It’s no secret that spending time with our equine companions has so many benefits for our emotional well-being. Some of these include:
- Increased self-awareness, including a better understanding of how we are experienced by the world around us
- Improved relationships
- Improved mood and ability to self-regulate: Spending time with animals increases Serotonin, the “mood-enhancing” hormone
- The ability to work through traumas and stresses non-verbally
- A stronger sense of self-worth as we experience the unique “as is” acceptance that horses offer us
- An ability to “think outside ourselves” as we commune with a being that has no agenda, offering us unfiltered feedback and trust should we request and work for it
What an incredible opportunity for growth and inner wellness brought to us by our horse friends! What’s even more incredible is that horseback riding and time spent with horses offers us health benefits as well. Read on…
Let’s start with talking about mood briefly, even though that’s on the “emotional well-being” list. Stress is cited as the cause for 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits. In our society and culture, stress is everywhere and it’s killing us, literally. It goes without saying that spending time with horses, improving one’s mood and working through and decreasing stress levels, is definitely good for our physical health.
Improved Core Strength
This is a big area of need for many of us. Weak core strength can lead to back and neck problems, resulting in headaches, poor rest, and a myriad of structural problems. “Horseback riding is an isometric exercise, which means it uses specific muscles to stay in certain positions, in this case, keeping balanced on the horse.” Well said! Put simply, time spent on horseback increases core strength through the balance and posture strength necessary to stay in the saddle.
The posture we learn in the saddle will translate to our everyday lives as well. Again, this will have lasting benefits for our overall structural health.
It’s Just Good Exercise
Have you been on a trail ride lately? A couple of hours in the saddle and you will definitely “feel your body” later. Lots of muscles in our legs, glutes, back, arms, shoulders, abdomen, are working together to find rhythm with the horse’s gait. Horseback riding is definitely not about “just sitting there”. We may not be the ones doing the walking but our bodies are working nonetheless. Muscle tone improvement is an awesome health benefit of horseback riding. Good stuff!
Balance and Coordination
As we discussed previously, our bodies are (ideally) working in sync with our equine companions when we ride. As we learn to communicate with our hands and bodies with the horse, we are essentially in a “dance” with them. As the horse moves and turns, our bodies work together with theirs to maintain that connection and our seat in the saddle. We also learn to connect our brains to our hands and bodies in ways that are unique to being on horseback. As a result, balance and coordination are improved.
Lastly, there are a lot of health benefits to the “lifestyle” of being around horses that have nothing to do with riding. Mucking out stalls, throwing hay, moving tack, and pushing wheelbarrows full of “re-purposed hay” are great ways to get some exercise. The activity of caring for and serving these amazing creatures has awesome benefit for our emotional well-being also. It’s a win-win for everyone!
There you have it, even more reasons to get out of the house and spend time with a horse. We here at Red Moon Ranch can’t wait to see the glow on your face from time so well spent, both physically and mentally. We’ll see you at the ranch!