Why: Riding a horse is a fun way to experience a bond with an animal and get exercise in the fresh air.
How it works: People can take lessons at equestrian centres before heading out unaided on designated bridle ways. Safety equipment includes a helmet, body armour and saddle. Equine owners will also need to look after their horse and muck out the stables.
Benefits: Exercise and spending time with animals are believed to raise levels of the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin, thus improving a person’s mood. Horse riding is an isometric exercise, where specific muscles are targeted to stay in a certain position. It is also good for the posture as riders have to stay in one position. It also gives riders a good work out in their back, inner thighs and pelvic muscles. As the horse moves and turns quickly, riders will have to support themselves, improving balance.
Give it a go at:
Eccleston Equestrian Centre: Ulnes Walton Lane, Leyland. Caters for beginner riders on quiet horses and ponies, and more advanced riders, including dressage and jumping. For more information visit http://www.equestrian-northwest.co.uk/Club Equestrian: Cuerden Farm Barn, Wigan Road, Leyland. Private and group lessons for adults. For more information visit http://www.club-equestrian.co.uk/Elswick Equestrian Centre: Bonds Lane, Elswick. Caters for riders of all abilities from the age of four. As riders progress, lessons are varied to include jumping and games. For more information visit http://www.elswickec.com/Braeden’s Pony Trekking: Bleasdale Lane, Claughton-On-Brock. A family-run yard with in excess of 20 ponies suitable for a skilled rider or a beginner. Treks run from 1 hour to three hours. For more information visit http://www.braedentrekking.co.uk/