The Life Skills We Learn From Horses August 03 2015 1 Comment
Recently, we've talked about the science that shows how equestrianism makes us physically healthier. But what about our emotional health? What kind of impact does equestrianism have on us as people?
Well, aside from that “gut feeling” we all get when we are around horses, there are some serious benefits in terms of the personal and emotional development of those of us that are lucky enough to spend time with horses.
The amount of responsibility you are given, be it at a young age or as an adult, when it comes to working with horses is incredible. Horses are disturbingly fragile for how established a species they are. It takes a lot of knowledge to understand things like when and how much water is needed, when to feed and what meds are needed, and when they need hot walking and recognizing that line between the “too warm to let loose” feeling and the “just right to let loose” feeling. Being able to keep a handle on these things and enjoy yourself does wonders for your confidence!
Not to mention that working collaboratively in a barn of other riders builds confidence! So despite (or maybe because) equine related work isn't glorious or glamorous - it’s usually a lot of poo picking up - it is undeniably good for the soul.
While a physical workout has clear benefits on the health and emotional side of things, people often disregard the other side of how physical activity benefits the soul. Exhaustion builds character and emotional strength as well as physical strength, because nothing like working through the burn of putting up a semi-truck full of hay bales will prepare you for the mind numbing pain of 8am lectures or 3pm staff meetings.
Such an important thing to be able to feel and express in a world that is continually allowing us to become isolated from those around us, empathy is what keeps us connected! Nothing will teach you empathy like caring for a creature that has mood swings, just like people, and has a personality that you have to figure out in order to get along. It makes you think about their perspective and problem solve your way out of a bad spot using the powers of empathy. Needless to say there are BILLIONS of real world applications for an empathetic approach to problem solving and human relations.
Poise and grace in adversity and good fortune
We know we’ve said, “It’s not about the ribbon, it’s the ride” and “A blue doesn’t mean you’ve won” and any other number of phrases about winning and losing before, but nothing is a more important life lesson! Equestrianism teaches you that life is not fair. (AWWWW SHUCKS!)
No, but seriously it’s not…. surprise! Sometimes you win a class and you know you didn’t deserve it and that’s just as embarrassing as totally wiffing it and getting excused. Sometimes you definitely deserved to win and you didn’t even get a look. The point is, we must always win and lose with grace in any facet of life; be it with our equine teammate or at work or in school!
Equestrianism, above all, teaches us to love unconditionally. Equestrians love an animal who’s whole heart is dedicated to pleasing (though sometimes we think they might be dedicated to messing with us). We love an animal that is, generally speaking, naturally terrified of virtually everything we ask it to do, but has learned to stifle that fear and trust over time that you, the equestrian, will keep them safe. We love an animal that is quadruple our size, but would often really like to sit in our laps… if accomplishing that snuggling position were easier to assume.
Equestrianism teaches us how to express unconditional love with such aggressive fervor that you can’t help but grow to be the type of person that knows life is better with that type of love than without it! (I mean… the last time you let someone brush your horse and they didn’t get rid of all the saddle marks, you drove to their house and made them run all the way back to the barn to redo their crap grooming job….. right? or was that just me…)
Did we miss any important life skills you learned from being an equestrian? Let us know in the comments down below!
Sharon Gardner on August 04 2015 at 07:49PM
Thank you Lindsay. Well done and so very true!