Having visited my ex last year, the surprise I was promised was not expected! At all.
Something I’d NEVER done...
She has done more than a
bit of said activity in her earlier life, me though, none. Ever.
So, to have an arranged session with a trusted instructor type who is mindful of helping those with challenges – MS in my case, her too but she has experience – I was excitedly nervous / nervously excited!
The day arrived.
It was initially quite funny
getting the correct and fitting helmet and back protector on; we got it after a
while. Then to the arena!
To mount. Hmmm. I was
presented with a stepping block ladder to assist me with the ‘manoeuvre’ and
helped get my foot into the stirrup and pushed up a bit.
Success! On a horse! A real
horse*! (my other/right foot was helped into that stirrup too) “Now what” I
At this time, the ex was
observed as she popped onto Whisky too. The basics. Show off!
Skipping details (I can do that), I was slowly walked around the arena as the other did similar and more!
To the point. Well, it was a/my first and I enjoyed it!
A ‘walk’ around the arena
was well welcomed. However! NO negatives in that ‘however’, more realisations.
After learning of certain moves to do to Jack, I realised that may be why a lot of people get injured when on a horse and NOT knowing what’s involved in the control elements. I was happy to plod along slowly!
I was simply sitting
straight listening to Fred, admiring his knowledge and that what it takes to get
‘good’ on a horse requires a great deal more than the number of rides. Respect
to the jockey lot.
Like I said, I was just
mainly amazed at the positive results involved in the activity, from my and an
“One study out of
Germany concluded that a horseback riding therapy known as hippotherapy along
with standard care significantly improved balance, fatigue, motor function, and
spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).” (link)
Muscles! Yip, those too obviously.
Many muscles for that matter, not just the bum (glute). And it is relaxing too.
Mind, body and soul (well).
After a few slow laps, we
were done (I was anyway(tiring)), and then to dismount. Great.
That was a challenge. Could I
hell get my right leg back over Jack. MS body and mind, I guess, but with help
I managed to get onto the steps and back to Terra Firma.
What a surprise! A new
hobby? Well steady-on, whoa there, to the watering hole maybe!
Was I surprised? Without
doubt. I knew the core would be used a lot and it was. The challenge of staying-put
on a big animal (Jack isn’t a big horse, but a damn sight bigger than a pony!) uses
cognitive functioning working with respective muscle control – MS favourites! –
and the hips with their own connected joints and behaviours. A good workout for
For a clearer description on
what I’m on about, have a gander from Kiowa
“Physical benefits of
Horseback riding is an
isometric exercise that targets specific muscle groups and helps maintain
strength. While riding, one's core muscles, such as obliques and abdominals,
engage to balance on the horse's back. In addition to the core, muscles in the
back, chest, inner thighs, and pelvis are also strengthened so that the rider
can maintain proper posture.
Riding a horse involves
performing various movements simultaneously to properly balance on and guide
the horse. One's coordination--or ability to efficiently utilize different
parts of the body at once--is improved as a result while horseback riding.
Strong abdominal and lower
back muscles are essential for maintaining good standing and sitting
positioning. Horseback riding provides a great way to improve one's posture due
to the core muscles it targets. In addition to strengthening core muscles,
horseback riding further helps improve posture due to the specific poses
required to keep balance. By practicing proper riding positioning, your posture
out of the saddle will likely improve, as well.
Mental benefits of horseback
Horseback riding is an
inherently relaxing activity due to the natural rhythm of the horse's trot. The
gentle bouncing motion can have a massaging effect that improves circulation
and relaxation in the rider. This calming effect is further enhanced as the
rider spends time outside and gets physical exercise; both of which have
Riding a horse has been
found to have a positive impact on one's mood. This effect is largely due to
the release of the mood-enhancing hormone, serotonin, which contributes to
feelings of happiness. The body releases this chemical as one spends time with
animals, such as horses, which improves one's disposition.”
That is that! Of course, they,
above, are choice highlighted positives with no negatives of which I cannot
list any. I happily allow the owners to take care of those!
I did not have sore glutes the day after, but one’s groin! That was
somewhat stiff - no. Not that.
*Real horse? Years ago, at an MS event I came across Bob the mechanical horse. Honest!