Healthy aspects of riding

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AN initiative to get people back in the saddle also has many health and well-being benefits that have long been associated with riding and being involved with horses, says the British Equestrian Federation.

The BEF has announced its new health and fitness campaign, Trot to be Trim. It is designed to meet the rise in demand from the public to get involved. More and more people are taking part in Hoof – the BEF’s legacy campaign which aims to provide user friendly and easy pathways to increase participation in horse riding.Trot to be Trim promotes the many health and well being benefits long associated with riding and being involved with horses.

Top health and fitness guru Angie Best, who was also the former wife of the legendary football player George Best, is a regular rider who believes riding and physical fitness go hand-in-hand. Angie, also a British Showjumping Ambassador, came back to the sport when their son Calum left home and backs the campaign wholeheartedly.

“Trot to be Trim is an excellent initiative for weight loss. There is so much to do with the horse before and after you ride, it’s three times the benefit of other exercise plans! Hundreds of calories are used during each session and so much fun with a great sense of achievement.”

A study carried out by The British Horse Society in 2011 revealed that riding can expend sufficient energy to be classed as moderate-intensity exercise. An hour’s schooling session or group lesson burns off 360 calories – the equivalent to an hour peddling up to 10mph on a cycle ride.

Jo Shuker, a 49-year-old grandmother lost four stone in five months when she began riding again with her daughter and grand-daughter after a 32-year break.

“I feel so much healthier – and exercising is not a chore,” said Jo, who enrolled on a Take Back the Reins (TBTR) programme at her local riding centre at Radway, near Banbury. TBTR is part of the BEF’s legacy campaign to encourage lapsed riders back into the saddle.

Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the BEF commented: “A major aim of the BEF’s Legacy project, Hoof, is to inspire more people to become involved in riding and benefit from all that it has to offer. We want to spread the word that it really is possible to Trot to be Trim, but also to re-emphasise that riding not only helps achieve physical fitness, but it is also therapy for the mind and that it really does put a smile on your face.”

For more information about getting back to riding whatever your experience and fitness level go to www.hoofride.co.uk and find a centre near you.