding is open to everyone no matter what ability.

If after the Olympics, you feel inspired to ride or are interested in taking it up as part of a healthier lifestyle, the BHS has approved centres across the county, the UK and abroad. By choosing a BHS approved centre you know you are in safe hands. Our approvals scheme ensures the highest standards of equine welfare and customer service.

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Our Approved Establishments have horse and pony welfare along with client safety and satisfaction as priorities. All establishments are insured for public liability and comply with the latest health and safety legislation.

For more information or to find an approved centre, visit bhs.org.uk