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World Mental Health Day and Horses

Updated on October 11, 2018
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.

Having A Passion Or A Purpose

Everyone should have a passion or purpose in life. Something that they are committed to and look forward to. It gives us something for our minds to focus on besides negative factors in our life.

Our involvement with horses gives us something to do and something to work on because with horses there is always more to learn.

Having a passion for something in life helps our mental state by giving us a reason to push through when things seem hard.

Even after my accident in March, the horses are still my passion and purpose. They are the driving force behind my TBI rehabilitation.
Even after my accident in March, the horses are still my passion and purpose. They are the driving force behind my TBI rehabilitation. | Source

Exercise

Exercise plays a big role in our mental and physical health. Working with horses gets us outside in the fresh air. It gets us moving around and using all of our muscles.

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and calm our mental state. Going for a ride, or working in the barn can be a good way to settle ourselves when we get anxious or focus our minds.

Besides all the exercise you get just working to take care of the horses, riding them and doing things like we were in this picture, vaulting, requires strength, stamina and balance. It is good exercise!
Besides all the exercise you get just working to take care of the horses, riding them and doing things like we were in this picture, vaulting, requires strength, stamina and balance. It is good exercise! | Source

Being Goal Oriented

Being goal oriented is the best way to be successful with horses and riding. Setting a goal and coming up with specific steps to meet that goal. Then working through them at whatever pace necessary.

Knowing what you are working toward and seeing your progress when you put in the work gives a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

Learning to be goal oriented in your horse endeavors can spill over into other areas of life. Starting to try to do things in a goal-oriented manner with your horse will hopefully help you start a habit that works to improve other parts of your life as well.

Being goal-oriented can be in whatever context that works for you. If you are a competitive rider you may be working on skills to move up a level. If you are a horse owner who is busy with work and family your goal could be as simple as committing to spending time with your horse a certain number of days per week.

Some work toward competitive goals while others work towards more simple things. That is the great thing about goals, we all set them for ourselves to be exactly what we want them to be.
Some work toward competitive goals while others work towards more simple things. That is the great thing about goals, we all set them for ourselves to be exactly what we want them to be. | Source

Being Around Like Minded Individuals

It is always good for our mental health to be in good company. Hopefully, you ride or keep your horse at a place where you feel comfortable. A place with positive vibes.

You can go to the barn, with your horse friends or even by yourself and it can be a sanctuary for you. A relaxing escape.

It is good for our mental state to know you have a place to escape to where you are understood and feel you fit in.

At the barn you should be able to find your "tribe" people you relate to easily. Lifelong friendships are often formed around horses in the barn.
At the barn you should be able to find your "tribe" people you relate to easily. Lifelong friendships are often formed around horses in the barn. | Source

Being Humble

Horses tend to humble us just when our egos are starting to get too big. The fact that there is so much to learn about horses and riding is humbling. To know that you can never know everything there is to know and that there is always room for improvement helps to keep us humble.

In my opinion, being a humble person and a kind person go hand and hand. Having an open frame of mind makes you less stressed and anxious, which is good for your mental health.

I could always count on this one, Zelda , to knock me down a few pegs when I needed to be humbled.
I could always count on this one, Zelda , to knock me down a few pegs when I needed to be humbled. | Source

The Factor Of The 1,000 pound Animal With It's Own Brain

The fact that horses are so big and strong and that they are never one hundred percent predictable is good for us. It keeps us mentally sharp, making sure we are doing things the right way and safely.

The other thing it does is help us learn to accept situations for what they are. It helps us accept things we can't change. For example, if your horse's shoe falls off the day before the show and the farrier can't get by to put it back on. Sure, that's disappointing, but there is nothing that you can do about it, what will be will be.

Sometimes you will have great rides, and sometimes you won't, but you will still love your horse and keep on working on things, even though you don't ever know for sure how things will turn out.

Accepting the variables that come along with being involved with horses is a big step. Being at peace and accepting that what will be will be. That is good for your mental health. It is a lesson learned from the horses that can apply to your mental health in other aspects of life.

Can't think of a much better way to spend a mental health day than on the back of a horse!
Can't think of a much better way to spend a mental health day than on the back of a horse! | Source

To Sum It All Up

I have had my highest highs and lowest lows with horses. It is a continual learning experience and I can vouch for the fact that being involved with horses is good for your mental health on many levels.

Don't believe me? Take off work and spend a "mental health day" with a horse. I bet you will leave feeling better than when you came and I will have changed your opinion on how horses can help improve your mental health!

Comments

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    • Ellison Hartley profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellison Hartley 

      7 days ago from Maryland, USA

      Dogs are good for me too! I have four! Two bloodhounds a Doberman that thinks she is a bloodhound ( we call her the doberhound) and a itty bitty mixed breed yorkie looking thing.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 days ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I agree humble and kind go together. Great hub with some lovely images. I find dogs good for my me tal helath

    • Ellison Hartley profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellison Hartley 

      10 days ago from Maryland, USA

      Thanks for reading my article!

    • Ellison Hartley profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellison Hartley 

      10 days ago from Maryland, USA

      Horses are good for the soul!

    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      11 days ago from Maryland, United States of America

      My Mom grew up on a farm. I remember the horse on Grandpa's farm - he was George. George died when I was younger though. Eventually Grandpa got a mule as he needed something smaller due to his health issues.

      They are very loving indeed. ^_^

    • profile image

      Ecunane 

      11 days ago

      They are smart and very loving

    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      11 days ago from Maryland, United States of America

      Horses are awesome. :)

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