The health benefits of horse riding have long been recognised for keeping us fit and active. But that’s not the only thing! Horse riding can be extremely good for our mental health and overall well-being! In fact, equine therapy is a popular therapeutic exercise. It encourages the interaction between people and horses as a means to address emotional, psychological and even behavioural distress.
In fact, during treatment, I was even involved with equine therapy at my local equestrian facility. Through things like grooming, meditation exercises and even riding, individuals are encouraged to connect with the horse and use its calming energy. This helps us to develop trust, work through emotional issues and improve our overall sense of self.
Discover The Holistic Health Benefits of Horse Riding.
While we all may think about certain hobbies benefiting the mind, body, and soul as home-based activities, getting out of the house and into nature is always worth the investment. Horse riding and equine therapy are one of those things! It’s not only unique but also a rewarding hobby that offers a number of benefits.
There is something very unique about the relationship between a horse and a person. It’s a very useful tool for children because it involves so many aspects of care. Taking care of a horse involves feeding, grooming, and overall horse management. There are the little things that people may not necessarily consider up front, whether it’s finding the best leather horse bridles that make the horse more comfortable or the right food. Responsibility is something that we can all fine-tune, and when we learn the sense of duty towards the well-being of another, we can benefit from a number of amazing life lessons.
It’s important to remember that horse riding can be a very unpredictable practice because horses have their own personality. As we learn to ride a horse, we need to understand how to build a relationship with the horse and foster a strong emotional bond. This means that gradually we need to learn the right communication skills to interact with the horse, but we also need to understand how to handle different situations during riding.
The Physical Benefits.
Horse riding is physically demanding. It’ll engage so many different muscle groups because we need to have a strong core, the right posture, and balance and coordination. As we learn to get better at riding horses, we can start participating in more active riding styles, which also give an amazing cardiovascular workout. Holding the reins and guiding the horse are just two aspects of an amazing workout.
And let’s not forget about those feel-good endorphins! These are also known as our ‘happy hormones’ and can contribute to improved mood and a reduction of negative feelings within the mind and body.
The Outdoor Benefits.
We all look for hobbies that we can do indoors, but it’s so important to get outside. Horse riding allows riders to connect with nature. In addition to the vitamin D we can get while horse riding, we can enjoy the fresh air and wide-open spaces, and this can have numerous benefits for our well-being.
We’ve talked about being outdoors and one with nature before on the blog. So it’s no surprise that trotting along a horse trail, or around a ranch can help improve our mood.
Learning Patience and Perseverance.
Working with horses and developing those essential skills doesn’t happen overnight. Because horses are unpredictable with their own personalities, we’ve got to remember that gradual improvement is the goal, no matter how small and incremental it may be. We might not have the physical strength to control the horse, or even the confidence when we first start. And, as an intelligent and empathic animal, the horse will immediately pick up on these shortcomings. Therefore, we must understand how our little insecurities can impact our skills and have the patience to improve.
On the subject of confidence, let’s talk about how horse riding could help improve yours. Self-confidence is often forgotten about when talking about the benefits of horse riding. But it takes a lot of control and self-assurance to control such a large, powerful animal as a horse. Imagine the self-esteem boost when you master it. And, as mentioned, the horse will pick up on this too!
The Multitude Of Cognitive Benefits.
There’s a reason why equine therapy is becoming so popular. If you’re looking for a way to manage your stress, boost confidence, engage in recovery or anything else, there is a lot we can learn from horse riding. It’s a lifelong practice for many, and spending time with horses can give us the opportunity to disconnect from daily life and be present in the moment.
Horse riding has long since been recognised for its effect on mental health and the potential to aid in recovery from things like addiction and eating disorders. But here are just a few specific ways horse riding benefits the mind.
- Stress Reduction: By spending time outdoors with horses, we’re better able to manage our stress. How? Horses are calming animals by nature, and the rhythmic trot of horse riding has a somewhat soothing effect on the mind. I find it similar to running in that the repeated motion helps to calm an otherwise chaotic brain. Then there is the aforementioned escape into nature and endorphin release associated with horse riding.
- Mindfulness and Presence: Horse riding requires us to remain focused on the now, rather than the past or the future. This can help take our minds off our worries, anxieties and even intrusive thoughts.
- Connection and Companionship: In order to become a strong horse rider, you need to be able to build a bond with the horse. Horses require trust, time, attention, respect and open communication. If a horse doesn’t trust you, you’ll soon know about it! Spending time building such a connection can give us a sense of companionship and reduce feelings of loneliness.