I am sure we can all agree that being around our horses makes us happier. But, it turns out, this relationship with your horse is not only good for your mental health, but your physical health as well.
Those of us that love horses would agree that they make our lives better and more full, but did you know that spending time with horses can actually change our brains! The bond between man and horse, and particularly the bond between women and horses, is a strong one. Have you ever met a little girl that didn't love horses? Probably not! It seems to be a natural attraction.
It has been established that the simple act of petting a horse releases endorphins, (feel-good hormones), that counteract the stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol. This change in hormones reduces stress-related health issues in humans such as insomnia, weight gain, depression, and anxiety.
Horses relate with people in a very raw and honest manner, completely attuned in the moment and because horses do not have an ego to filter their experience through, they can remain connected and fully present. Horses respond to your emotional and physical cues and they are capable of seeing things in you that you may not even be aware of in yourself. They can sense what is happening within you through your energy state which is expressed in your movement, breathing patterns, and posture.
Unfortunately in our modern life, we've lost touch with horses. When it comes to the modern human-equine bond, out of sight really is out of mind. It’s only in our modern society that we humans spend little time thinking about horses. But through most of our history, horses played a huge role in the human experience.
From warfare and land transportation to leisure and sport, horses have had an impact on the human race as early as the Neolithic Age, also known as the New Stone Age, which began in 10,200 B.C.
Horses are also used for therapy for people with ADD, anxiety, autism, dementia, delayed mental development, down syndrome, depression, trauma and brain injuries. Behavioral and abuse issues and many other mental health issues. Equine therapy is even recognized in the medical field in many countries.
There is no quick or easy way of building trust and a real connection with a horse. Good relationships take time. Remember that some horses have had positive experiences with humans, and some have not. Therefore, taking the time to develop this deeper connection can help you in understanding not only yourself, but your horse’s behavior as well.
Practice spending time with your horse in a quiet place where you can be still and present. Play with them and spend time just talking to them. Maybe spend some time just brushing them and touching them. You can take them for a walk to a water source or an area where you can just hang out and enjoy nature without having to do anything else other than listen to the sounds and take in the sights together. Your horse is a herd animal and thrives on herd activities like scratching each other and eating together.
All of these things build trust and a strong bond that will last a lifetime. It will also fulfill you and your horse in amazing ways and is a good outlet for the stressful and anxious lives we live.
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