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Horses and Mental Health

This is a discussion on Horses and Mental Health within the Rider Wellness forums, part of the The Horse Forum Community category

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        01-21-2013, 11:54 AM
      #11
    Foal
    I've found that it's not only the hours I spend on my horse, but the hours after that I can't wipe a smile off my face.

    A few years back I went through a traumatic time with horses. It left me with nightmares and hours of daily crying and my mind was always going back to the event.
    This went on for a nearly 5 years.
    Then, I moved onto this property where there was a mare all alone, abandoned and in need of some care. I got her fixed up and started some rehab~ not knowing I was also rehabbing myself. The mare has become my soul mate. My nightmares are gone and so are the hours crying and anxiety.
    She's proof that horses heal hearts.

    2 hours on my horse is a lot cheaper than 2 hours at a therapists....and a LOT more fun!
         
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        01-22-2013, 06:28 AM
      #12
    Foal
    Horses absolutely help my mental health. Even the simplest things, like having a routine with them - getting up in the morning to let them out of the stables, locking them in for dinner at night, is extremely beneficial to my personal mental health.

    They always listen when you need to chat, my mare is extremely cuddly and loves to be hugged and cuddled when I feel down. Riding is a great stress relief. There is nothing better than going for a nice canter on the trails after a stressful time. Its also good for me to have goals so I have something to work towards and feel a sense of achivement when I complete them. I need to control my emotions around the horses also, as they react to my body language if I am anxious or upset. They really do help me to stay healthy mentally.
    prairiewindlady likes this.
         
        03-02-2013, 07:54 PM
      #13
    Foal
    Nothing cures an anxiety attack faster than hugging a horse. Red knows when I feel crappy, and instead of asking "Are you ok? What's wrong? Why are you upset?" he just puts his big head against my chest and lets me rest my head on his. :)
         
        03-03-2013, 12:15 AM
      #14
    Trained
    Hmmm lets see. 20+ years of depression, a few $1,000 worth of therapy and useless drugs that make your mouth dry all providing no relief whatsoever.

    OR

    Get horse, instant happiness, each day better than the last.

    Yes, horse's are great for mental health.
    Celeste and Catpeedontherug like this.
         
        03-03-2013, 06:44 PM
      #15
    Trained
    Horses are good for mental and physical health. They get me out of the house and off the couch. I will get up and take care of my horses when I am too depressed to get up just for the sake of exercise.
         
        03-03-2013, 06:58 PM
      #16
    Foal
    Horses get me out of bed on weekends, rather than turning into a slug-a-bed.

    I came to horses late in life. But they are better than any therapist and definitely better than any medication.

    I read somewhere recently that building trust is what creates a healthy outlook on life. And the article's sources reached into biochemistry: something about anti-oxidants, etc. So it was more than a feel good article: truly trying to understand the biochemistry of the healthy outlook.

    At any rate, what is riding but building trust between rider and horse?

    And what is the message of the modern life but that one can't trust anyone or anything?

    So lately the thought running through my head has been that "no wonder horses are so good for one mentally and spiritually."
    JaphyJaphy likes this.
         
        03-08-2013, 09:41 PM
      #17
    Weanling
    I think that horses are the best therapy for any condition, whether physical or mental. I can say with certainty that I would not have made it after my father passed when I was 14, especially since my mother nearly greived herself to death a few months later. Without my horse, I don't know what I would have done. He made everything better while I was with him. In that time I was a normal kid, with no worries, and a childhood. But as soon as I entered the house it was all stress all of the time. My mothers weakness weighed heavely on me and my brother, and my horse was my escape. Without them, I don't know what would have happened to me. That was 22 years ago, and they are still my sanity and reason for being here, without them life isn't whole
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        03-08-2013, 11:00 PM
      #18
    Foal
    Horses are fantastic therapy! Every day that I go to the barn is a calming, relaxing, stimulating, positive and enriching experience. Horses don't care how you look, how much you weigh, what your hair looks like, what size breeches you're in, if you're wearing the most expensive equipment or if you still have sleepers in your eyes during an early morning ride. They are non-judgmental and when you gain a horse's trust and respect, it means more than anything in the world.

    I've done some research on equine therapy programs and even though there are many in my area, I find that just helping out at my trainers barn, riding 2x a week and spending as much time with her horses as I can is probably doing me just as much good as going to a formal program!

    I started volunteering at an equine therapy type center right next to my barn called "Taking the Reins". It's a program that helps young girls who are under served in the community to learn responsibility, leadership, friendship and confidence through working with horses, riding them, caring for them and learning about them in an equine science class. In just a few weeks I've seen a couple of girls who were terrified of riding actually posting at the trot and loving it!

    Horses have taught me to slow down and not speed up and do everything so fast. They taught me to have faith in myself and to put my needs aside to make sure that the horse has what it needs to be comfortable, safe and happy. I get just as much out of playing with the horses in turnout as I do riding, as I do grooming them up. Their energy and spirit is so healing and uplifting.

    Horses are definitely therapy. One of their many talents!!
         
        03-08-2013, 11:56 PM
      #19
    Trained
    Bipolar and sometimes depressed here. I become a nightmare if I don't get to see my horses. An absolute nightmare. I'm talking a raging, crying, mess. I just cannot function. There is no doubt if I didn't have my horses, two years ago when I was extremely suicidal I probably would have killed myself. Instead I got pushed harder and the focus and joy I got from working with the horses and getting the opportunity to apprentice under my wonderful trainer who I grew up with has changed my view on everything.

    Even people are easier to deal with for me. If someone doesn't like me, I just think "Hey, they won't be judging my next show so they don't matter." Or "My mare has given off worse threats than them and I dealt just fine. Oh well."

    I believe the amount of confidence I gained in myself from the horses made it possible for me to succeed in debate and in my business chapter. It made me assertive and powerful more naturally.
         
        03-09-2013, 12:00 AM
      #20
    Green Broke
    I suffer from GAD (general anxiety disorder) and maybe SAD and they help me more than anything! Don't know what I would do without them.
         

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