“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man,” the wise words of Winston Churchill, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He knew the impact of horses on mental health before it was a popular topic to discuss.
There is no doubt there are numerous physical health benefits with horses.
Let’s take a look at their mental health benefits, too.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Horseback riding is a form of exercise. As you ride, your body releases endorphins which help decrease any stress or tension. They also act as listening partners to hear all your troubles and air out any negative energy.
Increased Self Esteem
As you go through your journey of working with horses, your confidence will boost as you do things you never thought you could. Running a 15-second barrel pattern, loping through pastures on a loose rein, turning a steer down the fence… the possibilities are endless on the back of a horse. You can’t help but feel confident on the back of 1200 pounds.
Increased Positive Thinking
Horses distract your mind from any negative thoughts. You are now focusing on caring for another creature. You fall in love with their soft muzzles and endless listening ears. You’ll soon find yourself more worried about them than what troubles you.
Creates Emotional Awareness
Horses are prey animals with flight or fight instincts. They read your emotions on the ground and in the saddle. When working with horses, you learn to regulate your emotions and understand your feelings for better outcomes. You’ll come through with better mental clarity for it, too.
When you’re around horses, you put your whole trust in them. They are big animals. You have to trust they will act in your best interest. As herd animals, they also bond. There is no better feeling in the world than a bond with a horse.
Happy riding and take care of yourselves, cowgirls!