How many calories to you think you burn when you ride a horse?  None, because the horse is doing all the work? 

According to the “Body For Life for Women”, by Dr. Pamela Peeke, general horseback riding accounts for 5 calories per minute for a 150 pound woman. Increase the speed and distance you ride and you’ll increase the intensity of your work out.  So, if you ride for an hour, you burn 300 calories!  And that’s just at a walk!  If you trot, it’s 442 calories an hour!  Saddling and grooming a horse is another 238 calories/hour, but since it only takes about 15 or 20 minutes to groom and saddle, we can add another 75 calories.  That’s 375 calories used for grooming, saddling and general riding.  But wait, we have to unsaddle and groom again, so let’s add another 75 calories.  That brings the total to 450 calories doing something fun for an hour and a half.  But, that’s general riding.  If you like to trot, you are burning 592 calories!

Let’s compare that to other activities using a base of an hour and a half:

  • Watching TV – 102 calories
  • Washing dishes – 234 caloriespam-on-sherlock_e
  • Gardening – 272 calories
  • Fishing – 306 calories
  • Mopping  – 375 calories
  • Horseback riding (general) – 450 calories
  • Dancing (general) – 459 calories
  • Hunting – 510 calories
  • Mowing lawn (power mower) – 559 calories
  • Horseback riding (trot) – 592 calories
  • Bicycling – 816 calories

So, unless you enjoy bicycling, nothing burns more calories than trotting around on a horse.

There’s more to health than just burning calories.

Horseback riding also improves your posture, balance, muscle strength, coordination, respiration,  circulation, eye-hand coordination and reflexes.  Riding a horse at a walk stimulates the internal organs, too. This aids in liver function and digestion.  Horseback riding is a great therapy option for those in wheelchairs.

So, what are you waiting for?  Let’s ride!