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An Introduction to the Sport of Horseback Riding   

 

By Ashton Wiklund
February 1, 2012

  

Horses have long been part of people’s lives. From wars to transportation, horses have been loyal and obedient companions for people all around the world. Today horses are used in many different disciplines of equestrian sport and leisure. From rodeos, to racing to jumping there are a lot of different ways to get involved and learn more about horses.

 

Riding is a sport you can do all your life. Some equestrian Olympians are in their 50’s, showing how much experience and dedication it takes to make it to the top. Horseback riding is all about partnerships and understanding, and it takes a special bond with a horse to excel in the competition ring. This trust and communication makes the sport unique, for how many sports involve riding an animal over 1000 lbs and controlling its every foot fall!

 

Horses teach their riders about respect, discipline and confidence. Horses are used a lot in therapy programs and can help people from all walks of life to feel more confident and free. Therapeutic riding uses specially trained horses and instructors to help riders with disabilities learn about horses, gain mobility and face their fears.

 

Horseback riding requires a certain level of physical fitness that you wouldn’t quite understand unless you’ve been riding yourself! Riding requires a great deal of concentration, coordination, and patience. Riding uses a great deal of core strength, as well as leg and arm strength in order to stay with your horse and provide them with the necessary cues and direction.

 

People can get involved in horseback riding at any age. Some people start as young as 6 years old and ride all the way up into their senior years. For a new rider, taking lessons at a riding school is the best way to start. A riding school will provide you with well trained horses and instruction to make your first riding experiences fun and challenging. There is a lot to remember when you first start riding, but with the patience and practice you can soon feel confident!

 

For more information about horses and how you can get involved, visit the United States Equestrian Federation at http://www.usef.org or look up barns near you by finding your local riding clubs and association. Happy trails!