There’s a reason why you don’t see tubby riders on the Olympic podium. That’s because horse riding keeps them fit.
Recognising this, and to meet public demand to get involved in equestrianism, the British Equestrian Federation has launced a new health and fitness campaign called ‘Trot to be Trim’.
Trot to be Trim promotes the many health and well being benefits long associated with riding and being involved with horses.
Top health and fitness guru Angie Best, who was also the former wife of the legendary football player George Best, is a regular rider who believes riding and physical fitness go hand-in-hand. Angie, also a British Showjumping Ambassador, came back to the sport when their son Calum left home and backs the campaign wholeheartedly.
“Trot to be Trim is an excellent initiative for weight loss. There is so much to do with the horse before and after you ride, it’s three times the benefit of other exercise plans! Hundreds of calories are used during each session and so much fun with a great sense of achievement,” she said.
A study carried out by The British Horse Society in 2011 revealed that riding can expend sufficient energy to be classed as moderate-intensity exercise. An hour’s schooling session or group lesson burns off 360 calories – the equivalent to an hour peddling up to 10mph on a cycle ride.
The 2011 research, carried out by the University of Brighton in partnership with Plumpton College, proved that horse riding and activities associated with horse riding, such as mucking out, expend sufficient energy to be classed as moderate intensity exercise – the level of activity recommended by the Government/National Health Service that, when done for 150 minutes a week, will help to keep people healthy.
Other key findings included:
- Trot on! Evidence shows that regular periods of trot work in a riding session may enhance the energy expended and the associated health benefits.
- It’s good for females. Horse riding is especially well placed to encourage physical activity among women of all ages. Evidence indicates that the vast majority of riders are female, and more than a third (37 per cent) of riders who took part in the survey were aged over 45.
- Riders are a happy bunch! It was found that horse riding stimulates mainly positive psychological feelings.
- It takes two – horse riders are strongly motivated to take part in riding by the sense of wellbeing they gain from interacting with horses. This important positive psychological interaction with an animal occurs in a very few sports.
Jo Shuker, a 49-year-old grandmother, lost four stone in five months when she began riding again with her daughter and grand-daughter after a 32-year break.
“I feel so much healthier – and exercising is not a chore,” said Jo, who enrolled on a Take Back the Reins (TBTR) programme at her local riding centre at Radway, near Banbury. TBTR is part of the BEF’s legacy campaign to encourage lapsed riders back into the saddle.
Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the BEF commented: “A major aim of the BEF’s Legacy project, Hoof, is to inspire more people to become involved in riding and benefit from all that it has to offer. We want to spread the word that it really is possible to Trot to be Trim, but also to re-emphasise that riding not only helps achieve physical fitness, but it is also therapy for the mind and that it really does put a smile on your face.”
For more information about getting back to riding whatever your experience and fitness level go to www.hoofride.co.uk and find a centre near you.