I think my story is similar to many first time horse owners over 40. I’ve loved horses since I was 8, but didn’t have an opportunity to own one; so at 50+ years and with some time, money and determination to bring an old dream to life, I bought a horse. The story and dream grew to include 2 horses. I was so excited, but naïve about what it takes to look after and develop a safe and meaningful relationship with these magnificent and complex animals. I learned fast. Thank goodness horses are forgiving, mine especially so. I also met and learned from many experienced equestrians. Some were involved in endurance, trail riding, western show, others were working cowboys, farriers and veterinarians. I read words of wisdom from experts such as John Lyons, Monty Roberts, Pat and Linda Parelli, Carolyn Resnick, and Mark Rashid.
Along with a few bruises and softened ego, what I expected and dreamed about when I was 8, I was living. But, it was what I hadn’t dreamed about or expected that made the biggest impact in my life. My horses were helping me to live healthier and happier.
I think many of us who spend time with horses say that they have the ability to help us feel well, and equine experts and health professionals link these effects to horses’ natural way of being and the revolution in horsemanship.
I started to ask myself: What is it about horses that have this affect on us?
I started reading and exploring a whole aspect of my horses that I hadn’t considered. I’m amazed and appreciate horses so much more.
The Silver Lining
Horses offer so many gifts just by being who they are. They can show us how to:
You can notice these gifts in just about every encounter you have with a horse. You’ll find in the horse ‘one perfect package’. They are a living example of what great sages have told us and what health professionals tell us is an ideal healthy way of being. Horses are exceptional teachers.
I have discovered many researchers, practitioners, and organizations who are working hard to build a body of knowledge about how horses influence our potential for wellness. They are creating standards of practice for equine therapists, and standards for the care and wellbeing of the horses. All of this work is aimed at providing safe and effective therapeutic services that promote wellness. The services offered are known as hippotherapy, equine assisted therapy, therapeutic riding, equine facilitated therapy, equine psychotherapy, and equine assisted learning. This therapy is gaining recognition as an effective additional and alternative therapy for people with chronic physical and mental health conditions. Horses also provide excellent learning opportunities in areas such as leadership and relationships.
It’s certainly a bigger and better dream than I imagined. In December 2010, I created a blog to explore this aspect of horses that often goes unnoticed. You can find me at BeWellWithHorses.com
I'd love to hear your stories about how horses helped you live healthier and happier.