Why is Horseback Riding a Sport?


Ireland Murphree, Staff writer

  Horseback riding is often looked at as an easy recreational activity, but it is far more difficult than that. Horseback riding requires both physical and mental strength; strength like this isn’t born overnight. It needs lots of nourishment through hours of practice and determination. So, if you think horseback riding isn’t a sport, continue reading this article. You’re about to be proven wrong.

 Yes, you have to be fit. Not just anyone can climb on top of a half ton, living, breathing creature and ride it like it’s nothing. More often than not you’re going 30+ mph either jumping over a fence or racing around a barrel. In order to do this, a tremendous amount of upper and lower body strength is required. Most competitive riders will ride multiple horses per day, and then go home and work out even more!  There is no doubt that riding is a sport that requires fitness.

Mental health is just as important as physical fitness in any sport: horseback riding included.  Rather it’s memorizing dressage tests and jump courses, choosing which trail is safest for you and your partner, or deciding the best method for how to deal with an honorary horse (sometimes in a split second), and always being in tune with how your horse is thinking.  However, in case of an accident in which a horse spooks or misbehaves while you or another person are riding, you must have the mental flexibility to change course instantaneously. This quick thinking could save your or another’s life. 

Something many people forget is that horse riding is a team sport, a team effort. Without one, the other cannot perform. The bond between a horse and rider is special and sacred; you must be one with each other and have complete trust in one another.  Teamwork is the backbone of riding! 

If you are still not convinced, then perhaps you should take a lesson or two. After a minimal amount of time, I’m sure your tune will change, and you’ll come to realize that horseback riding does, without a doubt, fulfill the definition of sport.


  “Horses do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.”   


Picture from: slohorsenews.net