I received a Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue the other day. How I ended up on their mailing list is a topic in itself. Anyway, I was going through the catalogue and stopped in surprise and amusement when I came to page 11.
There was an exercise machine referred to as "The Mechanical Core Muscle Trainer." It was comprised of a seat that greatly resembled an English saddle, with foot rests shaped like stirrups. The text describing the exerciser stated: "This is the low-impact mechanical exerciser that gently and thoroughly concentrates on developing strength in the thigh, back, abdominal, and other core muscles...." It explains the exercise routine as: "...gently tilting back and forth, left and right in preprogrammed sequences...The gentle swaying of the saddle forces the core body muscles to expand and contract, keeping you upright in a relaxed sitting position which helps develop important muscle structure for good posture."
Sounds like riding to me.
But wait, there's more: "The exercise routines also provide a beneficial aerobic workout ideal for those who need to maintain low target heart rates."
Aha! Here it is: "...the slow workout that simulates the gentle motion of riding a horse at a light gait."
The mechanical horse, er, Core Muscle Trainer can be yours for $1,499.95 plus $75 for additional shipping charge.
All the benefits of riding a horse minus trudging out to the muddy pasture to catch your mount, hefting tack to the grooming area, eating hair as you brush your shedding horse, and minus the farrier and vet bills.
To each their own. Personally, I like the soft muzzle frisking me for treats, the sense of oneness when we finally get a connected shoulder-in, the awe of coming face to face with a deer while out on the trail.
I'll take the hay-burner over the Mechanical Muscle Trainer any day. Although I'll have second thoughts on those days when we have horizontal rain.