By the EIE Editorial Staff
The holidays are supposed to be times for friends, family and good cheer, but this doesn’t always happen – despite the parties and gifts. Sometimes, the best way to get through the holidays is spending quality time with a horse.
One woman told us, “My father died this year and the holiday season just isn’t the same without him. My horse understands me in a way that one else can and just feeling his breath on my face eases my sadness.”
A young man shared, “My family lives on the West Coast and this year I'm not going to visit them. This year I want to spend my time off reflecting on what's coming up in the New Year. My horse helps me from diving too deep into my own thoughts.”
A horse can also help heal family tensions. “My sister is angry at me and my brother, but we're not really sure why. When we're together for the holidays I'll take her out riding and between me and the horses, we'll uncover how she really feels,” another woman expressed, feeling hopeful.
Some families reflect on memories involving their love of horses saying, “Our family loves to gather together for the Holidays in December, we have been together every year! Our parents are entering the phase of life where they start to noticeably age with each passing year. Our love of horses is strong in our family, and even if Mom can't go riding now, we enjoy looking at photos and remembering all the times we've shared in our love of horses.”
Spending time with a horse can be a great way to get through the holidays, especially if you're feeling stressed, lonely, or overwhelmed. Horses can provide a sense of companionship, comfort, and peace, and they can also help you to get some exercise and fresh air.
Here are some specific ways in which horses can help you get through the holidays:
- Reduce stress. Horses are known for their calming effect on humans. Their slow, rhythmic breathing and gentle demeanor can help to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and they can also help to reduce anxiety and stress.
- Provide companionship. Horses are social animals, and they can provide a sense of companionship for people who are feeling lonely or isolated. Spending time with a horse can help you to feel connected to a living creature and can help to reduce feelings of isolation.
- Promote relaxation. Grooming a horse can be a very relaxing activity. The repetitive motion of brushing and petting can help to calm your mind and body, and it can also be a way to bond with your horse.
- Increase physical activity. Riding a horse is a great way to get exercise. It's a low-impact activity that works your whole body, and it can also be a lot of fun.
- Improve mental health. Spending time with horses has been shown to improve mental health in a number of ways, including reducing depression, anxiety, and stress. It can also help to improve self-esteem and social skills.
If you're looking for a way to reduce stress, improve your mental health, and get some exercise during the holidays, spending time with a horse may be a great option for you. There are many stables and riding schools that offer trail rides, lessons, and other horse-related activities or consider a vacation. You may also be able to find volunteer opportunities at a local horse rehoming or therapy center.
Here are some additional tips for getting the most out of your time with a horse:
- Find a stable or riding school that is a good fit for you. Ask about the staff's experience and qualifications, and make sure that the horses are well-cared for.
- Start slowly. If you're new to horses, start with a short trail ride or lesson. You can gradually increase the amount of time you spend with horses as you become more comfortable.
- Be patient and respectful. Horses are intelligent creatures, but they can also be sensitive. Be patient and respectful of their boundaries, and don't try to force them to do anything they're not comfortable with.
- Enjoy yourself! Spending time with horses should be a fun and rewarding experience. Relax, have fun, and enjoy the connection with your horse.
Let a horse help you through the holidays and beyond. They can be a great source of comfort…and friendship.
There's more interesting articles in our section on Recreation & Lifestyle.