In addition to the development of equestrian sports and the draw to competition, horse riding has also developed a more recreational and less violent version. As it is, recreation is not necessarily synonymous with sport, and may express quite the contrary. The motivation for this recreational practice reveals the desire for a return to nature, for a disconnection from daily life. As early as 1982, a survey showed that simple "contact with the horse" justified 90.3% of the motivation of new riders. This need for scenery, wide-open spaces and freedom is thus embodied in equestrian activities that were initially ignored: treks, work riding (western, Doma Vaquera, Camargue), equestrian tourism and natural horsemanship.
14 million people express a desire to ride.
TNS SOFRES survey on a sample of 30,000 households in France in 2006-2007
For fifteen years now, these riding styles have truly grown significantly, attracting new aficionados, with some coming from traditional disciplines (dressage, show jumping and three-day events). This proves a more leisurely, natural and friendly approach to horse riding, promoting relaxation rather than sport. Alone or in groups, with their own horses or the club's horses, recreational riders want to have fun above all else and enjoy a special relationship with the animal without subjecting themselves to the stress of competition and judgement.