At one time or another, we all wonder: How many calories does horseback riding burn?

You probably love horses if you are here. Perhaps you are looking for a way of burning calories and getting fit without having to drag yourself to the gym every day.

You wouldn’t believe how hard riding is. Although you might have known this when you rode the stubborn mare and couldn’t get your legs moving, you don’t probably know how much.

My boyfriend had never ridden before I met him. I would be teased by him about the fact that riding was not a sport and how the horse did all of the work. It was almost a deal-breaker, I’m sorry.



Finally, I persuaded him to try it at least once before he got so ragged about it.

Because he was stiff after his first trail ride, he couldn’t walk the next day.

To know you have a good workout, all it takes is an hour of riding after having not been in the saddle for awhile. Let me tell you, the soreness is real!

Even though I’m a regular rider, I can still start to sweat and feel the difference if it’s something new.

You can do it every once in awhile on vacation or you just want to learn. If you are competing, horseback riding can be a great way to get fit.

You can lose weight and burn lots of calories by riding. You can tone your legs, bum and abs while riding.



You have just found the perfect workout for your favorite hobby.

Is this too good to be true! Let me explain how.

Calorie Count Breakdown: Horseback riding: How many calories do you burn?

If you are looking to lose weight and tone your body, even just an hour riding a horse can be very beneficial. Although it may seem unbelievable, sitting on a horse can make you slim. Still don’t believe me? This amazing news is backed by science.

A study by AgriLife Today was published in the International Journal of Exercise Science. It asked this exact question: How many calories can you burn riding horses?



Horseback riding can be a very effective and enjoyable way to exercise. The study showed that riding can have a positive effect on the primary functions of our bodies, including respiratory and cardiac health.

Horse riding can be exhausting for even the most avid riders, like me.

How many calories can you lose horse riding?



Horse riding is just like other sports and exercises. The exact amount of calories you can burn depends on your weight, riding style and how much you ride.

Calorie Counts

Cantering a horse for an average 150-pound woman can help burn up to 93 calories per hour.

You can burn up to 74 calories per hour if you ride the trot.

You can burn 57 calories if you ride at the walk for 10 minutes. You can still lose more calories even if your mare is stubborn.

You can eat up to 384 calories per hour in a matter of 10 minutes. It’s crazy.

These are the results you won’t see on an elliptical. You deserve a big kudos for all the riding you did for fun.

The key to a strong leg muscles is the leg muscles

You must do it correctly to make it effective, just like with any other exercise. You will not see the results you want. Let me show you how horseback riding could help you improve your health.

Contrary to popular belief, horses do not perform all the work when you are riding.

Your body should engage every muscle in the exercise. Your primary tools for burning calories are your legs.



Our thighs are what help us stay on the horse when we ride. They are our stabilizing force around horses’ trunks, helping us to keep going.

Your heels should be pointing towards the ground, and your entire posterior chain including your glutes and hamstrings should be activated.

Horseback riding is a great way to burn calories. Keep your heart rate high.

Don’t settle for just walking your horse. Try trotting, cantering, and galloping! You and your horse will both increase their heart rate, which can help you burn more calories.

Many people with joint problems are unable to run or jog. They can still go horse riding. One of these people is me. My L5/S1 disc has herniated. Ouch, right? Many doctors told me to stop riding, but I wouldn’t listen. Not a chance!

It was easy to keep my muscles engaged, especially my abs. This is crucial for stability. I was able to ride without pain.



You are missing out on an effective way to control your horse’s body.

If you are involved in dressage, this technique is essential!

You’ll end up fumbling around on the saddle and banging your tail bone against the saddle. This is very bad for a herniated disc, in case you weren’t aware.

Some people don’t like running, but love riding horses. Perhaps some of you can relate. If you’re one of these people, don’t worry. Horse riding is THE best exercise for you.

Additional Health Benefits

Aside from keeping you slim, horseback riding brings a ton of health benefits for you and your horse.

Your body releases endorphins (or “happy hormones”) when you exercise.

These hormones provide a feeling of happiness and help to reduce pain.

Serotonin, another hormone that is great for your health, is produced during any exercise. This causes weight loss and a reduction in appetite.

Horse riding is a great way to strengthen your core and leg muscles. This will help your body to cope with tiredness and worn-out muscles.

Horseback riding can also help regulate blood flow and improve cardiac health.

Finally, horseback riding proved to be a great motivator for me in improving my ankle flexibility. You can read more about how and why I did it.

It’s amazing how many people suffer from poor ankle flexibility after sitting at a desk all day. This can lead to serious problems for your back and knees.



Others consider riding their horse as their form of meditation and therapy. I feel calmer and more peaceful when I ride horses. Most riders find it therapeutic.

Horses also benefit from riding! Not only are humans able to enjoy riding, but so is everyone else. Your riding companion will love your exercise routine.

Horses get enough exercise by riding regularly. It helps strengthen the horse’s bones and muscles. It also helps improve their lung and heart health. Your horse’s muscle mass can be increased by riding. This will help to prevent diabetic complications and improve insulin sensitivity.

Your horse will be happy if he’s well-executed. Even horses can get anxious and stressed. Horses can release some stress and anxiety through riding or exercise. Rider and horse form a strong bond through riding.

All the other benefits that I listed, horseback riding seems like one of the most effective workouts.

You are also burning fat!

Well obviously…but I just thought it deserved to be said 🙂

Have you ever seen a professional horse riding team that is overweight? Let me know if you have, I haven’t yet. They are all very lean, in fact. Unfortunately, I am not yet at this level because I cannot ride as much as I would prefer, but I am getting there.



Let’s sum it all: Horseback riding is a sport. Don’t believe anyone who claims otherwise!

Many people ride horses once in a while and then stop riding. Horse riding can help you lose weight if done correctly and on a regular basis. Horse riding is a great way to burn fat. It is important to take horse riding seriously.

You are less likely than if you sit on a horse and do nothing but walk around the stable, to lose weight. Horse riding can be a great way to lose weight.

You will lose weight if you ride your horse a lot.

You don’t need another reason to ride horses!

You don’t have to worry; I have more. Horseback riding can also be a great way to improve your mental health. You can read more about it here: Why Horseback Riding is Therapeutic.

You’ll soon become addicted to riding if you’re anything like most people who begin to ride. It’ll be all you want to do. I find riding better is a great motivator to improve my strength and flexibility.

Here is a post that I wrote about how to get fit for horseback riding. Exercise Guide for Horseback Riding

There are no excuses for being lazy when you read all about the health benefits of horse riding.

What are you waiting? Get out there and ride!