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Horseback Riding: Is It a Sport?

The question of whether horseback riding is a sport is one that seems not to get substantive answers and elicits heated debate. However, the activity is among the most ancient sports and meets all the definitions of sport. But many see it as an easy thing and say that it does not qualify as a sport.

This perception may be because for most people, the only encounter they have with equestrianism is by watching it on television. They see the professional horse riders who are adept do it so effortlessly that it appears like just a fun thing. They also see the trained and calm horses that carry unbalanced and unskilled riders and get the notion that it is not a sport.

Unbeknown to the majority of non-riders are the many hours of practice that professional horseback riders put in. They also do not know the sore muscles, bruising, and chaffing that they suffer or the mental challenge that they endure to make things look that easy.

So, why is horseback riding a sport? Here are some reasons to support that it is indeed a sport:

Horseback Riders Train Harder Than Most Sportsmen

If we could consider the hours of training and schooling that professional riders invest together with their horse, we can see how serious this sport is. The truth is that riders take longer to learn and perfect the art of their sport and be ready to compete than many other athletes. Unlike sports like soccer where one can train for a few months and be equipped to participate in a lower level game, horse riders have to prepare for years before they can enter a competition.

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It Is Competitive

It is no secret that there are horse shows worldwide and people have built successful and admirable careers thanks to their prowess and accomplishment in the show ring. Furthermore, there are sponsorships and scholarships for those who portray interest and skill in the equestrian sport. The market for equestrian-related products is also huge. What’s more is that this sport is in the Olympics, which is proof that it is a recognized sport.

Horse Riding Bestows the Benefits of Sports

One thing with sports is that they make their participants gain physical strength and even mental and emotional stability. Horse riding as a sport makes riders become incredibly strong. Among the requirements for successful horseback riders are leg strength, core strength, and upper body strength, which most people do not have. For riders, they develop and nurture those strengths as a matter of necessity.

The Riders Have Teammates

The same way that a soccer player has fellow teammates to whom he passes the ball or receives passes and must coordinate with, horse riders have teammates, too. The only differences are that for riders, the teammates are animals that weigh hundreds of pounds, and their minds, which are quite different from the rider’s. To make things tougher, these teammates do not speak the same language and their riders may not comprehend their instructions all the time. Teammates may feel as if the riders are uncooperative at times, so they defy the orders or do their own thing, but still, the riders trust them to be on their back.

The Bottom Line

Horseback riding is indeed a sport as the above discussion has shown. Besides, it also needs strategy and determination to succeed in it. The riders may also get sports injuries and fatigued like other athletes.

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