People say the dog is a man’s best friend, but they then probably never met a horse! My hobby is horseback riding, and I love to do that. I started horseback riding when I was 4 years old, and I got my first horse when I was 7 years old.

History of horseback riding
People started using horses as far back as 6000 BC, but horseback riding started at about 4500BC. Humans used horses to pull wheeled vehicles, chariots, carts and wagons. Horses were also used a lot during World War 1: approximately 8 million horses, donkeys and mules died during this war. Nowadays horses are mainly used for riding and transportation.

Health conditions
The great thing about horseback riding, is that you can decide how intensely you ride your horse. According to the British Equestrian federation, you will burn about 360 calories per hour, if you are trotting gently, and it helps to tone your stomach. Riding works a lot of different muscles in your body that you would not use during a normal day, but especially your glutes, hamstrings, quads and abdominal muscles. Once you become a more experienced equestrian (the person who rides the horse) you will learn all of the subtle movements to use in order to make the animals react as you want.

Horses are stress relievers
Horses are stress relievers, and they have the ability to react to your emotions. The ancient Greeks already recognized by 600 BC the therapeutic value of horses, horseback riding is even sometimes used for treating some health conditions, like depression or autism.

How Horseback riding has changed me
One of the ways horseback riding has changed me, is that I have become more responsible, because as a rider I have to feed my horse , to work my horse, and to take care of it when it’s sick. Another fact, how horseback riding has changed me, is that I got more ambitious, because I have a goal that I am working on 4-6 times a week. Horseback riding also has taught me to be passionate about things and not stress out too much in stressful situations. When I started horseback riding, I also found a lot of new friends.

Diversity in horseback riding
Horseback riding has a lot of diversity. Horses can be ridden in a lot of different styles and activities, so it never gets boring. For example you can jump with your horse, you can do dressage work with your horse, but you can also just go out in the forest and ride your horse there. The most common styles are Western riding, which is kind of like a cowboy or English Riding, which is more a dressage style based, but there are way more styles, how you can ride your horse.

Why you should start horseback riding
As I said horseback riding is a great free time activity and it changed my life in many positive ways: I found new friends, got more ambitions, got stronger in general, and the horses helped me to relieve stress. Just Imagine, when you are done with work/school, you just want to take a short break with all the work, so then you can just ride your horse, and you will be more relaxed.

Ricarda S., International Secondary Student, Grade 11, English B

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