Having horses in your life is often an expensive hobby, if not lifestyle. One that’s not for the faint of heart, or light of bank account. That’s not to say only the wealthy can have horses, we certainly never were and managed to pull it off, but it’s not something you get into without a good financial strategy. That being said, here’s the great news, horses are really good for you!
Considering horse-ownership, but not sure if you can afford the time and money for it? No problem, Having a horse or horses easily offsets those problems, by also serving as your fitness program!
Unless you’re one of the lucky 2% that can afford to just write a check once a month, then drive to the barn whenever it suits you, to have a spotless, tacked horse handed over for you to play with, and hand back when you get bored for someone else to deal with, going to the barn is a great workout! Stall cleaning, grooming, riding, and lots of other activities that you often encounter at the barn, can get you in, and keep you in the best shape of your life. My personal favorite feature is, you don’t think of it as working out, it’s the best trick ever! Whatever money you’re spending on your horse, could come from your gym membership, so it doesn’t have to dig further into your bank account, and it still provides the same physical results. Personally, I HATE a formal workout and gyms, the structure doesn’t suit my personality, but put me in a barn, I’ll go for hours without complaint, and be fitter for it (the smell is another issue, but well worth it!). Cardio? Check. Weight training? Check. Stretching? Check!
Looking for another place to cut corners so you can afford a horse? You can shelf that therapist, because horses are great listeners! They have large ears to hear all your troubles, and big strong shoulders to lean on when you need support.
It can almost serve as double duty, but time spent grooming your horse makes them feel good, and can make you feel good. The physical effort helps you work out the stresses of the day, and you can’t help but talk to your horse while you do it. The more time you spend with them, the more you share, and before long they know everything about you, but will never say a word.
Maybe you had a crummy day at the office and you have a lot of stress or anger to sort through. Turn your horse out for a bit and take it out on that dirty stall! It’s no different than a trip to the gym and therapist all in one. By the time you leave, your blood pressure is lower, your mood is improved, your horse is happy, you’re more relaxed and happy… All you need now is to go home, put your feet up, and enjoy a glass of wine (adults only please!). The improvement on your life, and your relationships will be measurable.
Horses are naturally herd animals, so are humans. That’s what makes us compatible. We like each other’s company, we look out for each other, it’s an organic give and take relationship. If you have your horse(s) at home, it can be a great, healthy family activity, even for the members who don’t ride, they can still actively participate. If you board your horse, you get to know people at the barn and build relationships with them. Being socially active is another key to good emotional health.
If you’re spending time with friends at the barn, you’re spending time with people who share a similar interest, which is a great platform for trying new things and meeting new people. Those barn friends can help introduce you to more things that interest you, and more people with similar interests. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
For kids, it’s the first social circles they’ll develop, and often ones that carry on through their adult lives. In school, most of my good friends were at the barn, rather than in school, and I wouldn’t trade those relationships for anything. They’re they ones that sustained me through my teens and into my adult life. I’ve maintained more connections with them, than I have anyone I graduated with. Horse teach us so much, responsibility, trust, communication, honesty, all characteristics that translate perfectly into the human world and interaction.
Horses are fitness instructors, therapists, and best friends. At the end of the day, the cost is far outweighed by those benefits!