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June 11, 2023 2 min read

You don’t need a PhD to know that time spent among animals is good for the soul, but it can be good for your mind and body as well. In recent years, there has been an ignited interest in what industry experts have formally dubbed “equine-assisted therapy”.

Official studies regarding the methods and effects of horse therapy are relatively new, consolidated and recognized under their own umbrella in roughly 2007 or so, and are now explored and accepted as alternative options for traditional therapy treating mental health, cognitive behavior, and physical rehabilitation. The potential applications are endless and the available information is vast, but if you’re interested in exploring the idea, the WebMD has a pretty useful and concise rundown of what horse therapy is/can treat and it can point you on the path, equipped with questions you may want to ask potential providers.

Now, taking a step back – or “reining” it in a little, if you will – we’re definitely not doctors, mental health experts, or experts of any kind, for that matter, but we do have some first-hand experience with the unofficial benefits of growing up “horse girls”.

GET OUT IN THE OPEN.

There’s an old saying that sunshine is nature’s salve, and while some days we could swear the south Texas sun was trying to kill us, we can’t deny feeling inexplicably better after a day outside. Yes, a horseback stroll appreciating nature and sorting through your thoughts – even practicing conversations you’re hesitant to have – is a great way to get your Vitamin D, but if you don’t have a horse handy, try gardening or even soaking up a little solitude and sunshine on the front porch swing.

EXERCISE YOUR HEART OUT.

“There is no better place to heal a broken heart than on the back of a horse.” – Missy Lyons

If you have the opportunity to saddle up and outrun whatever’s weighing you down, we can say in our personal experience, nothing will free your mind faster. Maybe it’s the wind in your hair, maybe it’s the wildness of the steed beneath you, maybe it’s the exhilaration and endorphins of the exercise, but we promise it’s worth a try. (Horseback riding not really your speed? Try a hearty bike ride or hiking a new trail.)

CARING IS SELF-CARE.

This isn’t specific to horses (and we realize it’s unrealistic for a lot of us to have a horse of our own) but a sense of purpose can be a source of self-care, and tending to another living thing – even a houseplant or herb garden – can be both cathartic and rewarding.

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