The Myriad Benefits of Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is a very special way to take in a landscape. A horse offers you a new perspective for a few hours, a little window into how another animal lives and moves.
In Cabarete, there are several scenes to take in. You can gallop along sandy beaches, scramble along rivers, or pick a way through rocky mountain paths. You can even do all three, if you’re up for it.
I’ve loved riding a horse since I was a child, and it turns out there are concrete reasons why horseback riding is so awesome for you.
It offers some serious physical, mental and emotional benefits.
Let’s take a look.
Work that core, baby
If you haven’t done it before, horseback riding involves a fair bit more than just sitting on a horse. You are riding on a living, moving creature. It takes some work to stay on!
Have you ever noticed that swimming in the sea is far more tiring than swimming in a pool? That’s partly because your muscles do so much work adjusting to the movements of the water. Treading water, for instance, you might notice your body righting itself in little twitches and clenches.
On a horse, your body responds to your horse and compensates for any shifts in your balance. Our bodies are pretty smart, and we do most of these adjustments without even thinking.
We use core strength to keep the body steady from its centre. Though you might do crunches and work on your abs to improve core strength, your core also includes your back muscles, glutes and pelvic floors.
Horseback riding also works your inner thighs, as you use them to grip onto the horse for dear life.
Horseback riding can be a meditative experience.
If you’ve ever meditated, you know how hard it is to stay present when the thoughts are pinging around your head faster than you can keep track.
Sure, being on a horse might be scary at first. But, when you’re comfortable, it can be centering to tune into the rhythm of hooves plodding along or your horse breathing beneath you.
Focusing on your ride can be an immersive experience, and you may well find distracting thoughts are calmed or at least slowed down.
‘I just have a lot of feelings!’
Studies suggest that being in contact with horses can do wonders for your overall health.
Patients who receive equine therapy often experience significant increases in confidence and self-esteem. Being with animals can lower your blood pressure, increase the production of happy chemicals like, while significantly decreasing stress hormones. Caring for horses can improve improve patience and focus, and ease the burden of anxiety and loneliness.
It’s not one-way either. Many horseriders say they have an intense spiritual connection to their horse, or to horses in general. Horses are very social creatures and humans can learn important non-verbal communication from them. Building a relationship with a horse requires openness, time, and much respect.
Come ride with us
Is all that enough to convince you to add horseback riding to your Caribbean vacation itinerary?
Check out this post to find out more about horseback riding in Cabarete, what to expect, and how to spot the tell-tale signs of a mistreated horse before you set off.
Our eXtreme hotel reception is a fount of local knowledge, our team can help you out or even arrange all the logistics for you.