The Benefits of Horse Riding

Why Riding Horses Is So Therapeutic

If you look at any batch of stock photos depicting a nice relaxing vacation, you will in general always find an image of a couple on horseback, on a beach, at sunset. Why, because something about horse riding speaks to all people and it says relax, de-stress, be free.

The actual science side of horse therapy is still being tested and the benefits are slowly being proved to be effective when used along with other therapies. But horse therapy has been around since man first herded horses, even Hippocrates wrote about horse therapy for the ill in ancient

Therapy horses are picked for their docility, they should be even tempered, gentle and calm and most importantly well trained. These horses may seem to be picked for laziness, but they are hard workers who have much to offer the therapy world.

The Types of Equine Therapy available:

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

This is usually for disabled people, and helps to develop overall well being. This horse riding improves muscles development, posture, confidence and co ordination.

This kind of therapy is not as strict as the other two types, and individuals can be trained by non therapists. The focus of this is physical, with some mental benefits such as confidence of an individual. The benefits are said to be an improvement of sensory and motor skills of individuals.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

EAP or Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is used for psychological issues people could have. This is the kind of therapy behind that those horseback riding holiday snaps.

There a few different programs for this kind of horse therapy, depending on the facilities of the individual or trainers skills. This kind of therapy was only introduced into the equine therapy world in the 1990’s. The use of horses to work on and through a person’s psychological issues has been around at lot longer but is slowly making an impact on the therapeutic world.


Sadly this does not involve riding hippos, but does involve riding horses so still a good choice.

This type of therapy requires a licensed therapist to ensure the intervention is done correctly.

The rhythm of the horse apparently helps the riders posture, coordination and balance as the rider needs to be able to move and respond to the horses actions. A licensed therapist is required for this as they closely monitor this movement, ensuring the best outcomes for the rider.

The outcome of horse therapy

So now the science of why horse riding is therapeutic is finally being proven and the science is catching up with the feeling man has had since before the Greeks, horses are nature’s natural de-stressors. And working with them, on them or just being around them is therapeutic.

A different kind of therapy, more for people who need excitement and maybe for the legal NZ sports betting public, is horse racing.

Watching a horse race is thrilling, which pumps the adrenaline and endorphins, and is just a fun day out. And just like riding a horse, watching horses and horse races can also be therapeutic and very de-stressing.