The luck of this earth lies on the back of the horses. This dreamy postcard cliche contains a lot of truth. But it doesn't tell anything about this sport: "Riding is not only happy, it also has a lot of positive effects on the body," says dr. Dietmar Krause, sports teacher from the German Green Cross e. In Marburg.
Riding, for example, helps maintain the health of the back. In the normal sitting posture on the horse, the hip joints and pelvis assume a position that relieves the intervertebral discs. At the same time, the back muscles are moved and built up. The holding apparatus is strengthened overall at low load. "Back pain is thereby optimally prevented," says Krause. By strengthening the muscles also improves their endurance. The posture becomes altogether more upright and healthier. In addition, both the coordination and the balancing ability are improved when riding.
Riding is an endurance sport. "That's why the heart and circulation also benefit from the exercise in the fresh air," Krause continues. Like no other sport, the animal also plays a decisive role in riding. Riding is only possible with a reliable partner. The relationship with the animal increases the fun factor and is both relaxing and exciting for many riders.
The positive effects on health are used in hippotherapy (Greek Hippos = the horse). Now, not everyone is fortunate enough to provide a home for a horse. "That is not necessary," says the Marburg sports educator. Riders and physiotherapists have long since recognized the opportunities of this sport. Hippotherapy has been offered for a few years now. This offer should be expanded and offered nationwide, according to the Marburg expert.
Promote and maintain health
As an initiative of the German Sports Federation (DSOB), instructors are trained in cooperation with the German Equestrian Federation (FN). Either riding instructors with the additional qualification "riding as a health sport" or physiotherapists who can ride horses and have acquired the additional qualification, riding as a health sport can have the goal of promoting good health and improving general well-being.
However, courses are also offered with a focus on the preservation of health despite age-related or disease-related symptoms such as rheumatism, osteoarthritis or metabolic diseases. Another alternative course is a preventive back course, which may be prophylactic or therapeutic. "As a rule, these are six-week equestrian and sports courses, for which the participants do not need any prior knowledge," explains Krause. The courses are suitable for every age group. The contents are tailored to the respective participants.