Calories You Burn Working with Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   25th Jan 2015   •   2,532 views   •   0 comments
Caring for a Senior Horse

After cleaning a few stalls, I got home and decided I needed cookies. After all, I burned energy working and it was cold, so I deserved a few tasty calories. While some people might argue that horseback riding isnít a sport and itís not exercise, there are many aspects of horse ownership that are exercise, and mucking out is just one of them.

Walking is supposed to be good exercise. As horse owners we do a lot of walking. Walking has many benefits including massaging our internal organs for healthy digestion, gently stretching muscles and helps increase bone density which could prevent osteoporosis as we age. And for maintaining a healthy weight, walking at 2 mph alone can burn 95 calories every 30 minutes. Walking angrily after a horse that doesnít want to get caught can easily double that in addition to providing us with a good aerobic workout.

Walking while pushing a wheelbarrow full of manure increases the calorie burn and has other benefits too. estimates that a 150lb person burns about 69 calories per 10 minutes of stall cleaning. Calorie burning may not be the only benefit, or the most important one either. To maintain bone density, women especially, should participate in weight bearing exercise. Stall cleaning, moving bags of shavings, bales of hay or straw, or any other activity that requires repetitive lifting is good for your bones and muscles. Just be sure to do it properly, lifting with the strength of your legs, not with your back muscles. If youíve gotten into the habit of bending your back to lift, it can be hard to change, and your leg muscles will protest at first, but in the long run, your back will reward you.

Those ignorant naysayers may claim horseback riding isnít exercise, but put them on a horse and they will be burning about 175 calories an hour. If they spend an hour grooming and saddling, theyíll burn enough calories to reward themselves with a Grande Starbucks Caffe Latte - Made with whole milk. Sport or not, one of the reasons therapeutic riding is beneficial for those who are wheelchair bound is that it stimulates the body in the same way walking does. Riding stimulates digestion, flexibility, balance and strength.

The harder you go, the more calories you burn and the more strength, balance and agility youíll need. An hour of trotting can add up to about 450 calories, not to mention the full body workout youíll get. Add in dressage practice, memorizing a jump course, an equitation pattern or any other intensive schooling and youíll be getting a good mental workout too. All that focus is good for your brain.

Do your fences need mending, or pastures need cleaning up? This is similar to gardening, which is touted as good exercise. Youíll burn about 400 calories per hour, depending on how vigorously youíre working. Problem solving, planning and fresh outdoor air is all good for the brain too. Exercise is after all, a substitute for real work that our bodies were made to do.

So, after youíve cleaned those stalls, by all means, reward yourself with a cookie. Youíve earned it.

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