older woman about to start a horseback riding lesson in the Kawartha Lakes

Horseback riding: it’s for any age!

Horseback riding is often perceived as a pursuit best suited for the young and agile, but the truth is, it’s never too late to saddle up and embark on a new equestrian adventure.

Whether you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond, learning to ride horses at a Kawartha Lakes horse farm can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience that offers a host of physical, mental, and emotional benefits.

Why people in the Kawarthas are drawn to horseback riding

The thrill of galloping across open fields.

The bond that forms between human and horse.

The sheer joy of mastering a new skill.

Whatever your reason may be, there’s something undeniably magical about horseback riding.

The benefits of horseback riding for older adults

Taking up horseback riding can have a number of positive impacts on people who are at a later stage of life.

Improves strength and balance: Horseback riding provides a full-body workout, engaging muscles you never knew you had while boosting your core strength.

It also promotes balance and coordination, two aspects that can diminish with age.

This can help reduce the risk of falls and enhance overall stability.

Enhances cognitive function: Learning to ride horses stimulates the brain in a variety of ways. From problem-solving and decision-making to spatial awareness and sensory integration.

For people of an older vintage, these cognitive challenges can help maintain mental acuity and prevent cognitive decline associated with aging.

Boosts your emotional well-being: Spending time with horses has been shown to have therapeutic effects.

These include: reducing stress, anxiety, and depression while boosting mood and promoting feelings of calmness, relaxation and overall well-being.

For older adults, who may be dealing with the challenges of retirement, loss, or loneliness, horseback riding can provide a welcome source of joy, companionship, and purpose.

In essence, horseback riding offers a holistic approach to health and happiness.

Advantages of being an older beginner

As an older rider you are more developed as a person than a younger rider would be. This can give you advantages that you may not have realized.

Experience and maturity: Unlike younger beginners who may be more prone to impulsive behavior or fearlessness. Older riders often approach horseback riding with a sense of caution, respect, and responsibility. This frame of mind can contribute to a safer and more enjoyable learning experience.

Patience and persistence: Older riders often possess a greater level of patience and persistence than their younger counterparts. This can be invaluable when faced with the ups and downs of the learning process.

Emotional resilience: Life experience has taught older riders how to cope with adversity and setbacks. This resilience can help older beginners overcome the fear and anxiety associated with horseback riding.

Appreciation for the journey: Older riders tend to have a greater appreciation for the journey of learning and growth, recognizing that progress takes time and patience.

How much do horseback riding lessons in the Kawarthas typically cost?

The cost of horseback riding lessons in the Kawartha Lakes area can vary widely.

It can depend on factors such as location, instructor experience, and the type of lessons offered.

On average, expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $100 per hour for group lessons and $50 to $150 per hour for private lessons.

Semi-private lessons typically fall somewhere in between, ranging from $40 to $120 per hour.

Reduce the cost by working on the farm

Some horse farms in the Kawarthas offer work exchange programs or volunteer opportunities where riders can trade their time and labor for discounted or free lessons.

While this is great for offsetting the cost of riding, it’s essential to clarify expectations and responsibilities with the farm owner or manager before committing to any arrangement.

Which type of horseback riding lesson is right for you?

Most Kawartha Lakes horse farms offer three options for your riding lessons: private, semi-private and group. Here are the basic differences:

  • Private lessons: offer personalized attention and tailored instruction but can be more expensive.
  • Semi-private lessons: allow for small groups of riders to learn together, offering a balance between individualized instruction and social interaction.
  • Group lessons: typically, the most affordable option but may offer less individualized attention.

Which style of riding is right for you: English or Western?

There are two primary styles of horseback riding offered by Kawartha Lakes horseback riding farms: English and Western.

English riding is characterized by its elegant, refined appearance, with riders typically using a close-contact saddle and riding with both hands on the reins.

Western riding is known for its relaxed, laid-back style, with riders using a larger saddle and holding the reins in one hand.

For beginners, English riding is often recommended as it provides a solid foundation in riding fundamentals and emphasizes balance and coordination.

How long is a typical lesson?

A horseback riding lesson usually lasts around one hour, although this can vary depending on the instructor and the rider’s skill level.

This duration allows for an adequate warm-up period, focused instruction, and cool-down time.

It also ensures that both horse and rider remain engaged and attentive throughout the lesson.

What to expect at your first horseback riding lesson

Your first horseback riding lesson is an exciting milestone on your journey to becoming an equestrian.

During your lesson, you can expect to learn the basics of horse care, grooming, and tacking up, as well as essential riding skills such as mounting, steering, and stopping.

Your instructor will work with you to assess your skill level and tailor the lesson to your individual needs and goals.

What equipment will you need?

Before embarking on your horseback riding journey, it’s essential to have the right gear.

At a minimum, you’ll need a properly fitting helmet, sturdy boots with a heel, and comfortable clothing that allows for freedom of movement.

Once you have chosen a horseback riding farm you can confirm with them what equipment you’re responsible for bringing to your lesson.

Horseback riding farms in the Kawartha Lakes

Places where you can sign up for horseback riding lessons in the Kawartha Lakes are plentiful.

No matter what part of the region you live in, you won’t be far from a horseback riding farm.

Here is a list of providers to check out online and contact for more information.

Belgian Haven
515 Halter Road, Kawartha Lakes, ON

Buckhorn Riding Academy
Lakefield, ON

Hope Ranch Retreat
Omemee, ON

Kildare Stables
Peterborough, ON

Partridge Horse Hill
Pontypool, ON

R&J Stables
Kirkfield, ON

Bethany, ON

Springwood Stables
Lindsay, ON

Stillbrook Riding Stables
Keene, ON

7 Pines Stables
Oakwood, ON

10 questions to ask when shopping for lessons

  1. What is the instructor-to-student ratio during lessons?
  2. What safety measures are in place to protect riders and horses?
  3. What qualifications and experience does the instructor have?
  4. Can I observe a lesson before committing to a package?
  5. Are there opportunities for riders to compete or participate in horse shows?
  6. What is the cancellation policy for lessons?
  7. Are there any additional fees or expenses not included in the lesson price?
  8. How are horses matched to riders based on skill level and experience?
  9. What is the procedure for scheduling lessons and reserving horse time?
  10. Are there any specific rules or guidelines I need to be aware of before starting lessons?

Take the reins and begin horseback riding in the Kawarthas

From improved physical fitness and cognitive function to enhanced emotional well-being and a newfound sense of adventure, horseback riding offers older adults a unique opportunity to embrace new experiences and live life to the fullest.

So don’t let age hold you back. Contact a Kawartha Lakes horseback riding farm today and saddle up.

Need an idea for a fun social outing with friends or family?

Check out our article “Book a lane at a Kawarthas bowling alley”.

Photo credit: Horse Illustrated