Have you ever felt isolated or feel like there’s a cloud over your head? Do you have a place or person who brings you peace? Maybe even a non-human best friend?
For me, it’s horses. I always joke it’s because they don’t talk back, but truly it’s because they are my best friends. Those tiny ears have heard many secrets and have seen so many emotions. My worries seem to fade when I am around them. I’m no longer thinking about the assignment stressing me out or what I’m doing tomorrow. Whether past, present, or future, I can finally think clearly and relax. I am truly in the moment and basking in the comforting aura of horses. When I picture my happy place, I think of sitting in the pasture with the horses as they are peacefully munching away.
The ability to be present in the moment and enjoy the time to disconnect is an important part of overall health. In today’s society, hustle culture is the new norm…always on the go, overextended work hours, lack of personal time, inconsistent work/life balance…the list could go on and on. If you are always hard at work, you will feel guilty, disappointed, or sad on those days that you don’t have enough steam to keep going. It is a vicious cycle of burnout. Interacting with horses is a cherished time to unwind and encourage mental peace/space. Maintaining a more positive mental mindset means you need to prioritize that aspect in your life. It can be incredibly difficult to make time for yourself when work and life duties pile up. Just a simple five minutes can help you mentally reset. Animal presence is calming and helps us regulate our own emotions. It has also been proven to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Horses are these powerful, calm creatures we are innately drawn to. Even the largest horses can flash their gentle, kind eyes to make us feel comfortable. It’s quite interesting, isn’t it? These large, dynamic souls trust us and look for us to be the herd leader. Subconsciously, we convey our emotions to them and they have the capacity to mirror back to us. In a herd, instinct and emotional responsiveness are how they survive. Their keen emotional sense allows them to pick up on feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, anger, fear, etc. It’s through their awareness that we learn to confront and regulate our own feelings.
Every time we handle horses, we are always learning and problem solving. No day or situation is always the same. Especially when our emotions change frequently. Horse care also requires a certain amount of physical labor and learned skill… proper handling, grooming, and cleaning. All of these fun things and new responsibilities are exciting and offer so much growth. These tasks improve our cognitive function, coordination, and balance. Equine assisted learning is proven to help with rehabilitation of traumatic brain injuries because of the physical skills and emotional connection to horses. For these same reasons, assisted activities are helpful in individuals with intellectual and developmental challenges.
It continues to amaze me that one unique animal was created with such a large capacity to understand and heal us. They become our best friends and a shoulder of support for all the good and unfortunate aspects of our lives.
Your continued support of Crossfire Ranch enables us to provide services for individuals and families who are experiencing challenging life issues. We are blessed to have you be a part of our loving community! All of our mentors, volunteers, and donors help us further our mission of supporting individuals through equine partnership. Thank you for all you do!