Riding a horse can be an exhilarating experience, no matter what your age may be. However, if you are a senior citizen, there are some things you should keep in mind before taking up riding as a hobby. Let’s discuss the safety concerns associated with riding horses, as well as the benefits of riding for seniors. Check how to find safe riding lessons for seniors.
Am I Too Old to Learn to Ride a Horse?
You’re never too old to ride a horse! In fact, riding can be an excellent form of exercise for seniors. There are some safety concerns that come with riding horses, however. Because horses are large animals, they have the potential to cause serious injury if they were to fall on or kick a rider. For this reason, it’s important that seniors start horse riding lessons from a qualified instructor who can teach them how to safely control their animals. It’s also vital to wear proper safety equipment, such as a helmet and gloves, when riding.
Advantages of Horseback Riding for Elderly Parents
Despite the risks associated with riding horses, there are many benefits that make it worth considering for seniors. Horseback riding is excellent exercise, as it requires the rider to use all of their muscles to stay balanced and control the animal. This type of activity can help improve coordination, flexibility, and strength.
Additionally, horseback riding can provide a sense of calm and relaxation. For aging seniors who suffer from anxiety or depression, riding horses can be therapeutic.
Finally, horseback riding is a great way to spend time outdoors in nature and enjoy the fresh air. It’s a nice way to get social and make new friends among your peers.
What to Look for When Choosing Horse Riding Lessons for Seniors?
When searching for riding lessons for aging parents, it’s essential to find an instructor who is experienced in working with older students. They should be patient and understand the unique challenges that come with learning to ride at an older age.
The instructor should also be able to provide an equine that is suitable for the rider’s abilities. For example, a senior rider may need a calm and gentle horse if they are a beginner.
The riding facility should be clean and well-maintained, with plenty of room for the horses to move around freely.
Look for horse riding lessons near your senior’s place of residence, so they won’t have to travel far to get to their lessons.
Contact your elderly’s doctor to discuss if it is a good idea for your adults to start horseback riding.
Hippotherapy As an Alternative to Horseback Riding
If your parents are interested in riding but are not sure if they are physically able to do it, consider hippotherapy. This is a well-known form of therapy that uses horses to help people with physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Hippotherapy can be beneficial for seniors who suffer from balance problems, joint pain, and muscle weakness. The horse therapy can also help enhance cognitive function and mental well-being.
There are different types of hippotherapy. The most common is therapeutic riding, which is a type of exercise that uses the movement of the horse to help improve balance and coordination.
Aquatic therapy is another type of therapy that uses horses in water to help seniors with movement and flexibility.
Safety Horse Riding Equipment for Seniors
Your aging parents will need to wear the proper riding gear, which includes a helmet, gloves, and boots.
A riding helmet is a must for all riders, regardless of age. Your aging parents should look for a firm helmet that fits snugly and is comfortable to wear.
Riding gloves help protect your hands from the reins and the horse’s mane. They also provide grip and help keep your hands warm in colder weather.
Boots with a heel are essential for riding. They help keep your feet in the stirrups and provide support when you’re riding.
Riding Pants or Jeans
Your aging parents should wear riding pants or jeans when they’re riding. This will help protect their legs from the horse’s mane and the saddle.
The saddle is the most important piece of equipment for horse riding. It’s what you sit on when you’re riding, and it should be comfortable and fit well.
The bridle is the second most important piece of horse tack. It’s what you hold onto when you’re riding, and it should be comfortable and easy to grip.
The reins are a piece that you use to control the equine. They should be made of a material that is easy to grip and hold onto, such as leather or nylon.
Horse Breeds Perfect for Senior Riders
1. American Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse is a popular breed of equine that is known for its versatility. It’s a good choice for senior riders because it is a calm and gentle breed. This horse breed features a short coat that is easy to groom and care for.
American Quarter Horses are intelligent and have a willing attitude, which makes them easy to train. The QH is also known for its sure-footedness, which makes the breed a safe choice for senior riders.
2. Arabian Horse
The Arabian horse is a beautiful breed that is known for its intelligence and gentle nature. It’s a popular choice for senior riders because it is sure-footed and has a calm disposition.
Arabian horses are well-known for their endurance, which makes them a good choice for trail riding. The breed is easy to train and is willing to please its riders.
3. Draft Horse
The draft horse is a large breed of horse that is known for its strength and docile nature. Draft horses are often used in riding therapeutic programs, such as hippotherapy, because of their gentle dispositions and sure-footedness.
Draft horses are also a good choice for senior riders who are looking for a calm and dependable mount.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Safe for the Elderly to Ride a Horse?
Yes, riding a horse can be safe for seniors as long as they take the proper safety precautions. Consult with your physician before starting horse riding. Plus, riding a horse does require some level of fitness.
That being said, horseback riding can offer many benefits for seniors. These include improved balance and coordination, increased muscle strength, and increased flexibility.
What Equipment Do Seniors Need to Ride a Horse?
In addition to a helmet and proper footwear, seniors will need a saddle that is comfortable and fits properly. An English-style saddle is generally recommended for beginners. It provides more stability than a Western-style saddle.
Beginners may also want to consider taking riding lessons from a qualified instructor before venturing out on their own.
How Much Do Horse Riding Lessons Cost?
The average price for a private riding lesson is $40-$50, while the average price for a group lesson is $30-$40. The cost of riding lessons will vary depending on the instructor, location, and length of the lesson. Private horse riding lessons typically cost more than group lessons, but many riding schools offer discounts for seniors.
Riding a horse can be an ace experience, but it’s important to consider safety first. If your parents are thinking about horseback riding, make sure to take lessons from a qualified instructor provided by a trusted riding school. Make sure to consider the proper equestrian equipment mentioned earlier. With a little bit of practice, your adults will be galloping across the fields in no time!