Published on September 12, 2023

How Horse Therapy Can Help With Mental Health

Horses are the most loyal human companions that have been with us for thousands of years. All these years we’ve formed a bond with these incredible creatures to a point where being around them is like therapy for us.

Being around horses and riding them has a whole range of benefits for humans. We all know that horseback riding is a physically demanding activity that activates many muscles in our body, but did you know that horse riding also has a lot of mental health benefits?

Yes, you read that right! Riding a horse is a relaxing activity and being in nature adds its bonus. You don’t have to be a pro rider or qualify for the Breeders’ Cup 2023 to get these benefits though. Even horse riding beginners see the positive impact on their mental health from the first ride.

Since we live in a world where people constantly suffer from mental health issues, maybe horseback riding is the answer!

In today’s article, we will take a much deeper look at horse therapy and find out why it is beneficial for our mental health.

What’s the Deal with Equine Therapy, Anyway?

Okay, so how does hanging out with horses actually help with mental health? 

Equine therapy, also known as horse-assisted therapy, is like a magical bond between humans and horses. 

It involves various activities like grooming, feeding, and riding. Horses have an uncanny knack for reflecting our emotions without judgment, creating a space where mental health healing can take place.

Therefore, the equine therapy is actually quite effective for most people.

Building Bridges with Big Hearts

Having someone to trust, especially big bests like horses gives you confidence and makes you feel good.

Imagine this: You and a horse, sharing a moment of silence. No words, just pure connection. 

This is a part of horse riding that cannot be explained with words and you just have to try it to see its benefits. All horse riders will agree that the connection with their horse is sometimes stronger than any other human connection, although there is no exchange of words.

Horses have this incredible ability to pick up on our vibes, which makes them the perfect companions for mental health recovery. It’s like having a four-legged therapist who’s fluent in the language of emotions.

Boosting Confidence and Ego

Horses are like the ultimate judges of character. They respond positively to confidence, assertiveness, and a dash of calmness. Through activities like leading a horse or going for a ride, individuals can boost their self-esteem and confidence. It’s like a confidence-building boot camp with a furry twist.

Confidence is one of the main factors that can boost your morale and improve your mental health. After all, handling these big creatures alone will make you feel like a superhuman and give you a huge confidence boost.

Bye-bye stress, Hello Zen Moments

The mere presence of horses has a calming effect. Seriously, just being around them can send your stress and anxiety packing. 

Plus, the rhythmic motion of horseback riding mimics the soothing rocking of a cradle, triggering those relaxation responses in your brain. It’s like a natural stress-relief spa day but with a bonus of horse emotions and adrenaline.

Mindfulness 101 with Equine Professors

Horse therapy encourages mindfulness—the art of being present in the moment. When you’re with a horse, you can’t be thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list. 

This is actually quite important, especially at times like these where we are constantly targeted by news, social media content, and the internet all together making us feel anxious all the time.

This mindfulness practice helps individuals become more self-aware, understand their own emotions better, and live in the now. It’s like a mindfulness crash course, led by a wise and patient teacher.

Emotionally Speaking: Horses Get It

Horses teach us that emotions are as natural as hay in a stable. In therapy sessions, individuals can openly explore their feelings, and by doing so, they learn how to regulate their emotional responses

It’s like having a non-judgmental partner in emotional exploration, who also happens to have a mane.

Finding Purpose in Hay and Horses

Taking care of a horse means commitment and responsibility. For many, this sense of purpose can be a powerful motivator. 

It gives individuals a reason to get out of bed in the morning, head outdoors, and connect with the world. It’s like having a living, breathing reason to embrace each day.

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