Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Back in the saddle at last!


Hey there lovelies! 
So this week on Tuesday I went for a horse riding lesson - my first one in about...12 or 13 years!! 

I knew that I missed horse riding. When I was little I spent every moment I could at the stables. I even went to summer camp, where I was working with the horses all summer. 

Unfortunately I had to stop, but this week a friend took me to a local stables and I got back in the saddle! 

And guess what? I loved it!! It literally felt like I hadn't stopped. I remembered loads from my lessons when I was little, and I even managed to get into a rising trot instantly! 

When I met the stable manager she told me that I would be riding a horse called Rosie...and I burst out laughing. The reason? When I used to ride, the horse I always rode was also called Rosie :) 

Then: 

Now:

One thing I was apprehensive about was whether or not it would leave me in a lot of pain. Most people think horse riding is easy and think the horse does all the work while you just sit there. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Yes you are sitting there, but even when the horse is walking, you are using all your muscles in the saddle. From your legs to your core, all your muscles are engaged. 

Surprisingly though, I am not really sore today. My right leg is a little achy, but that I expected as I broke that ankle a year ago so I don't have a lot of strength in the leg. 

Apart from that I'm fine. In fact I feel great. Being around the horses, especially Rosie, left me feeling calmer and happier than I have in years. When riding, you leave all the stress of everyday behind. It's just you, the horse and your instructor. 

Exercise of any sort releases the happy hormone serotonin and this is why so many feel good both during and after riding. 

But this isn't the only benefit of horse riding. The list of physical and mental benefits of riding is ridiculously long, but it includes:
- improves fitness
- builds muscle tone
- promotes muscle strength
- develops balance
- improves coordination 
- increases joint mobility
- improves blood circulation 
- increases self-confidence
- stimulates your internal organs
- aids in liver function and digestion
- mentally stimulating 

Insane right? As well as this, riding like other forms of exercise, burns calories. For example, during a walk a 10 1/2 stone woman burns calories at the rate of 5 calories per minute. And that's just at a walk! During a trot, canter or gallop this increases. 

For someone like myself who has a chronic condition or disability, horse riding can not only lift our spirits but it gives you a new lease of life. You feel like you have achieved a small victory after every ride. 

In addition to this, horse riding makes exercise a little easier, as it is not as strenuous as for example, going to the gym. 

As you know, I suffer from fibromyalgia. This makes most activities increasingly difficult, due to both pain and fatigue. 

But I don't have this with horse riding. I feel more like my old self when around the horses. I feel like me again. 

So I am finally going to end this post and head to bed, as I need a good nights sleep for heading to the stables tomorrow!

Till next time,
Naomi x

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