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Top five benefits of hacking out

Unsurprisingly, hacking out has lots of benefits for both the body and soul. So next time you’re enjoying a nice hack, you’ll also be ticking off five boxes around health and wellbeing!

Burning calories
Riding horses is a great form of cardiovascular exercise and in research undertaken by the University of Brighton and Plumpton College on behalf of The British Horse Society, we found that trotting for 45 minutes can burn up to 600 calories. Furthermore, while you’re busy in the yard, grooming, mucking out, tacking up or carrying feed and water buckets, you’re still burning a significant amount of calories – just half an hour of this yard work is classed as moderate exercise.

Studies have also proven that riding and stable management can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 35% and the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 40%.

Let’s get physical
Maintaining a good posture and position and adjusting to the horse’s gait to help you both keep in balance, heavily relies on using your core muscles. In addition, your inner thighs and pelvic muscles will get a good workout.

This all helps improve your balance and coordination, your muscle tone and your level of flexibility.

Mental wellbeing
According to the mental health charity Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the United Kingdom experience a mental health problem each year. In addition to improving physical health and giving you more energy, being more active can also improve your mood.

Riding has been proven to help self-confidence and this could lead to an increase in self-esteem and self-image. Our study has revealed that horse riding stimulated positive psychological feelings, while potentially reducing depression by 30% as well as lowering the chance of dementia by 30%.

The equestrian industry is a very social community full of people who will help each other and help care for other people’s horses, building lifelong friendships. Going for a hack is the ideal time to catch-up with a friend.

Horses make wonderful companions. Communicating and interacting with animals has been shown to have a positive effect on people. You’ve probably described your horse as being part of the family or your best friend! Hacking out helps to build this very special horse human bond.

A great way to experience the wonderful benefits of hacking out would be to take part in our Rideathon challenge. Many of our off-road routes aren't officially recognised and maintained. This July, saddle up for one whole month of heart-pounding, adventurous trails and happy horses – for something that couldn’t be more important. Are you in? Find out more here. 

All riding research was undertaken by the University of Brighton and Plumpton College on behalf of The British Horse Society and is available to view here.