Common Questions About Horseback Riding
 By Winniefield Park   •   2nd May 2016   •   2,580 views   •   0 comments
Common Questions About Horseback Riding

Sometimes, non-horse people ask questions about horses that just set your teeth on edge. Here are a few Iíve encountered and the answers I wish I had the wherewithal to give at the time. And Iíve got some snarky answers too. Iím just too polite to share them.

Why Ride a Horse?
I once was talking to a distant family member and she mentioned her daughter had been taking riding lessons. She had decided not to take her daughter anymore, because after all, what would riding ever lead to? Hmmm... a healthy life-long activity? Fun and cameraderie? An opportunity to bond with and understand an animal companion and learn patience, empathy, consistency and confidence. A chance to compete, grow and learn? And that scratches the surface doesnít it? With all the benefits I think itís more difficult to find reasons not to ride.

Is It Difficult to Ride a Horse?
Youíre just sitting there, right? Not really. Good riding looks effortless. But, it really only looks effortless. Sometimes itís really more like a duck paddling madly against a strong current. Thereís a lot going on under the surface, while above all looks calm and unruffled. Now, there are moments, and every rider has them occasionally, where everything feels effortless too. Thatís not because riding a horse isnít difficult. Itís more likely to be the moment when hard won skill, meets talent and athleticism with a little good luck thrown in. Thatís not to say horseback riding is gruellingly difficult either. As riders, we get to choose the type of rider we want to be, whether casual backyard pleasure rider or Grand Prix competition rider. Competing at the higher levels takes more commitment, time and money. But that doesnít mean pleasure riders donít work at their riding too. Sitting in front of the TV. Thatís not difficult. But riding a horse? You get to choose your level of difficulty, but none of it is couch-potato easy.

Is Horseback Riding a Sport?
Weíve answered this question before havenít we? First, define sport. Does horseback riding require skill and athleticism? Do you burn calories and get your heart rate up? Do you get all sorts of mental exercise that includes things like problem solving, planning and memorization? Is there a competitive aspect about horseback riding? Is there risk? Are there rules? Even if you say yes to just a few of these questions, youíre well on your way to the definition of sport. Itís even an Olympic sport!

Is Horseback Riding Costly?
Some types of horseback riding are more costly than others. And, if you canít afford to own a horse, there are ways to get your riding fix and still be able to afford groceries. We know the purchase price of a horse is just the beginning. Whether you buy a $1000 horse or $40,000 horse some of the basics are the same. They need to eat, have their hooves cared for and some basic regular veterinary care. Youíll also need to buy some gear. This can all add up. So if you canít afford your own horse, there are ways to ride other peopleís. Good riders can catch rides at shows. You can part board and pay a fee to use someone elseís horse. You can take riding lessons. Or, you might be able to work off riding time by shoveling manure. A good rider, who is willing to work is never without a horse. Of course, there are ways to make riding very costly, such as owning more than one horse, showing, buying custom tack, a truck and trailer, and following every new training and gear fad that comes along. So beyond the basics, each of us determines just how costly horseback riding is.

The snarky answer I really wanted to give: Didnít you know Iím filthy rich? Donít let the manure on my cracked rubber boots fool you. Underneath these are Coco Chanel socks. Really.
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