TES Get Active

11th June 2004 at 01:00
David Hart finds horse-riding in the Cumbrian fells is the perfect antidote to a stressful day

How do you keep fit?

I go horse-riding once or twice a week, for at least a couple of hours, often more.

What got you started?

I've always been reasonably active, but I only started riding in 1993 when I met my wife. She had ridden all her life and persuaded me to give it a try.

Why horse-riding?

We live at the bottom of one of the Cumbrian fells, so it's a fantastic way to make the most of the countryside. There are so many places to go, so many options. And I love horses - they're wonderful animals.

How do you make time?

I keep my weekends clear. If you do that, then you can always find time.

Have you felt the benefits?

When you're riding you can't afford to think about anything else, otherwise you could end up on your backside. That concentrates the mind, which means you escape other pressures. It's good physical exercise; when you canter or gallop you have to work hard.

Any downsides?

We have two horses of our own. Mucking out and cleaning the tack can be hard work, but it's rewarding. My wife takes care of it in the week and I do weekends. My members probably can't imagine me mucking out a stable, but it's true!

How active are your colleagues at NAHT headquarters?

They're a pretty fit bunch. I don't think we'd be far away from being able to put out a cricket team, though admittedly some of the players might be past their prime.

Healthy hint?

Make sure you get a reasonable amount of exercise on a regular basis. It does help to reduce stress. And it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do something.

David Hart, 63, is general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers. For tips and ideas on personal fitness go to: www.tes.co.ukgetactive

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