Top Tips for the 50+ Horse Rider
Is horse riding a good idea for those over 50 years of age? Of course it is!
Many people remain extremely fit and active into their fifties and beyond. Not to mention the fact that riding will help you to stay fit. If you take up riding in middle age your new hobby will help to get you fit and active, and it has been proven that learning a new skill improves the cognitive ability of those who are the 'wrong' side of fifty.
Almost anyone can enjoy riding and the benefits it can bring but there are few things that you should bear in mind if you are an older rider.
The Good News
There’s plenty of good news for ageing riders. Time in the saddle will improve your muscle strength and that has been shown to be a good indicator of how long you will remain mobile and even how long you will live. Your balance and core strength will also be enhanced as will your fine and gross motor skills. Your mental health is also likely to benefit and you will probably make new friends.
Choose the Right Horse
Riding will certainly keep your body in better shape but it is important to choose your horse wisely. Know your own strengths and limitations and find the horse that will enjoy the way you wish to or need to ride. This could mean that you should choose a more experienced, possibly older, but much more forgiving horse. One that is happy to go along with whatever you feel like doing.
Avoid horses that need too much attention or a more vigorous workout than you are able to provide. Younger horses might need to be ridden every day and may still be learning. If you are older equestrian or new to riding, a calm and experienced mount will always serve you well.
Know Your Ability
You might think that riding within your comfort zone is simply common sense, but too many people try to push themselves too far. As an older rider, you should constantly challenge yourself to keep developing new skills but don’t challenge yourself to the extent that you compromise your safety. It is always a good idea to take lessons, even if you have been riding for a long time. You can never know it all and you may have acquired bad habits which are affecting your posture and performance. The impact of any bad habits on your body are likely to get more severe the older you get.
Take Your Time
It can be harder to learn new skills as you age or at least to get your body to cooperate and to do what you know it should do! That doesn’t mean that you should give up but you must be prepared to be patient with yourself.
Listen to Your Body
If you do experience a few aches and pains, don’t keep pushing your body. Allow your muscles and joints to recover from any exercise and build up your level of activity gradually. Sometimes the tortoise really does beat the hare!