When children first learn to ride a horse, almost all will request to go faster. I have been working with a new student who is six years old and diagnosed with autism. He is no exception! He wants to go fast. On this day, when he asked Tully to trot, he became silent and rode with confidence. When he asked Tully to walk, he was beaming and thanked Tully. Why is it therapeutic to be around horses? Multiple reasons.
With the bombardment of digital information, horses offer us a break from digital overload. Children without phones watch over 3.5 hours of video content per day. With phones, some children (and adults!) are on a screen over 10 hours per day. Screen time not only impacts neurological development but also can interfere with creativity and sleep.
Horses are here for our rescue. They teach us to be present as well as the valuable skill of presence. This has different meanings depending on the context. With horses, presence is “the area immediately surrounding a great personage, especially a sovereign," as defined at Wordnik.
Horses make us feel like royalty. According to a study, the electromagnetic field projected by the horse's heart is five times greater than a human. A horse's heart rate can directly influence our heart rate. Children who are 7 to 12 years old have a resting heart rate between 70 and 120 beats per minute (BPM). A resting heart rate for a horse is 30 to 40 BPM. When a rider is attuned with a horse, their heart rate will lower. They will relax!
When this young student is riding, he unconsciously feels Tully's increased heart rate. When he asks Tully to walk, his heart rate lowers as the horse's heart rate lowers. This is often called a partnership.
In simple terms, horses let us be who we are. They don't judge. They are present. They sense our feelings before we do. Most importantly, they radiate their energy up to 3 meters (almost 10 feet) in distance. When we are near a horse, their electromagnetic field engulfs us, in such a way that we become larger in life. This young boy became a King for an instant. It shows in his expression.
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