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Why take up horseback riding in your 50s, and how to get started…

Did you always dream of horses as a kid? Or maybe you were obsessed with anything “pony” growing up?

By: Michael Dehaan

Did you always dream of horses as a kid? Or maybe you were obsessed with anything “pony” growing up! Despite the large numbers of horse-crazy youngsters, many never get the chance to fulfil their equestrian dreams. Finances and free time are major restrictions, but like many adults near retirement, the opportunity reemerges. Here’s why you should take up horseback riding in your 50s, and how to get started:

Horses are FUN!

It’s never too late to find a new hobby. It is important to choose hobbies or interests that genuinely excite you, and there is always excitement with horses! Sure, knitting might seem more practical, and the tennis courts are only a mile away. But nothing compares to the pure bliss horses will bring you.

Fast Learning

Children struggle to keep up with all the various aspects of working with horses, and it can pose major safety issues. As an adult, you are capable of learning at a much faster rate and comprehending difficult concepts.

Time and Financial Stability

Years ago, you may have been juggling a full-time job, chasing toddlers, and trying to maintain your sanity. With no kids at home and life slowing down a bit, it’s time to prioritise yourself! Horses are also great for empty-nesters, and lessons are available nationwide without the financial commitment of owning a horse.

Exercise

Horseback riding is a great form of exercise and will help you keep strong and limber. Core strength is vital in day to day activities, and riding will increase both core and leg strength. Even working with horses on the ground is a great way to stay active. If you’re eager to ride but have issues mounting, many therapeutic riding facilities offer special mounting platforms. If sitting in a saddle is out of the question, driving is another thrilling way to interact with horses!

Mental Health

Studies have shown working with horses can increase psychological well-being, decrease depression, and stimulate endorphin production. This hormonal release will also reduce your heart rate. Very few hobbies can offer the same emotional connection and stimulation as equine activities.

Getting Started

It might seem overwhelming but getting started is easy. We recommend searching local barns in your area and setting up a private lesson. From here, you can speak to your instructor and explore more options and specific disciplines.

Equipment

No fancy equipment is necessary if you are paying for lessons! As a rule of thumb, you will need pants, a helmet (usually available from the facility, make sure to ask!), and a pair of heeled boots for safety. Here’s a quick guide to help you get ready for your first lesson.

Final Words

Beginning horseback riding in your 50s (and beyond) can save you frustration, improve mental health, and help keep you active. If you are interested in a group environment, be sure to search your area for adult or senior riding programs. It’s never too late to discover a new passion. Time to saddle-up!

Useful links:

 – USA readers

For those wanting to educate themselves, some stables like the Vershire Riding School in Vermont even offer adult riding camps! Local extension offices are also a great resource. Check out these free online equine education classes here.

Stables like Wildwind Equestrian Center in South Lion, MI offer senior riding programs for riders age 50 and older!

 – UK readers

The British Horse Society website is a great place to start.

You will also find local stables in most parts of the country who are happy to provide introductory sessions.


Guest blogger, Michael Dehaan is founder and editor-in-chief at Best Horse Rider. Based in Oklahoma, Michael has been working with horses all his life, acquiring rich experience and professional insights, which he happily shares with other fellow equestrians.