Extended Learning Opportunity: Horseback Riding and Physical Education

My name is Jessica Rainville and I am a sophomore at Pittsfield Middle High School. I have a passion for horseback riding. I have been riding horses at Townsend’s Training Farm with Kim Chadbourne and Dick Townsend for almost 10 years now. I am writing this article as part of my Extended Learning Opportunity that combines my life with horses with my school life to earn my P.E credit.

Horseback Riding has physical and mental benefits to your health. Horses are majestic creatures that give so much to people that some may not even realize. Horseback riding is a great way to stay healthy, train muscles, improves cardio performance, clear your mind and be happy.

Being on a horse makes a person work physically. Your muscles work differently while riding than working in everyday life. While riding a horse, the main muscles that are used are your upper thighs, calves, core, and arms.  When you are on the horse’s back, your body is positioned with your back straight and heels down.  You have to be able to balance yourself on the horse to have a great ride. Not only can you improve your fitness level by riding, you can improve you riding by exercising. Some things you can do for your legs are squats, leg machines, and running. This will strengthen them so when riding your legs stay in the center of the saddle and don’t move. Core workouts can be curl ups and planks, to improve posture on the horse when riding. Arm workouts can be push-ups, and pull ups. So when you are riding, your arms are in control and not bouncing around. It will make you look and feel like a better rider. Sometimes horses aren’t going to be easy. They may be lazy just like everyone can be. When they are lazy, you have to push and push the horse with your core and leg muscles to drive them forward. That is where cardio comes into play. Pushing a horse can make you out of breath from working so hard, so running can improve your cardio performance.

Horseback riding doesn’t just keep you physically healthy but also mentally healthy. Riding is like therapy. Your mind is focused only on the horse. It can relieve all the stress from your day or the near future. Horses make you concentrate on them. Riding calms your mind which makes you feel better and healthier. Riding horses outdoors, enjoying the wind on your face and the fresh air, makes you relax and keeps you focused on the moment. There’s not anyone or anything else but you and that horse. Staying relaxed keeps you and the horse calm. When you’re feeling nervous, anxious, or sad, the horse feels that too. Which can have an effect on your ride.  So when riding horses being in a good mood makes the rides better.

Horseback riding can improve your physical and mental state. People should be active five to six days a week to see benefits.  To get more information on the benefits of riding go to http://www.healthiestbest.com/benefits-of-horseback-riding. Stay active my friends.