Horse Riding in Portland to Stay in Shape
In October 2014, we shared a new craze that was becoming popular: Bike Polo. As the name suggests bikes replaced horses and it catered to a very different type of athlete compared to the more traditional polo. In this post we will go the opposite way and embrace the humble horse to take a look at horse riding around Portland. Riding is not only a great way to get outdoors and see the country, but also an effective and fun way to exercise.
Any rider will tell you that the most annoying thing they will often hear is “horse riding is easy as the horse does all the work.” Unless the rider plans to sit on the horse without moving they are going to have to rely on leg strength and a strong core to balance and control the horse. Samir Becic writing for Health Fitness Revolution listed 7 health benefits of horseback riding: body awareness, quick thinking, coordination, core strength, muscle and flexibility, stable strength, and mental exercise. These attributes can be found in most sports and show that riding is just as tough and beneficial to the body as a more traditional workout.
Becic writes that core strength is improved, as “horseback riding is an isometric exercise, which means it uses specific muscles to stay in certain positions, in this case, keeping balance on the horse.” Strength is needed to control the horse as unlike bikes they truly do have a mind of their own. An interesting note from the list is the mental exercise point. Horse riding is considered to be meditating as the rider’s focus is solely on the horse and the surroundings. Compared to mediating while doing yoga, horse riding is a much more interesting way to achieving spiritual peace.
Portland has some beautiful scenery to ride around and Writing Horseback recommends Dream Ridge Stables as the perfect starting point as it is only 30 minutes outside of the city. This is a great place to learn to ride and experience the countryside around Portland. The site states there are many trails specifically designed for horses leading out from the stables and riders of all experience are welcome.
If you are unsure whether riding is for you or have never been on a horse before, take some inspiration from Victoria Pendleton. Pendleton is a former British Olympic cyclist who won gold in the 2012 Olympics. After retiring from the sport SBC News revealed that she was sponsored by horse racing specialists Betfair, who cover all the major racing events in the world including the Grand National, to go from complete novice to amateur horse racer in 12 months. Her goal was to compete in one of the UK’s most prestigious racing events the Cheltenham Festival. Not only did she manage to learn, qualify, and compete, she also came fifth in her race astounding the racing world who claimed it couldn’t be done. If she can learn to ride a horse and compete against professionals riders after only a year we are sure that you can learn to ride recreationally.
Hopefully this has inspired you to try a new outdoor activity to improve your health and wellbeing. As an added bonus you also get to see the stunning country that surrounds this great city.