The average person burns 250-400 calories per hour horseback riding at a slow speed and 550-700 calories per hour riding at a faster speed such as a gallop.
How many calories are burned riding horses?
Calories burned per minute = (MET x body weight in Kg x 3.5) ÷ 200
“MET” is a measurement of the energy cost of physical activity for a period of time. You can find an activity’s MET on the chart above.
A task with a MET of 1 is roughly equal to a person’s energy expenditure from sitting still at room temperature not actively digesting food.
A task with a MET of 2 uses twice as much energy as a task with a MET of 1. A task with a MET of 10 uses 10 times as much energy as a task with a MET of 1.
MET values “do not estimate the energy cost of physical activity in individuals in ways that account for differences in body mass, adiposity, age, sex, efficiency of movement, geographic and environmental conditions in which the activities are performed. Thus, individual differences in energy expenditure for the same activity can be large and the true energy cost for an individual may or may not be close to the stated mean MET level as presented in the Compendium.” (as quoted from the main page of the Compendium of Physical Activities).
A person weighs 180 pounds (81.65kg) and plays polo on horseback (a task that has a MET value of 8.0) for 1 hour (60 minutes).
Calories Burned from polo on horseback (per minute) = (8 x 81.65 x 3.5) ÷ 200 = 11.43
Calories Burned from polo on horseback (for 60 minutes) = 11.43 x 60 = 686
Sources and External Resources
- Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Herrmann SD, Meckes N, Bassett Jr DR, Tudor-Locke C, Greer JL, Vezina J, Whitt-Glover MC, Leon AS. The Compendium of Physical Activities Tracking Guide. Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, College of Nursing & Health Innovation, Arizona State University. Retrieved May 11, 2015, from the World Wide Web.
- Arizona State University Healthy Lifestyles Research Center – Compendium of Physical Activities – Sports – Provides MET values for sporting activities, including horse sports.
- Learn about “MET” and the compendium of physical activities from Arizona State University, University or South Carolina, and Wikipedia. There is a summary of general physical activities defined by intensity from the CDC and the Harvard School of Public Health.
- Recommendations on physical activity for health from the Harvard School of Public Health and the WHO.
- Learn about the health benefits of horseback riding with “4 Ways to Harness the Fitness Benefits of Horseback Riding” by Alexis Bennett of BodyBuilding.com, “6 reasons why horse riding is great for your health” by the British Horse Society, “Why learn to horseback ride?” by Katherine Blocksdorf of The Spruce Pets, and “Horseback Riding for Fitness by Curb Ivanic of BC Living.