Giddyup! The Health Benefits of Horseback Riding

20140804-130412-47052174.jpgWhile most guests enjoy the leisurely, relaxing pace of Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort‘s  trail rides- including our famous morning breakfast ride- and some guests choose to go at a faster pace, there is now scientific evidence to support that horseback riding is good health for the rider,  no matter what your pace.

So for those of you who prefer to lounge on your room’s front porch and snooze all day, you can take comfort that if you get in one – even mild and gentle- horseback ride, you are getting some legitimate exercise in.  Here are some of the findings:

  • Horseback riding improves muscular strength – particularly in the legs.
  • Riding a horse gets you out in the natural light (exposure to healthy Vitamin D) and fresh air for oxygen for your lungs and organs.
  • Riding a horse requires about 5.5 MET’s (Metabolic Equivalent of a Task), compared to a 1 MET like sitting still.  Other tasks that scored closely to horseback riding MET’s include playing badminton and golf – if you walk the golf course and carry your own bags and clubs.  Of course, if one gallops, the MET increases to about 7, so the amount of exercise depends on your mount’s gait, how fast one is going, etc.*.
  • Riding horse has been described as a meditation, of sorts, where rider and horse are asked to be in tune with each other and bond.  One can only take in the view one step at a time and at the pace set by rider and horse.  Taking time to slow down and enjoy the views as you discover them together can give a much -needed perspective on life.

So no matter if you are a novice, amateur, or expert, joining up with Trigger, Popeye, Tiger, or one of our other fabulous equine pals at the ranch, you are sure to experience some of the health benefits of horseback riding!


*Source: New York Times Author Gretchen Reynolds


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