Photo Credit: N Banaszak Photography

What are the reasons you ride horses? There must be as many reasons to ride horses are there are people who ride. For those of us that are bitten with "the bug" that is horses, there are few reasons not to get on a horse's back!

10. The chance to be in the great outdoors.

Spring, summer, winter or fall - you can find things to do with horses. As you participate in your various activities, you become so much more a part of the outdoor environment. Although conditions might not always be the best, you learn to work with the weather and appreciate the art work of mother nature. You also learn to take better care of yourself as well as your horses in response to the weather conditions of the season.

9. The joy of  being in the world of horses.

You learn new communication skills when you interact with horses. By their very nature, horses are not the same as the pets we are familiar with. They are large, they are prey animals and they allow us to ride them! 

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8. The privilege of being allowed to sit on the back of such a magnificent animal and seeing the world from his perspective.

Life on four legs, several hands high is certainly different than what we are used to! Not only does the act of riding bring us new and (at first) unfamiliar experiences, but the places you can literally go is good enough reason to ride. Thanks to horses and riding, I have traveled all over my own province, in other provinces, and in other countries. Certainly without horses as a reason to pursue these activities, our lives would be lacking.

7. Exercise that is so similar to our own movement that it is healing for ourselves.

Riding horses gives our body the movement it relishes and needs. In the case of hippotherapy, riding can literally be therapeutic. Also, riding as a sport benefits the body and mind in many ways.

6. The variety of activities and events you can participate in if you ride a horse.

Once you get involved in the horse world, you will be amazed at all the activities and events that you might participate in! From weekly riding lessons to trail riding to vaulting to fundraising rides - the sky is the limit! There are simply too many events to list here. The clincher is that those who don't participate in riding do not have the opportunity to even begin to understand such vibrant experiences.

5. Learning skills that promote coordination, timing, rhythm, balance, core strength and much more.

Skills, skills and skills!

Skill development is one large component of what horseback riding is all about. As you grow as a rider, you'll be amazed at how your physical abilities progress. You will be sure to improve in all the above areas as well as in your mental skills such as problem-solving and determination.

4. The self-development process that goes hand-in-hand with skill development.

Self-confidence, self-control, patience, empathy - all these and more traits will be developed as you progress through your riding experiences. There is no way around it. If you ride, you will grow as a human being.

3. The life-long, ever-changing learning process that is horses and riding.

If you like learning, and feel a pang of excitement when you discover something new, horse riding is for you! The catch is that you would do well to enjoy this feeling of discomfort-before-learning-something-new because it will happen again and again - even years into your riding career!

2. Learning to problem solve effectively and ride with enough tact to improve the health and well-being of the horse.

There is nothing more motivating to realize that one day, you will ride well enough to be able to give back to the horses you ride. As your skills develop, your aids will support, redirect, enhance and even improve the horse's natural tendencies. One day, you might notice that your horse is physically healthier and mentally happier because of the riding experiences he receives - from little ol' you!

1. The ultimate release, and the feeling of oneness when everything is going right.

Well, though rarely realized, this togetherness is what will keep you coming back for more. Once you feel the connection, you will be able to persevere through every negative experience, setback and obstacle. Because once you have achieved harmony, you will know why you ride. 

Why do you ride? Please add to the list in the comments below!

Finally! The Ultimate Rider-Centered Program!

Ready for something completely different? If you liked what you read here, you might be interested in the new Horse Listening Practice Sessions. 

This is NOT a program where you watch other people's riding lessons. Start working with your horse from Day 1.

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If you enjoyed the above article, you might also like:

42 Ways to Learn, Play and Grow With Your Horse: Horses give to us in countless ways. We play, learn and grow with them, making horseback riding not merely a sport (which it truly is, like no other), but so much more.

5 Common Horse and Riding Myths: Do you regularly find yourself explaining/educating/justifying/rationalizing/defending your “horse habit”? Then this article is for you!

HL on The Dressage Radio Show?? Yes! Hear me speak about 20 Ways Horse Riding Becomes Life Itself.

20 Ways Horse Riding Becomes Life Itself: You could say that horses are our teachers. Not only do we grow in terms of physical ability, but perhaps even more so, we grow in character.

Good Day For A Little Horseplay: Snort, snort, snort, SNORT! My gelding couldn’t tell me in any clearer terms how much he was enjoying the moment.


  1. While #9 was my initial motivation, my riding rapidly developed into a quest for skills, skills, skills ( #5, #4, #3), and #2. And like Sparrowgrass, I too hope to someday reach #1. :0)

  2. I have my horses because they feed my soul. I ride my horses because it nourishes my soul. I teach my horses because the dialogue and feedback with them sends my soul. Without them I would have no team. No teachings and no learnings. No humility and no patience. No conversations and no game plans. My horses – a veteran, a tiny and a young star – we are a team and without them I’d really be nothing. That’s why I do it.

  3. Re-posted on my Plog with my own additions…

    Why do I ride?

    It is in my soul. I remember my uncle calling me a natural. I have been around horses (on and off) since I was born.
    It is much better than walking or biking. I enjoy the trail rides especially when I see others out for exercise. We say funny things like “Race ya” or if they are tired “Need a lift”. They say things like “Trade ya” and we always reply “No Way”.
    Connection with a beast almost 10 times my size. My guys are great. They are calm and have no vises. They are all getting up there in years but they know they have it good at the farm.
    Mounted lessons – are much better than standing and walking around the ring giving out riding instruction. My student’s father came up to me after her lesson and said I was Aces. He explained she has been at 3 barns and this is the first on that the instructor gave the lesson from on top of a horse. It makes sense to me to do it for demonstration purposes. Plus the added bonus is we get to go on a mini trail ride after the lesson.

  4. I reblogged this because it spoke to my heart! My son rides, and I rarely do, although I would love to more. I work with the horses as a barn manager, and someday will be able to get back consistently in the saddle!

  5. Why do I ride? The stress relief of cueing my horse with a little shift in body weight, compared to the verbal persuasion required on the job (that usually doesn’t work).

  6. As my dad used to say, :When you are riding, your whole mind has to focus on just that. Any other miscellaneous thoughts, worries or concerns have to go away.” So for me it is like meditation.

  7. I ride, because i feel the need to have my best friend with me where ever i go (my horse) it lets me express my feelings, you can never have a dull moment when you are telling your horse everything that happened that school day or work day.

  8. I love riding because it gets me closer to my horses and it helps me focus on being grateful for what I have. Horses make me feel so free, happy and calm. So that’s why I ride.