Why Do We Love Horses So Much?
The majestic horse; a creature that not only defined our history but enabled us to become the global culture that we are today. It can be argued that without the horse, humanity would be limited, even today, to pockets of isolated primitive tribes.
The horse enabled us to travel further and faster and to carry heavier loads. This symbiotic relationship turned small tribes into continent-spanning empires.
But this is not a history channel and we believe there has to be more to our love for horses than just their ability to carry us around on their backs.
Let’s take a deeper look at the horse and humanity and get to know why we love horses so much.
10. Horses carry us back to simpler times.
Before the advent of the train and the automobile, if someone wanted to travel from point A to point B, they had only a few options. Walking or an animal. While we did domesticate other animals that were capable of carrying us or pulling carts; donkeys, mules, oxen, camels, and even elephants, no animal represents the freedom than the quick and nimble horse to move around freely.
Perhaps we romanticize that past, and perhaps those times were not simpler, but in our collective mind, the horse represents a simpler time like no other creature on this planet.
What better way to return to natural old fashion ways than to ride a horse. They don’t make loud mechanical noise or leave nasty exhaust fumes. They don’t deplete the ozone or create hazardous waste.
9. Horses are creatures of beauty.
Few would disagree with that statement. Horses are beautiful animals. Did you know that horses have the largest eyes of any land mammal?
We are attracted to this beauty and grace. Perhaps the most captured creature in art is the horse from cave paintings from 16,000 years ago to Renaissance to Modern art. Artists throughout human history have featured the horse singly or as a mount for famous people.
Horses are seen as the perfect combination of form and function. A graceful beast with rippling muscles, yet soft and approachable.
But, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, tell us why you think horses are beautiful.
8. Horses are engrained in our mythos.
We have domesticated animals for a very long time, mostly for food. But one animal was too important, too resourceful too slaughter for meat, according to Alternate History Hub. It was different from the goats and cows; the horse.
Horses have been featured in art throughout much of human history, but they penetrated much deeper into our culture than just our art.
Horses have featured prominently in our mythology and religions, from pulling the chariots of the gods to ushering in the apocalypse.
But in our mythology, a horse is not always a horse. We have unicorns, Pegusis, and even half-man half-horse Centaurs. Each of these mythical creatures based on a horse, but with their own unique abilities.
And horses are likely the most important animal in human history. For more information about that, check out the video by Alternate History Hub in the description.
7. Horses provide a sense of freedom and adventure.
Your mind wanders as you explore country lanes, woods, bridle paths, and cinder tracks. You go at your own pace – a sedate trot or a full out gallop. The overwhelming feeling is one of freedom.
In the saddle, you’re only a few yards off the ground but this affords you a different perspective on the world. You spot things you wouldn’t normally spot and, from your perch on a horse’s back, you are totally immersed in the natural environment. You can reach out and pick leaves off the trees as you pass, you can pause to watch a bird eating berries or bring your horse to a halt to admire a lovely view. You can’t help but live in the moment, at one with your horse and nature, because there are no other distractions.
6. Horses encourage an active healthy lifestyle.
When you are riding a horse, you are not simply sitting atop it as it carries you from point A to point B.
Horseback riding builds muscle and core strength, balance and coordination as well as providing cardiovascular and mental exercise.
Horseback riding can burn up to 200 calories in 45 minutes at a walk and even more if you are pushing yourself and the horse harder, according to a study by Texas A&M.
5. Horses promote positive mental health and relaxation
Humans and horses have maintained a healthy relationship for millennia — research suggests people first domesticated the large ungulates 6,000 years ago in the western region of the Eurasian Steppe.
Horses today have become key players in the mental rehabilitation of many people around the world.
How horses help with mental or behavioral issues hasn’t been completely worked out by scientists but as prey animals, horses are attuned to their environment and the people around them. They can sense the emotions of their rider and respond accordingly.
Horses can put people at ease because they’re unbiased and non-judgmental, responding only to people’s intent and behavior. What’s more, they’re social animals with their own personalities and are most willing to interact when people are engaged and work to build a relationship with them.
But, also, the time we spend with a horse is a time we spend tuning out the often hectic world we live in.
4. Being around horses has a therapeutic effect.
Anyone who’s spent time around horses knows what a therapeutic effect they can have. But the evidence of such benefits has been mostly anecdotal. Until New Mexico State University Associate Professor of Social Work Wanda Whittlesey-Jerome set herself the task of proving those long-known effects with evidence-based research centered around equine-assisted psychotherapy.
By developing relationships with their horses and with each other, participants in her studies gain valuable insight into themselves and the struggles they face in life.
Her studies seem to be proving an old adage, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
3. They help you to socialize.
Horses are social animals and horses are at their best when they are with other horses. There are a number of ways to provide your horse with the social interaction it needs, but if you only have one horse, then chances are you will spend a significant amount of time with like-minded horse lovers.
You’ll want to get to know your local riding community. Don’t worry, they’ll be easy to find. I’m sure there’s even a local group or two on Facebook.
You and your horse both benefit from reaching out to the riding community and you will likely make some lifelong friends from your venture.
2. Horses provide a sense of empowerment.
The most common explanation for why we love horses so much has to do with empowerment. Horses are large, powerful animals that can be intimidating. Few would dispute that, we are attracted to this power.
Learning how to control a large 1,200-pound animal and having that animal do what you want it to do, when you want it to do it, is a truly empowering aspect of being around horses. Riders become empowered to control a large animal that most people know nothing about nor how to handle.
1. A horse is a loyal partner.
Horses have been domesticated as our partners. They get emotionally attached to us, just like a dog, maybe even more so.
Like dogs, the depth of the connection depends greatly on several things, not the least of which is the amount of time the human spends with the animal.
Studies suggest that horses will remember a friend forever, even after long periods of separation. Horses don’t consider you as part of their herd but as something different and more special; a provider, a caretaker and a source of comfort. That’s a commitment you don’t get from other animals and why that commitment is the number one reason people love horses.
So, do you have a special bond with a horse? Tell us about it in the comments.
Who here has never even ridden a horse, but loves them anyway? We’d like to hear about that too.
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