There may be no better time to sink your face into your horse’s mane. After all, your horses will not give you COVID19. And, of course, we don’t need to be told how therapeutic our horses can be. (But just to reiterate: a growing body of research indicates that horse time generally and convincingly lowers cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone.)
So while we should steer clear of groups of other humans, let’s get closer to our horses. Hugs and kisses all around. Get out there and ride. The exercise will do you and your horse good.
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This week, we heard from Debbie Hight, a Mainer and Best Horse Practices Summit trustee. She wrote this as she works with her young grandson, who is going to school remotely like millions of children now:
I can tell you that the Day 1 lesson plan was really aggressive and the links were confusing, but we got most of it done. The students are supposed to have four hours of instructional time. Well, of course, I have a learning adventure planned every day!
- Yesterday, we picked up trash from one mile of road frontage and took data.
- Today, I’ll teach him about graphing by hand and on the computer. I know that I have to get through the core curriculum, but what better way to learn about the environment, culture, and math?
- Physical Education yesterday was riding and looking for a lost horseshoe in the mud.
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My husband and I visit our horses one or twice a day. We are currently looking for our own farm so we can be with them 24/7.
Never stop learning , keep being curious!
I am a certified therapeutic riding instructor, and even though our center is shut down due to the coronavirus, horses still need care. Ours are lucky – they live outside in a herd, with free choice hay, and a large hilly and slightly rocky pasture to keep them challenged as they move about. I went out to give them their supplements this morning, and even before I had any edibles in my hands, they all walked up to me, soft eyes, curious, giving me a nuzzle and some warm breath on my cheek. In these unsettled times, they remain grounded and whole, and seeking my company, if only for a few minutes. There is nothing like the acceptance of a horse.
I babysit my granddaughter , who is 3, twice a week. We go out, brush her pony and go for a ride. As we do, I ask her all kinds of questions like, “what do you see?’ or “What do you hear?” Some of her answers are amazing! Who knew Bigfoot would be following us?
My horses keep me very occupied. I have to feed, clean and repair. There is always something to do. Brush the mud, work in hand, just hang out, and if you can, ride. Right now I am too wet to ride, but my neighbor’s little stream is probably running. It is a good time to walk the horses over and walk through the water.
I have a small lesson program that is staying open! We’re encouraging kids to come spend time out in the fresh air and sunshine, and hug a horse, especially now that human touch is discouraged. Very therapeutic!
With horses, as with any of our animals, life goes on as usual. Routine is good and actually therapeutic. Listening to them munch hay, watching them roll, smelling their coat…it is all grounding. I even had the sad privilege to be with my 32 y.o. mare as she was humanely euthanized. Life goes on. There is great comfort and peace in that for me.
The governor here closed all non essential businesses, including boarding barns. Only the barn manager can go to the barn. I miss my horse TERRIBLY!
The manager sends me videos or pictures daily, with occasional FaceTime. It helps, but of course, it’s not the same!
My horses and my 5 acres keep me busy. We have had a lot of rain, yes in Southern CA, so I have not been able to use my arena, but there are a million other things I can do with them. I have a feral Morgan foal and I get him out. Boy he likes to try to nip, but we are learning to lead and to pick up our feet, and to general behave. So lots of time there. Then Dolly my driving mare, we are working on not going into extreme overdrive in her emotions. We hang out by the trailer, she doesn’t like going in, and we walk around the property, going a little bit further into areas that shoot her flight reactions into high gear. Then there is Logan and Pivit the two I ride. They are getting a lot of ground work, things like can you just stand there, time getting longer and longer, lots of grooming, getting rid of all that hair, and of course lots of walking around the property. It is hillside so a lot of exercise for me as well.
Hearing how many facilities are closing their doors to boarders makes me feel lucky as I can go daily. Taking care of them gives me purpose and they give me pleasure. I get my mental, emotional and physical needs met. Staying home is not a hardship for me as I don’t mind being with myself 🙂 The change for me is so much more less than those that work outside the house and have children. As difficult as this time is, maybe it will change many perspectives on how they’ve been living their “lives”.
I am a nurse. Although I can work from home I talk to a lot of patients who are experiencing stress and fear every day due to this outbreak. I use the connection to my horses to help me relax and unwind from their stress every day after work. It doesn’t matter if I am just hanging out with them, doing Masterson Method body work or riding it helps keep me mentally healthy to be able to help others!
I live on the same farm that I am also employed at full time. Despite all of the wild things happening in the world, I am noticing the other small things happening around the farm. The horses are beginning to graze further and further up into the pasture as the grass comes in. I enjoy seeing their colors contrasted against the bright green landscape! We also have a pond with ducks and every morning I look for duck eggs that have been laid in the grass around the pond. It brings me a lot of joy. I am so thankful to have horses in my every day life during a time in the world such as this!
The one relative certainty in life now is that I and horse owner friend go out on a daily trail ride into the quiet refreshment of the forest.
Training to keep fit for riding gives life more purpose, and a focus on a routine.
Horses are glad to get out, they are getting fit from the varied terrain, slope, of the path.