In historical times, horses were used as true work animals, in fact in a lot of rural Ecuador this is still the case. Horses today are still used here as transport, for hauling timber, for bringing water from the well, for taking the kids to school! Many rural Ecuadorians know how to care for and to ride a horse.
In the Western world, this dependence on horses is no more and horseback riding is in general recreational. Horseback riding is beneficial in many different ways, mentally, physically and spiritually. There are many benefits beyond simple enjoyment, including:
- Burning calories. Ok, so you will not burn as many calories as you would running because it is the horse that is doing most of the work! However the British Equestrian Federation tells us that trotting gently for 30 minutes burns around 360 calories per hour and and it helps to tone your stomach. This means it’s a moderate intensity form of exercise, which can be controlled by how hard you decide to ride.
- Your flexibility will improve. Certain parts of your body such as your hips are likely to improve in their flexibility the more often you go horse riding.
- Developing your core strength. Horse riding is a form of isometric fitness, which strengthens your core. By balancing on horseback, you are forcing your body to use certain muscles such as your thighs.
- Your thighs will be like steel! Horse riding uses different sets of muscles to your everyday life including your glutes, quads and hamstrings; you need to squeeze your leg muscles to stay in the saddle.
- Improve your co-ordination. You will need to use your arms and legs in order to control the horse as well as the position of your body simultaneously and independently, this requires a great deal of co-ordination.
- Posture. When people begin to ride horses, they tend to grip the horse firmly with their thighs or hold the reins too short and lean forwards. Generally, they hold a lot of tension in their body, which is uncomfortable for the rider but also for the horse. After a while, the rider becomes more relaxed and the rider is able to sit back and loose some of the tension, which will improve their posture. The more frequently you ride, the better your posture will become.
- Mental well being. Horses are known for their stress relieving qualities and are used for therapy for treating people with depression and autism. An hour in the saddle are likely to reduce your stress levels.
So as you can see, a horse riding tour can be really beneficial to your body, mind and spirit, so let Cabalgatas Canoa take you on a stress busting horse riding tour in beautiful Canoa!