Last week it was #mentalhealthawarenessweek, prompting many people to discuss elements of their mentalhealth issues, raise awareness, and offer support to their family and peers.
For many who seek solace from their equestrianism, the stables is a sanctuary, and one of the few places their struggles can be forgotten, even if for a short while.
Several studies have shown that spending time with animals can reduce problems such as depression, stress and anxiety, and increase positive thinking and happiness levels. As a herd animal, horses in particular are attuned to the feelings of others and are an ideal calming influence.
The British Horse Society says “being active can also improve our mood, reduce stress and anxiety. Horse riding has been proven to help self-confidence; riders may gain an increase in self-esteem and self-image. The study completed by The BHS concluded that horseback riding stimulated mainly positive psychological feelings, with reducing depression by 30% as well as lowering the chance of dementia by 30%.”
Horses are also very sociable creatures, living in herds both with their own kind and with humans! They can form incredibly strong bonds with their human, and this can have a positive effect on people, and is widely used in therapeutic riding programs.
As part of this, over on our Facebook we reached out to ask our followers how their horses help their mental health. One follower shared their beautiful story of their journey with their horse.
“We got a horse as a companion for myself, to act as a therapy horse, to help me deal with my anxiety and work through my depression. And after a 1 year she did what a councillor struggled to do in 4, helped me want to live again, to want to get better, to talk about how I feel, to be open and accept that I’m not alone.” – Becca Bonny.
It is important that we continue to care for our mental health, not only for #mentalhealthawarenessweek. If you feel you are struggling, remember to reach out.