Perspective: The Benefits of Horseback Riding


This just came across my desk last night and as someone who has been around horses off and on my entire life, I 100% agree with the fundamental basis of this article from Blue Ridge Outdoors: horseback riding is great for the mental and physical health of children. For that matter, I think there is something truly unique and breath-taking about being on the back of a horse.

I think I was 7 when I rode for the first time in my neighbor’s paddock. I remember clearly being a little hesitant about the size of the beautiful animal in front of me, but as soon as I was in the saddle and was being led around the enclosure, I felt like an adult. After all, it’s basically a quintessential little girl’s fantasy to ride a horse and make a best friend with one of these sleek and majestic creatures. Plus, there’s just something about being in sync with another being that makes you feel like you can overcome anything.

When I was older, my fiancé, now husband, received a job offer at a ranch in Texas helping to care for the property and all of the animals there. We jumped at it and moved to the West Texas mountains. It was glorious, dozens of horses made their home on the acres we oversaw and there were numerous opportunities to ride, whether it be for ourselves, to exercise the restless horses, to introduce children to their first horseback riding experience, or to take a small group in the backcountry for a leisurely ride. From what I’ve seen, horses help both adults and children to connect with another being on a different level on a mental and physical level.

As this article from Blue Ridge Outdoors states, riding is “a way to connect with animals while learning a new skill, and it can be a great workout - only it’s not just a physical work out.” The study in the article touches on how the vibrations caused by riding increase the brain’s cognitive ability, “making it a workout for the brain as well,” thusly helping the brain to improve learning, memory, and problem-solving skills.

So, if you’ve been thinking that a ride is just what you and/or the kids need, you might be onto something. The stables and ranches in Luray and Page County offer everything from classes to trail rides to weekend-long campouts on the trail. With spring arriving and summer just around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity to make that first priceless memory on horseback while helping the kids, and yourself, to grow and continue developing to their full potential.

Horseback Riding in and around Luray & Page County:

Fort Valley Ranch
Jordan Hollow Stables
Massanutten Resort
River Hill Stables
River’s Bend Ranch
Shenandoah National Park