Why horse riding is an excellent remedy for stress.

Being a natural over thinker, I spend far too long worrying. I worry about anything and everything. Only when I’m mentally prepared for every including the worst possible eventuality in any given situation do I feel prepared.

If I have something stressful to deal with, personal or work related I find it so difficult to switch off. I haven’t got the attention span for films other than horrors or box sets- I watch an episode or two but rarely more. 

For over thinkers like me, methods of stress relief such as taking a bath simply don’t work. Even if I’m physically relaxed- laying amidst lavender scented bubbles my mind will still be churning away. For me the best remedies for stress are activities where there literally isn’t  the mind space to think about anything else.

Yoga is one activity which really helps me, however I still do occasionally have to push thoughts away. One of the most helpful activities I have found is horse riding. 

I started riding just over two years ago. I didn’t really have any hobbies at this time other than the usual reading and.. erm… does drinking wine and going shopping count?! I decided I needed a hobby asap, and being an animal lover my 2015 New Years resolution was to take up horse riding!

I envisaged being able to gallop along fields, my hair streaming behind me in the wind… surely I would be able to do this in weeks, a few months at most. Haha how little I knew!

I had absolutely idea how complex British standard horse riding is. Wow. It really is complicated, and precise, but also highly addictive and rewarding. Now let’s just say I’m not a natural rider, and starting in my late twenties probably didn’t help! My first couple of lessons were mainly spent bouncing around in the saddle in a rather ungainly fashion, and my muscles would be in absolute agony the next day! But a month or so later, my thighs had hardened slightly, and I could comfortable trot to a rhythm.

Although these technical improvements were pleasing, they became a secondary source of enjoyment in comparison to the mental benefits I was experiencing. This was something I hadn’t really expected but whenever I came riding, no matter how horrendous my day or week had been, riding had a way of making me feel calm and happy. My mind would be so focused on the lesson, on the horse, on the instructions that I didn’t have time to think about work or any other worries.

My worries from work genuinely dissipated during my lessons, and afterwards I would feel lighter, like a load had been lifted. Maybe it was the feeling of being outdoors, the fresh air, the change in environment, the new people I met, the use of muscles I hadn’t used in years, the connection with the horse, the focus it would take. Maybe a combination of all of these things.  

Two years on, and I have more or less kept up my weekly lessons. I haven’t improved hugely in this time as a rider, and have no intentions of competing or anything like that. I just simply enjoy it. 

And after each lesson I still feel that sense of elation combined with calm and peace. My worries from work simply go away. I return home feeling happy, a sense of achievement and I sleep well. 

It really is my best medicine for my mind, body and soul. 

What are your stress remedies?

About The Author

Dubai Dreamer

Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.


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