According to the British Museum, horses were first domesticated around 3500 BC, ‘probably on the steppes of Southern Russia and Kazakhstan’. This development in the relationship between human and horse was integral for the development of society, as they enabled humans to travel further and transport goods for trade and weapons for wars.
Whilst in the UK, horses generally aren’t used for travel or transport these days, the relationship between human and horse is still valued by many. Here’s 5 reasons why we love horses and as owners continue to dedicate all our time and money to them:
Horses are social animals and the friendships we build with them can be some of our most important. As these friendships often span years, even decades. Many of us have grown up with the same horse so they’ve been there through thick and thin. Counting how many hours you’ve spent in their company is impossible, but time creates a unique bond that both of you benefit from.
As well as the connection we have with our horses, they also enable us to build friendships with likeminded people. Whether it’s through where your horse is kept, the local riding club or your horse support network many of the people we interact with often end up becoming some of our best friends and we seem to be able to spend hours chatting to them about, you guessed it…horses.
Riding is fun and good exercise. Regardless of whether you’re into dressage, showjumping, eventing, hacking or anything else that takes your fancy, like the well know saying goes, ‘no hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle’.
Horses like routine. Although they don’t wear watches, they seem to know when it’s dinner time, turn out time etc. This means that their owners generally must stick to a routine too when looking after them. This routine has several benefits for us owners, as it gets us out of bed in the morning, helps us to plan our days, gets us out of doing things we don’t want to do as we’ve got the excuse of “sorry I’ve got to do the horses” and prevents boredom. Horses gives us the opportunity to do something we love every day.
The 4 reasons above all help to support our mental health. Horses give us structure, they encourage us to socialise, they are great for exercise and just being around and handling horses is extremely therapeutic. Horses are emotionally intelligent animals and if you’re having a bad day they seem to know and will happily keep you company and after a few hours spent with your horse, life always seems a lot better.
There are many other reasons why we love horses, but hopefully these 5 will take away any guilt we may feel by wanting to spend so much of our time with them.