Is horse riding good for your health?
This is not going to be a scientifically researched piece or anything other then my musings written down...you are now forewarned - so my apologies if you had hoped for some mentally stimulating, factual, well researched piece of writing ... I'd wager that is not why you read my blog! ;)
My musings started a while back when I was considering how much better my health & overall posture has become since I moved Kika to Luxembourg in 2010 and started riding more often.
I now walk a about 10 kilometers on an average day - this is a fact as I used to have a pedometer on my phone and know that between work, turning out horses at lunch time and then going back up in the evenings I was walking between 8 & 10kms a day - I didn't ride with my phone so horse's steps weren't counted! ;-)
I spend a lot more time outdoors and in the fresh air now then I ever have, again not scientific fact - but it sure feels that way. And it's no bad thing, by any means! I feel a lot healthier, and I don't know if it is connected or just coincidence because I don't slow down long enough for these things to catch up to me - but I don't think I get as sick with colds/sniffles as I used to...or maybe I used to just wallow and let them get me down - whereas now I just get on with it and keep going cos the ponies rely on me to be there to feed/fuss over them.
My posture has definitely improved, I used to be forever being told to stand/sit/walk straighter - now I am by no means flag pole straight, but I am markedly better then I used to be. Thank you horse-riding! :)
I find getting out to the yard in the evenings a great stress-buster, I don't wallow or over-analyse things that may have happened at the office during the day. The horses pull me right out of any foul humour I may find myself in after a days work, just being around them and fawning/fussing over them brings me right to my happy place. I go home every evening feeling lighter and happier for having been able to spend some time with them, whether in the saddle/grooming or just petting them - there is no better form of relaxation in my opinion!
On the other hand, I think my mental health has potentially been negatively affected - I am very hard on myself when I get things wrong and mentally berate myself as to how I should have done things better or should just plain know better.
Now that summer has finally arrived in Lux, two further negatives have come to my attention:
bruises & the likelihood of a "farmer's tan". Downsides to horse-riding is that legs & arms are often decorated with bruises - or maybe this is just me, ;-)
In my case I know it is down to the 'horse connection' as the bruises are religiously in the same places week in & week out, lol.
- Inside my knees, which lets me know I have been a bad girl again and gripping when riding...beginning to happen less often - *Happy Dance*
- My forearm from bandying about my saddles, hoisting them in and out of my tack lockers - one of which requires me to balance the saddle on my head before lifting it up to it's rack - well...in all honesty it doesn't actually require me to balance it on my head, this is a choice I make. :p
Other small downside to being horse-mad/involved in the summers/warm weather is the inability to ride in shorts or light clothing resulting in hilarious tan-lines. Although in my case - fair Irish skin warning - white & red patches where clothes/suncream have missed.
This is a semi- tongue in cheek take on my equine life, what's your take on horse's affect on your health?
Despite my abovementioned negatives - I couldn't imagine my life without them. It would just be incomplete!