10 Things to Do With Your Horse When You're Stressed

Life can really take a toll on your mental health. Here are a few things that might help you unwind.

Brushing your horse off is just one of the many ways he can help you unwind. Photo from Stephanie Rukasin

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that life is hard. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being busy can be a blessing, but it can take a toll on your mind after a while. Horses have a knack for taking people’s worries and troubles and making them go away, so here are a few things we suggest you do with your horse to clear your mind and help you relax.

1. Groom them. If you are a horse person, you know that there are not many things that help you connect with your horse better than grooming. Getting yourself covered in that wonderful “horse smell” is like aromatherapy. Bathing, brushing out their manes and tails, braiding said manes and tails, or just giving them a good rub-down helps you form a bond with your horse. Plus, it lets your mind forget what’s bothering you.

2. Go for a trail ride. There’s a reason horses are used for therapy, and it’s pretty obvious after you’ve been in the saddle (or bareback) for a few minutes. Of course, if you don’t have trails in your surrounding area, a good ride in the pasture will do just fine - the relaxed feeling you’re left with will be the same. The wind in your face and the calming movement of your horse makes the problems melt away.

3. Nap. Of course napping helps anyone, but napping with your horse is slightly more satisfying. Having a large, trustworthy, strong being snoozing by your side will not only make you feel safe but will make your nap that much more helpful.

4. Talk. Talking to humans can be hard sometimes: They have opinions or judgements about what you might have to say, and that doesn’t help your situation. Talking to your horse is just a simple release of all your troubles. Your horse won’t have rebuttals or opinions about what you have to say. Horses will simply stand, and listen. There’s not much more you could ask from your companion.

5. Practice. It’s quite possible that some of your stress in life is coming from having a horse. If you have one, you know what I’m talking about. Showing can put a strain on a household that not many other things can, so being prepared could take some of that away. Making sure you have maneuvers down and that you and your horse are on the same page can take show-day stress down a fews levels.

6. Dance. There’s nothing a little jig can’t fix right? You know you can’t help but smile when you see viral videos of horses dancing to music, so go out and try it with your own four-legged pal.

7. Sing. This one and dancing, of course, go hand in hand. You can’t dance to a song without singing the words. And if dancing isn’t your forte, just belting out a power ballad can ease your stress. The best thing about singing with your horse? He doesn’t judge the tone deaf.

8. Eat. Stress eating is most definitely a thing. So why not make the most of it, and take a snack and share it with your buddies in the barn. We know your horses won’t ever turn down an opportunity to munch on an apple or two.

9. Play. Your horses get stressed, too, believe it or not, so playing and releasing some of that built up tension will benefit both of you. Playing with a ball in their pen or a good game of tag will be just what the doctor ordered.

10. Train. Being a lifelong learner is an important skill, and you know it’s never too late to learn some new tricks. Learning together with your horse or focusing on teaching them something new will take the edge off both of you. And how cool will it be when your horse knows how to bow? 

Need more stress relieving ideas? Check out our free e-book, Barn-Aisle Exercises.