Horses should be a good de-stressor, sometimes though they seem to cause more stress than they alleviate! But in principle they should be good for you…
Being outside in the countryside, rather than cooped up in a building, taking exercise, doing something that is fulfilling and rewarding, all of these things are proven to help us de-stress and improve our mental state.
I found a poem the other day, which is attributed to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, here are a few lines:
The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.
This should be what spending time with our horses feels like. That we leave our worry at the yard gate and allow the strains of our life to fade away. Often our lives are simply too stressful to simply drop away as we approach our horses, our anxieties are too tightly woven into us to be easily shed. Or our problems are too large to leave behind.
However, when we are aware of how difficult it is to leave our worries behind, we can make more of a conscious effort to leave them at the gate. Sometimes having a physical prop can help, leave a bucket at the gate, and “put” your worries in it. Count to 10 as you walk into the yard and make a conscious effort to leave your day behind. There are many ways to help you leave your stress at the yard gate, and like everything some days it will be harder than others, but trying to leave your day at the gate is the first step. Your horse will be grateful too!