Benefits of Trail Riding for the Horse and Rider

Horses October 10, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Trail riding is a very popular equestrian activity, with millions participating every year.  According to the American Horse Council, “the recreational horse industry contributes nearly $32 billion a year to the economy and supports the employment of over 435,000 Americans nationwide and involves 4 million horses.” 

The benefits of trail riding for the rider include:

  • Ability to enjoy the horse without the stress of competition
  • Quality family time
  • Ability to socialize with other horse lovers
  • Opportunity to observe nature
  • Exploration of new terrain
  • Improve equitation
  • Build confidence
  • Relax

The benefits of trail riding for the horse include:

  • Increased responsiveness
  • Quicker recovery from distractions
  • Practical environment to practice maneuvers such as backing, forehand and haunch pivots, leg yield, gait transitions
  • Ability to better negotiate obstacles
  • Better balance
  • Improved muscling/conditioning
  • Offers a change of scenery

Find out more about trail riding:

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.