Throughout time, horses were used for work and labor. They have always been a symbol of hard work. But as industrialization gripped the world, horses found themselves unable to compete with gas-fueled and electronic cars. Today, we see horses used in tourist sites, carrying travelers who like to experience being in a horse-drawn carriage. They’re either for leisure, entertainment, or social status. Couples use horse-drawn carriages in their weddings and the Central Park in New York uses horses as a form of extraordinary experience they sell to tourists.
In the society and sporting world, horses are for the rich and famous. The royalty such as Princes William and Harry played polo. The sons and daughters of multibillionaires receive ponies as gifts when they’re little kids. It’s almost akin to receiving a dog as a birthday present for regular folks. They then grow up to compete as equestrians and polo players. Many will forget about these beloved horses and leave them to the care of their ranch employees.
But while horses seemed to be a status symbol in many societies, what a lot of people don’t understand about them is the physical and mental health benefits they provide. Admittedly, taking care of horses and spending time with them is not the least bit cheap. If you do have a big space to accommodate them and the money to buy at least one, you’ll need to look into some trailer supply stores that can rent out a trailer for the transportation of the horse.
The investment you make in a horse is going to pay off. Whether you buy one or visit a stable regularly to ride on one doesn’t matter. Horses have this strange positive impact on your well-being.
Relieves Stress, Reduces Risks of Depression
Stress is so prevalent in today’s society. The pressure to do good and be better than anyone else can become exhausting. The past year was even more stressful because of the health threat that coronavirus poses. Then, there’s also the matter of your financial stability—your employment or business. Stress never stops. There seems to be a new source of stress that people discover eventually.
A study in the United Kingdom, however, found that people who spend time with horses are more able to deal with stressful situations. They are less likely to fall into anxiety and depression. People who ride horses for leisure are shown to be more stable emotionally. They are happier and generally have a more positive outlook in life. The study also found out that people can get more depressed the longer they go without riding.
Beneficial for Children with Developmental Problems
Another health benefit of horseback riding and spending time with horses is on children with developmental problems such as autism and attention deficit hyperacidity disorder (ADHD). Some special education schools actually take children to horse stables so that they can spend time with the animals. They let them care for the horses, teaching the kids about responsibility and patience. The activity also lowers their behavioral problems, especially for kids who tend to get violent when they have to cope.
Helps with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
It’s not just for children with behavioral problems that horses are beneficial. People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), especially soldiers who have just gotten back from wars and catastrophes, can also spend more time with horses to relieve them of symptoms from these traumatic incidences. These programs are successful, studies showed, in helping soldiers adjust to a new environment.
Prisoners are also benefiting from spending time with horses or riding them when they can. New programs are being launched to help inmates adjust to a new world. Plus, the organizers of these programs also said that inmates who spend time with horses are happier and have a better acceptance of their situations.
Get Physical Exercise from Riding
Finally, aside from the emotional and psychological health benefits of horseback riding, it is also a good way to burn calories and strengthen your core muscles. Riding a horse is a good cardiovascular exercise. Plus, you can burn as much as 600 calories per ride, and that’s just when the horses trot moderately. Imagine how many calories you can burn if it’s a full-on sprint.
As an addition to burning calories, horseback riding will also strengthen your core muscles and work out your inner thighs and pelvic muscles. There aren’t many exercise routines that can work out these many areas of your body. Horseback riding will also practice your posture and balance.
Horses bring many benefits to the people that spend time with them. Whether it’s physical or mental, the benefits are well-documented, and they have a significant impact on your health that other activities or regimen cannot replicate. Horses are your friends, morale booster, therapist, and teacher.