And You Thought a Dog Was Man’s Best Friend….

We’ve all heard that we need to exercise more. But, for many seniors, that wisdom has just seemed too hard to pull off… that is until now.  If you think of exercise as movement, then a wide range of activities could help – and, one of the best and often most overlooked, is horseback riding for seniors.

If you are thinking that you’re too old to ride… then consider that at one local Colorado Springs program, their oldest rider was 104 and the average age is 85.  In fact, these riders find that horseback riding is a great way to exercise their body, mind and soul!

They find the ability to control a horse as well as one’s own body inspires self-confidence, responsibility and teamwork. Best of all, it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, which creates a special relationship between rider and horse and promotes the exhilaration of meeting personal challenges. Specifically, exercising by riding a horse can help with not only your muscles (including stomach, back, arm and hand, etc), but also help improve your range of motion for your joints, and may benefit your whole cardiovascular system. Additionally, we know that riding stimulates the tactile senses both through touch and environmental stimuli… and for many, the warmth of the horse may aid in relaxation, especially of the legs. 

In short, there are so many benefits both physically and emotionally we can receive from horseback riding… not the least of which is the sheer joy of connecting with these beautiful creatures and nature on an afternoon ride.  It was Winston Churchill who may have summed it up best when he said ‘There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man’. 


Editor’s Note:  This article was submitted by Cathleen
Couchman.  She is an NARHA Advance Riding
Instructor and the Director of Golden Eagles Therapeutic Riding in Colorado
Springs.  She can be reached at