You, Your Horse and Your Mental Wellbeing

The last two years have been hard – and we’re not talking about Remus’ financial hardships as a result of the lack of fundraising – the Covid-19 pandemic has bulldozed its way through our lives, challenging each and every one of us.

But in the wake of that incredibly difficult time, and hopefully as we head into a new era of normality, there seems to be a positive mental shift occurring; a newfound sense of appreciation amongst us. Some people have prioritised their health and chosen more active lifestyles. Others have resigned from jobs that left them feeling uninspired or opened a business out of their passion project. There are new hobbies, new relationships, new banana bread recipes! People are thinking about their own happiness, and their own mental wellbeing. So how do our horses play a part in that?

It is a well-trodden research path, the link between mental health and our relationships with animals. There is vast amounts of evidence to show that our furry friends can reduce stress levels, and help treat anxiety and depression. Horses provide us with companionship, help us build trust, and increase our mental focus. Not to mention the benefits of exercise and fresh air from riding and being outdoors.

In a recent Horse & Rider article, Emma Hutchison explores this link in more detail. She asks the question, What lessons can we learn from our horses?

We all know the saying, ‘Treat others as you wish to be treated’, but how about ‘Treat yourself as you’d treat your horse’? In the article, Emma talks about the levels of compassion we offer our horses on a daily basis. The good practice of working with “the horse you have on the day”, and treating each day differently, according to their moods and needs. Can you honestly say you offer yourself the same opportunity? Checking in on how you’re feeling each day is an important part of mental wellbeing. It helps you treat yourself with kindness and show compassion for yourself on an ‘off-day’.

There are a lot of things we can learn from our horses. This article shines a light on how mental wellbeing can be one of them. You can read more here.

Find out how Storm Eunice wreaked havoc at the Sanctuary.

Images: Sophie Boeme

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