10 Things to do With Your Horse When You’re Stressed

10 Things to do With Your Horse When You’re Stressed

When life gets tough, turn to your barn buddy for a little equine therapy.

girl wearing a straw cowboy hat hugs a sorrel horse (Credit: AQHA)

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With viral outbreaks, event cancellations, social distancing and more, life feels awful stressful. But there’s good news: Evidence shows horses relieve stress, and we’re all for it. 

A healthy dose of equine therapy has a knack for easing worries and troubles, so here are a few things we suggest you do with your horse to help you relax:

  1. Groom them. Horse people know there are few things that help you connect with your horse better than grooming. Covering yourself in that wonderful “horse smell” is like aromatherapy. Here are the basics to cover while grooming and a list of must-have horse grooming tools.
  2. Go for a trail ride. There’s a reason we use horses for therapy, and it’s obvious after you’ve been in the saddle (or bareback) for a few minutes. If you don’t have trails near you, a good ride in the pasture will do just fine. The wind in your face and the calming movement of your horse make the problems melt away.
  3. Take a nap. Any nap is a good nap, but having a large, trustworthy, strong being dozing by your side will not only make you feel safe but will make your quick snooze that much more helpful.
  4. Talk it out. Talking to humans can be hard sometimes: They have opinions or judgements about what you might have to say, and that doesn’t help your situation. Your horse won’t have rebuttals or opinions about what you have to say. Horses will simply stand and listen. There’s not much more you could ask for from a companion.
  5. Practice for peace of mind. It’s possible that some of your stress is not knowing when you will show next. Putting in a little extra practice and working out the kinks with your horse can ease your worries and take down your stress a few levels.
  6. Dance a little jig. You know you can’t help but smile when you see viral videos of horses dancing to music, so go out and try it with your own four-legged pal.
  7. Sing a little tune. This tip, along with No. 6, go hand-in-hand. But if dancing isn’t your forte, just belting out a power ballad can ease your stress. The best thing about singing with your horse: he doesn’t judge the tone-deaf singer.
  8. Eat. Stress eating is most definitely a thing. Take a healthy snack and share it with your barn-buddies. We know your horses won’t ever turn down the opportunity to munch on an apple or two.
  9. Play. Your horses get stressed, too, so playing and releasing some of that built up tension will benefit both of you! Playing with a ball in their pen or horseback games that develop horsemanship skills will be just what the doctor ordered.
  10. Train. Being a lifelong-learner is an important skill, and it’s never too late to learn some new tricks. Learning together with your horse or focusing on teaching him something new will take the edge off both of you – and how cool will it be when your horse knows how to bow?

Need more stress-relieving ideas? Check out our free e-book, Barn-Aisle Exercises