• The health benefits of horse riding in the UK

      Church, Andrew; Taylor, Becky; Maxwell, Neil S.; Gibson, Oliver R.; Twomey, Rosemary (The British Horse Society, 2010-01-01)
      Key findings:The physical health benefits of horse riding and associated activities: 1. Horse riding and activities associated with horse riding, such asmucking out, expend sufficient energy to be classed as moderateintensity exercise. 2. Regular periods of trotting in a riding session may enhance the energyexpended and associated health benefits. 3. More than two thirds (68 percent) of questionnaire respondentsparticipate in horse riding and associated activities for 30 minutes ormore at least three times a week. Sport England estimate that such alevel of sporting activity will help an individual achieve or exceed thegovernment{ extquoteright}s recommended minimum level of physical activity. 4. A range of evidence indicates the vast majority (90 percent plus) ofhorse riders are female and more than a third (37 percent) of the femaleriders who took part in the survey were above 45 years of age. Horseriding is especially well placed to play a valuable role in initiatives toencourage increased physical activity amongst women of all ages. 5. Amongst the horse riders who took part in the survey, 39 percent hadtaken no other form of physical activity in the last four weeks. Thishighlights the importance of riding to these people, who might otherwisebe sedentary. 6. Horse riders with a long-standing illness or disability who took part inthe survey are able to undertake horse riding and associated activitiesat the same self-reported level of frequency and physical intensity asthose without such an illness or disability. The psychological and social benefits of horse riding: 1. Horse riding stimulates mainly positive psychological feelings. 2. Horse riders are strongly motivated to take part in riding by the senseof well-being they gain from interacting with horses. This importantpositive psychological interaction with an animal occurs in a very fewsports. 3. Being outdoors and in contact with nature is an important motivationfor the vast majority of horse riders.
    • Oxygen cost of recreational horse-riding in females

      Beale, Louisa; Maxwell, Neil S.; Gibson, Oliver R.; Twomey, Rosemary; Taylor, Becky; Church, Andrew (Human Kinetics, 2014-01-01)
      BACKGROUND The purpose of this study was to characterize the physiological demands of a riding session comprising different types of recreational horse riding in females. METHODS Sixteen female recreational riders (aged 17-54 years) completed an incremental cycle ergometer exercise test to determine peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) and a 45 minute riding session based upon a British Horse Society Stage 2 riding lesson (including walking, trotting, cantering and work without stirrups). Oxygen consumption (VO2), from which metabolic equivalent (MET) and energy expenditure values were derived, was measured throughout. RESULTS The mean VO2 requirement for trotting/cantering (18.4 ± 5.1 ml.kg-1.min-1; 52 ± 12% VO2peak; 5.3 ± 1.1 METs) was similar to walking/trotting (17.4 ± 5.1 ml.kg-1.min-1; 48 ± 13% VO2peak; 5.0 ± 1.5 METs) and significantly higher than for work without stirrups (14.2 ± 2.9 ml.kg-1.min-1; 41 ± 12% VO2peak; 4.2 ± 0.8 METs) (P = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS The oxygen cost of different activities typically performed in a recreational horse riding session meets the criteria for moderate intensity exercise (3-6 METs) in females, and trotting combined with cantering imposes the highest metabolic demand. Regular riding could contribute to the achievement of the public health recommendations for physical activity in this population.