Sir Winston Churchill said “There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.” The animals were initially used by humans over 6,000 years ago as means of transportation or “beasts of burden.” As we evolved as humans, we began to not only realize the benefits that horses have to offer but also began to implement them. What are the benefits of interacting with horses physically, mentally, spiritually and otherwise?
The natural physical benefits that accompany riding a horse strengthen your core muscles, improve your posture, and has been rated as a “moderate intensity” exercise. In addition, your balance and hand-eye coordination will improve over time in the saddle.
Horses are immensely physically beneficial to children that are otherwise limited in their mobility. They are afforded the experience of feeling themselves moving through space in motion with the horse in a manner which closely mimics a person’s natural gait.
No matter your physical condition, riding a horse will help improve your posture. As one rides a horse, they will often hear “look up!” This will encourage your body to use its strong legs and soft hands.
Horses are known to have a calm manner about them. Because horses are prey animals, they are highly attuned to not only the environment around them but also the emotions of the people they are near. This makes them wonderful therapy animals.
The general atmosphere of a horse is beneficial to one’s state of mind. Not only are you surrounded by nature and fresh air, there is almost always a feeling of excitement that accompanies riding a horse. As a person continues to ride a horse and build a one-on-one relationship, the horse will actually begin to consider him or her a part of their herd. This means that the horse will begin looking to the human for cues about how to behave. Horses are naturally very social animals, so this relationship is one of a kind and truly unique.
Even if you are not riding a horse, the act of taking care of a horse is good for your mental state. Horses must be fed, watered and cleaned like any other animal, but with more care. This helps to create a solid sense of responsibility and routine for anyone working with horses, from child to senior citizen. Interacting with horses is scientifically proven to lower stress levels.
When Winston Churchill noted that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man, he was truly onto something. Humans continue to find horses more and more useful, both physically and emotionally. If you’ve never worked with horses, get out there and try! You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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