Horsemanship

17 Ways Riding Horses Prepares You For the ‘Real World’

Not only is horseback riding fun, but it can also prepare you for personal and professional success in ways you may not have expected.

Whether you currently ride horses, or you’re considering starting lessons, here are 17 ways riding horses can benefit you outside of the saddle.

From the Arena To the Workplace

1. Working Overtime.

In every professional setting, there will be days where you are required to work overtime. This isn’t a new concept to the seasoned equestrian. We grew up working hard after school, before school and getting up early on the weekends to make time for riding.

2. Deadlines. 

Preparing for a horse show is similar to meeting deadlines. If going to a horse show is your goal, you must take the proper steps to meet it. The date of the horse show will not be rescheduled just because a rider isn’t prepared.

3. How To Handle Failure.

We’ve all been there. We’ve trained for months, paid the entry fee, memorized the course. And lost. You can’t always control the outcome, but you can choose how you respond. Riding horses teaches you to pick yourself back up (sometimes literally) and keep going. 

4. How to Prioritize Effectively.

If you’ve ever stayed out too late the night before a riding lesson, you know exactly what I mean. People who are passionate about horses know that they have to make sacrifices for what they truly want.

5. Multitasking.

“Heels down, head up, count your strides”. Riding horses requires you to juggle 10 different thoughts in your head, while performing a physical activity, reading the cues of your horse, and listening to your coach. It’s multitasking to the extreme.

6. Taking Criticism.

Whether it’s from your riding instructor or a horse show judge, taking criticism comes second nature to an equestrian. To improve, riders must be open to feedback.

Everyday Life Skills

7. Confidence.

Whether it’s winning a blue ribbon or seeing the effect of all of your hard work paying off, horses help you feel proud of your work, which develops self-esteem.

8. Adaptability.

Like people, each horse has a different way of learning. It’s up to the rider to adapt to the horse’s needs and capabilities.

9. Responsibility.

Not only are you responsible for yourself, but you are responsible for your animal as well. Taking care of horses creates a sense of responsibility.

10. Managing Money.

Budgeting and managing money is a crucial part of horseback riding. When owning a horse, you must consider vet, farrier, and feed bills, as well as saving towards horse competitions.

11. How to Stay Humble.

“Horses keep us humble” is a phrase that I often hear at the barn. One day you are in first place, the next you are in last. With so many variables, there’s never a guaranteed outcome, which helps keep egos in check.

12. Channeling Energy in a Positive Way.

Not only is horseback riding a great total body workout, but studies have shown that grooming and handling horses can help to lower stress levels as well.

13. Physical Benefits.

It’s hard to find a sport that strengthens your core muscles more than riding does. Not to mention, an improvement in balance and coordination.

14. Mental Health.

Activities involving horses can assist people suffering from a range of mental health issues. Horses provide feedback and mirror human behavior or emotions giving us a sense of self-awareness and an opportunity to process positively.

In Personal Relationships

15. Relationship Building.

A good relationship takes time and effort. Equestrians know that developing a bond with a horse takes a lot of patience and it’s important not to rush the process.

16. Being a Clear Communicator.

When giving your horse cues, if you don’t communicate clearly, likely, your horse won’t respond in the way you want him to. 

17. How to be a Team Player.

Not only is your horse your teammate, but your stablemates are as well. And a lot of times you are required to compete against them. Learning how to be supportive of the “competition” is an invaluable skill that will translate into every type of relationship.

Conclusion

Riding horses does require a financial commitment, but it’s easy to see that the benefits far outweigh the cost!

Any other life lessons you’ve learned from riding? Comment below!

Photo by Carlos Fernando Bendfeldt on Unsplash

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