New York State Horse Council ...NYSHC

Vintage and Senior Riding

The New York State Horse Council encourages various recreational trail groups, legislators and trails planners to work together to provide trail access and trails for all equestrians, so they can pursue activities that will keep them healthy, active and fit for life. Many Senior Riders will continue to ride horses well into their sixties, seventies and even the eighties, particularly if trail opportunities exist close to their stables or farms. 
We are hearing more and more about getting out and keeping active to stay healthy as long as possible. As you may already know, the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health in 1996 stated that: 
"People of all ages can improve the quality of their lives through a lifelong proactive of pursuit of moderate physical activity.�
Horse owners and enthusiasts often choose physical and mental activities to evolve around the horse. These activities can range from grooming horses, mucking stalls, hauling bales of hay around, carrying water buckets, repairing fences, attending seminars on care and training or just spending time with their horse. Many volunteer at local rescue farms to assist with grooming and general horse care.
Horse back riding as a sport has been shown to bestow a multitude of therapeutic benefits on the riders. Some of these benefits include improved posture, balance and coordination, which is important in later years. The movements required by a rider to control a horse strengthens muscles and increases problem-solving skills. Concentration is improved and sensory awareness is heightened in the rider.
Horseback riding improves self-esteem, independence and confidence. The constant interaction required between horse and rider also tends to increase the riders' social skills. No man-made health machine on the market today has been able to duplicate all the physical, emotional, mental and social skills that develop and are put in constant use from riding a horse. This only goes to prove the age-old adage, "What 's good for the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person."
Our Land Managers and Legislators need to recognize that seniors are an important percentage of land and trail users. Recreation resources (such as trails) can provide an important opportunity for people to be physically active, which can lead to significant improvements in health. Physical activity on a regular basis can contribute to a decrease in the risk of numerous debilitating diseases and conditions. 
New York State Horse Council members who have acquired horse knowledge and experience through the bond they have formed with their horses should realize they are invaluable to using their "horsepower" to guarantee a future for horses in New York.
Seniors please volunteer your time to help the horse community get horse events organized and to educate our children to be involved in the horse experience. Even if you are no longer riding, your experience and help is needed. Our legislators need you to explain that the horse world we enjoy is our chosen form of recreation.
Keep active - get involved and continue to support the "horsepower" of New York State.

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