Our relationships with animals are special. That’s why we feel that dogs are our best friends. That’s why we try to connect with animals in any way we can. We take care of fishes in large aquariums. We visit the zoo to see the lions and tigers. We treat dogs as children. We see cats as reflections of ourselves. But most of us don’t have the opportunity to get to know horses better when, in fact, these animals have a similar family system as ours.
The herd dynamics of horses are similar to people. The moment you hold the horse reins, you’ll feel a connection that doesn’t exist with other animals. Horses are social beings. They love spending time with their humans. As sophisticated animals, they bond with you immediately as if you’re a member of their herd family.
Have you ever tried to look at a horse’s eyes? You’ll immediately feel a sense of calm wash over you. Many teenagers are advised to spend time with horses because they are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression when they do. A study suggests that teenagers are most especially affected by their relationships with horses. Yes, they benefit more from bonding with horses than their pet dogs. Can you imagine that?
A separate study shows that spending time with horses makes people more self-aware. They develop their sense of leadership, and they empathize with how others feel. Horses are not that much dependent on their caretakers the way dogs are. If you let them run around the track, they won’t even bother you. Some of them are born leaders. They lead the pack. People have so much to learn from horses, especially when it comes to non-verbal communication.
Promote Physical and Emotional Growth
Have you heard of equine therapy? It’s an experiential therapy that promotes the physical and mental health of people after being involved in activities with horses and other equines. The use of this therapy dates back to the 1960s when scientists believed that people could benefit from the physical and mental activities of taking care of horses.
A 2011 study confirmed these claims. Horse-related activities can help people suffering from health problems such as high blood pressure, stress, depression, and anxiety. Simply mucking the stalls can help people who need physical activity improve their health. It’s a form of moderate exercise that can aid people suffering from obesity, for example.
Helps People with Alzheimer’s Disease
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of spending time with horses can be found in people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. As their condition deteriorates, they find themselves changing their personalities. They are moodier and feel withdrawn from their families. This stems from the fact that they are losing control over their own body and memory.
Horses can be the best therapists. Why spend a hundred bucks per hour for a therapy session when you can do it for a lower price in horse stables? Many would want to pay you to take care of their horses, so it’s a win-win situation. Just prepare to fall in love with these gentle giants, though.