When thinking of horses helping humans, we tend to get side tracked thinking about farm work, horse and cart or even horse related sports. However, there are numerous health and wellbeing benefits that humans can gain from being around horses. Interacting with horses allows for a number of opportunities to learn, explore, and grow. Here are some of the ways that horses can improve the mental and physical health of humans…
Whether you are afraid of horses or not, being in charge of a horse that weighs close to 500kgs feels as though you can achieve anything. It allows you to be able to face a number of fears, no matter how trivial they may be, and gives you the confidence you will need to overcome these obstacles in life.
As you grow in confidence, your self-esteem levels will be naturally enhanced giving you a greater sense of achievement in everything you do.
As with many relationships we form with animals, its allows us to practice our social skills that we need to build relationships in life. The foundation of these relationships are built on trust, empathy, negotiation, compromise, and working together which is all learnt as you start riding your horse. It also allows for your communication skills to build up as you progress your riding ability.
Working with a horse requires some level of physical skill, however with the help of others this physical involvement can slowly progress over time as you become more confident. Riding a horse uses all areas of the body as well as requiring body awareness, balance, and coordination. This will allow you to train your body physically as well as mentally due to having to stay alert at all times – the horse is a flight animal and can instinctively react without you knowing.
Equine assisted therapy is becoming increasingly popular for patients suffering a range of conditions – from physical therapy to speech and mental health issues. These rehab sessions can consist of things as little as patting the horse or stroking them as this can decrease stress levels, create a calm environment, and reduce anxiety. In relation to physical rehabilitation, the rhythmic movement of horses assists heavily with motor and sensory problems.
Along with the number of ways horses are beneficial to the mental and physical wellbeing of humans, they also create a fun sense of community where people can come and connect to nature. Horses can help people with their everyday life skills as well as helping those in need of rehabilitation.