Coordination: A Benefit of Horseback Riding

David Sanderson Benefits of Riding


First time riders will realize that riding is a lot tougher than it looks. A lot needs to happen simultaneously to get a horse to increase speed or even walk in a circle without wandering off.


Riding a horse requires coordinating leg pressure, rein pressure, and body position all at the same time. Try to rub your stomach, pat your head, and skip all at once and let me know how that goes. Similar chaos can happen on a horse.

Ride a couple hours per week to see improved coordination. You’ll be more aware of the movements needed to produce a desired result, like making the horse go left like you want it to. After awhile, you will master the simultaneous, but independent movement of your hands, body, and legs. This has great carryover to other sports.

Therapeutic riding programs for the sight-impaired have had a lot of success developing better coordination. Without the aid of a cane or other instrument to guide them, they learn to ride just by feel. This “feel” is the same type of coordination that separates the good athlete from thebest. If an athlete has great body awareness, their movements will be more automatic, quick, and effective.