The American Hippotherapy Association defines the goal of hippotherapy as engaging sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems to promote functional outcomes. Even if this practice is new to the field, it can bring numerous advantages to its practitioners. Here are some of the ways on how to communicate with your horse to improve your health and deepen your human understanding.

1. Your Voice

Using your voice to congratulate your horse when accomplishing something special is a powerful method of bonding. Remember to balance praise with comfort whenever your horse needs it. Sometimes they will become worried or anxious – this is the moment you’ll use your voice as backing support to calm him or her down.

Never yell at your house or force them to do something they don’t feel comfortable doing. “Horses become more irritated whenever they feel negative energy,” writes Christina Gosling, blogger at EssayGeeks and horse-therapy specialist at BluPlanet Horse Therapy, Illinois. “Take time to find your own way of communicating with your horse, at least verbally-wise. See what fits you two the best and go with it! In the end, it’s all about the feeling really,” ends Gosling.

How it relates to my health: When you focus on lowering your voice down, you will automatically become calmer. This exercise can help you develop a mindful mindset and positive thinking. Since yelling at your horse is not an option, you will have to regain your composure through proper breathing and a peaceful attitude.

2. Your Legs

Riding on the back of your horse-friend means agreeing to respect some clear rules. Remember that your legs are the way to go! Horses respond better to leg pressure than pulling with the hand reins.

How it relates to my health: According to various scientific studies, the benefits of horse-riding include core strength, muscle tone and flexibility, cardiovascular exercise, balance and coordination, and last but not least, mental exercise.

3. Your Hands

Even if legs are an important part of the riding process, we should also pay attention to our hands as they are a valuable tool as well. You’ll want to keep your hands relaxed and pull the horse in the direction you want to move in, even when he doesn’t seem to be listening to your commands.

Failing to keep your hands relaxed can make your four-legged friend nervous; so, in order to keep both of you safe and on the right track, you’ll need to surrender and allow the trust to grow between you.

How it relates to my health: Being relaxed is an important part of being alive. When you are compelled to calm down your horse, you will learn how to calm yourself down in any stressful situation.

4. Your Emotional Body

Dr. Allan Hamilton, a Harvard-trained brain surgeon, shares his opinion with us. “I call horses ‘divine mirrors’ – they reflect back the emotions you put in. If you put in love and respect and kindness and curiosity, the horse will return that,” writes Hamilton.

How it relates to my health: When working with horses, we should always keep our emotions in a healthy balance, even when unexpected events pop up. Proceeding otherwise will do nothing but stir the horse, who in turn, will stir us; it’s a never-ending loop! The answer will always be keeping calm and serene, which will help us develop a healthy view of life.

5. Your Body Language

Your body language will nevertheless influence your horse’s behavior. Horses are sensitive, loving, kind, gentle, and very smart – they are able to guess your mood in a hot second. Thus, make sure you develop an accepting attitude towards your best friend rather than a condemning position, even when or if he needs to be corrected.

How it relates to my health: Learning to react positively even when circumstances don’t allow it will have a highly beneficial effect on your life. You will learn that positive thinking, patience, and composure are the answers to overcoming life challenges; thus, nothing will stop you from accomplishing your goals anymore. You’ll become fearless, adventurous, and self-confident.

6. Your Eyes

Your eyes are a powerful tool. Horses understand hard eyes, angry eyes, loving eyes, happy eyes, etc. If you are pissed at your horse, don’t yell at her. Just give it “that look,” and she’ll implicitly know how to react, whether that means stopping an action she’s performing or continuing what she’s already doing.

How it relates to my health: Eye-contact helps strengthen your self-confidence skills and develop a socially-friendly attitude. You’ll be able to tell people your honest opinion faster and more promptly. You will understand what a trustworthy relationship feels like.

7. Your Breathing

If you have a hard time concentrating on your actions while riding or lose focus easily in general, you must start breathing properly. “There are many breathing techniques out there that will do the job, but make sure you pick the right one for you. Meditation is a good place to start!” writes Dana Johnson, HR Manager at and APA-accredited Life Coach.

How it relates to my health: Breathing = living.

8. Extra Questions for Self-Evaluation

There are two more points I want to touch base with. First, how assertive are you? And second, what does your horse’s body language tell you?

  • How assertive are you? You can’t lose it even when your horse refuses to listen to your commands. I know this could be frustrating, but developing an assertive attitude is a good start. Your horse must know what he is doing and understand your commands properly. Therefore, you can’t afford to be unconfident in your actions or decisions.
  • What does your horse’s body language tell you? Watching your horse’s body language closely is another great method of bonding. Horses will express their emotions through body language, so if you learn how to read it, you’ll become even closer to your four-legged friend.

Wrapping Up

Equine-assisted therapy is a relatively new concept in the medical world. People are starting to realize how important animal contact is to humans. In the end, we are all an interconnected web of energetical activity, so connecting with horses to develop our inner beings is a beautiful step towards a balanced life.

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