Animals have a therapeutic effect on humans. Interestingly, this applies not only to those stressed out, pursuing a career, but also to those with autism, socially withdrawn or with other diseases. Animals are amazing, have anti-depressant properties and bring back the joy of life.
Dogs are most often used to heal the mind. This is due to their natural joy and great enthusiasm. Lonely people often decide to buy cats to make their lives a bit more pleasant. Cat purring has a therapeutic effect and relaxes, and the enthusiasm of dogs makes them the most cheerful pets, at which it’s hard not to smile. According to research, animals can read human emotions, and cats know what part of the body hurts. So the dog will comfort in sadness and cheer up, and the cat will lie down purring on its sore belly.
Horses in therapy
Horses are also used very often as therapeutic animals. These animals take part in activities with people with physical and mental disabilities. Thanks to the activities with horses, people with physical problems regain a large range of motion in the limbs. However, such rehabilitation often takes years for the effects to be really visible. The most common activities consist in sitting on a horse and performing certain exercises, depending on the rider’s abilities. For beginners, it starts with getting the person familiar with the horse. The next step is getting used to the saddle, i.e. a walk with the horse. If the rider is making progress, the next lesson is on a lunge. However, in order for a rider to reach this level, he must be familiar with the animal and have a good understanding of the basics of horse riding.
For those with mental illness, classes are much more difficult and progress is slower. Because such people are often afraid of horses and it takes quite a long time to get to know animals. Choosing the right horse is also very important here. It must be a very calm, timid and patient animal. Therefore, older animals, accustomed to humans, work best. If the fear is too great, horses of a smaller breed are chosen, such as Hucul horses or ponies with a calm disposition. Especially with sick children, remember to provide them with the greatest possible safety and protection in the form of professional equipment for riders .
The advantages of horse riding
Horse riding lessons are mostly used by those who love horses or are looking for a hobby. Good sides of such activity are seen not only by people with disabilities, but also by those who are fully healthy. Horse riding is a sport that won the hearts of many people a long time ago. If you are looking for a stimulus that will encourage you to put your legs in the stirrups, then learn about the advantages of horse riding.
- Improves fitness – this is the first and basic advantage that becomes apparent after just a few rides, you will feel muscles that you had no idea existed. After a systematic ride, the body’s efficiency and endurance will also improve. The whole body works while horseback riding. However, the calves and abdominal muscles are the most involved, which will build up sore muscles at the beginning.
- It makes you feel better – there are three reasons here. The first is being outdoors, which perfectly oxygenates both the brain and the whole body. The second is spending time with animals that have anti-depressant effects. The third reason is the increased secretion of endorphins, or happiness hormones. It is the result of the physical exertion that accompanies riding on the horse’s back.
- It helps to lose weight – for those who have problems with unnecessary kilograms, this is a huge advantage. Horseback riding helps you burn a lot of calories. It also improves digestion and stimulates the work of internal organs. An additional portion of movement, bends and squats is also cleaning and saddling the mount.
- It teaches empathy and patience – it is especially useful for children and people who treat animals objectively. Being with an animal allows you to see many interesting features in it that are not noticed at first glance. Sometimes there are very aggressive individuals who teach not only patience and understanding of the horse’s nature, but also humility.
- It strengthens the love for horses – to be a good rider, you need not only to know what riding techniques are, what positions to take and how to change your leg to a canter or walk in a horse. This is just a seed. The most important thing is to understand and love the horse. Excellent riders can talk to horses and form a bond with them that ensures perfect cooperation. The most important thing in this arrangement is the animal’s trust in humans and vice versa. This makes the rider and the horse form one organism. However, you have to work long for such skills and find a unique horse.
But there are also disadvantages …
Unfortunately, horse riding, like any other sport, also has its downside. The first is of course the danger. Unfortunately, it is quite large and applies not only to experienced riders with extreme speeds or jumps, but also to beginners. However, this is nothing to worry about in the beginning if you are not going to participate in horse racing. Beginner riders get calm horses and don’t develop any high speeds. So falling off the horse’s back can only end in a bruise. The aforementioned professional equestrian equipment also plays an important role in this matter . If you are carried away by horse riding, you should equip yourself with decent accessories for your own safety.