How Many Calories do you Burn Riding a Horse?

Did you know that you can burn off several calories just by horseback riding?

Indeed, if you’re a fitness freak, owning a horse comes as a bonus. How? Because it helps you shed some stubborn body fat!

Horseback riding is great exercise. Not only in terms of weight loss but also for body toning, muscle strengthening, and mastering the sport. Moreover, activities pertaining to caring for your house also count as an exercise in itself.

For instance, walking courses, mucking out, heaving hay and calories burned grooming horse all contribute to building muscle.

But, you might be wondering:

How Many Calories Do You Actually Burn While Horseback Riding?

Riding on a walking-trotting-cantering horse can burn up to 200 calories. Whereas, strenuous activities like reining and cutting can help you shed around 7 calories per minute.

But if you want exact figures, you can get hold of a horseback riding calculator. Though, figures may vary.

Factors Affecting the Calories Burnt While Horse Riding

Nevertheless, more important than the actual number are the factors that are likely to affect the calorie count. These include the following:

Different Types of Horse Riding

Horseback riding can be done in various styles and paces. Consequently, this directly impacts the amount of calories you’ll be burning.

For instance, activities like trail riding, barrel racing, show jumping and team penning require different amounts of energy. Hence, the calories burnt will be affected according to the rider’s effort.

Similarly, if you are using your horse for leisure riding, you need to understand that trotting helps burn more calories as compared to walking.

Age & Weight

Your age, along with your current weight, also, highly impacts how many calories you’ll burn through horse riding. The older and bulkier you are, the more calories you’ll tend to burn off. This is because the horse will not be doing all the walking, trotting or galloping alone. The rider will be putting in equal efforts by flexing their muscles to stay in rhythm with the equine’s movements. Understandably, more calories will shed off when there is a greater mass to support against gravity.

On the contrary, a younger, more energetic person will be able to cope up with the exertion of horseback riding, easily. This will result in fewer calories burnt.

Duration of Activity

The duration you engage in horse riding is another important factor that determines how many calories you burn. Undoubtedly, the more time the horse is trotting, or galloping, the more the rider will have to exert energy in keeping his balance. The same applies to the pace of the horse, i.e. rigorous activities will lead to burning more calories.

What Does Science Say?

Today, obesity and other health risks associated with sedentary lifestyles are on a constant rise. The only thing that has scientific significance in playing a crucial role in preventing such diseases is exercise. In fact, there are several activities, such as running, jogging, cycling, etc., that help you stay fit. That too, without sticking to a rigorous fitness routine. Similarly, horseback riding, too, holds excellent potential to help burn unnecessary calories.

As per research published in the International Journal of Exercise Science, horseback riding that involves high-intensity activities results in increased total energy expenditure. This includes cantering, reining, and long trots. The study was carried out to identify the energy exerted by the participants of different riding events, in real-time. It was, thus, proved that in order to gain optimal health benefits, riders should accumulate such activities into a weekly horse riding exercise routine.

Furthermore, as per the study, horseback riding serves as a perfect alternative for those who are unable to perform other calorie-burning activities such as jogging due to joint pains.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still wondering to what extent does horse riding help you lose weight? The following questions may help resolve your unanswered queries in a simplified manner. Have a look!

How many calories do you burn horse riding for 2 hours?

According to most horseback riding calculators, an individual burns approximately 250 to 400 calories on average. This happens when riding at a slow speed. On the other hand, speedier activities like galloping tend to burn 550 to 700 calories per hour. This way, in 2 hours, you are likely to burn around 500 to 800 calories when horseback-riding slowly.

Riding faster is likely to burn 1100 to 1400 calories.

Is riding a horse good exercise?

Horse riding is more popular as a leisure activity, but it definitely counts as a good exercise, too. In fact, the sport serves as a complete body workout. You need to move your arms and legs together according to the horse’s movement to keep your balance. Hence, the physical effort exerted during the activity helps in improving your overall health and fitness level.

How does horse riding help burn calories?

Horseback riding is an excellent workout regimen that stimulates our body’s primary functions. It also impacts cardiac and respiratory health. However, the sport does not burn as many calories as a regular workout would. Despite this, it raises your heart rate enough to efficiently burn off excess fat from your body. All your core muscles come into action to fortify coordination, balance, and stability which eventually helps in burning the calories.

Does horse riding give abs?

Basically, horseback riding enhances muscle tone and strength. Riders engage their core muscles in order to stay upright and protect their spine. Since you’ll be using your lower back, obliques, and abs to keep a comfortable balance throughout the ride, you are likely to build well-toned abs with regular riding.

Just remember, the sport requires utmost patience. Whether you’re learning it as a new skill, or incorporating it in your fitness regime.

Does horse riding count as cardio?

Horse riding is not only great for muscle toning. It is also a fun way to do your cardio workout. With all that movement of your core muscles, you’re obviously going to get your pulse-rate high and lose calories. In fact, just an hour of horseback riding is bound to burn off around 600 calories. It will improve your metabolism, as well.

Rest assured that your cardiac health will be taken care of pretty well through occasional horse riding.


Horseback riding is not only a great outdoor sport but also an effective calorie burner. It is important to not get carried away with the idea of implementing it in your daily weight-loss regime. When it comes to horseback riding vs walking, the latter tops as the healthier option to practice regularly.

And remember, weight loss takes time. You can’t completely rely on calories burned from riding horse for it. Rather, your focus should be on practising the sport in moderation. Simultaneously, follow a proper fitness routine and diet plan. You surely wouldn’t want to injure yourself with excessive horseback riding, would you?

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