Horses and humans have lived side-by-side for thousands of years. These amazing creatures have enabled us to travel great distances, hunt larger, faster prey and escape our predators. Then, they became the backbone of our agriculture and larger-scale transport, working on farms, in mines and on roads in cities. They even (so sadly) were alongside the brave men who fought and died for freedom in wars until just 100 years ago. But the advent of widespread, cheaper motor vehicles eventually shifted our horses more towards being our companions, pets and athletes and away from existing as working animals. Of course, there are still countries where equines are purely working animals and rely on being valued by their owners or the help of charities to have a good life.
The most precious connection
That emotional connection with horses is what makes being with them so special, in my mind. I’ve always felt pure happiness just spending time with my horses. Whether I’m feeding, grooming, turning them out, tidying the yard or waiting for the farrier, I just love every moment with these extraordinary animals. Don’t get me wrong, of course I love riding too! The freedom of being in the saddle and enjoying the height, speed and power of riding a horse. Working on my partnership with them to build a connection and mutual respect is a guaranteed mood-booster. And I’m not alone. The mental health benefits of being around horses have been proven over and over. A study commissioned by the British Horse Society showed riding helps to raise levels of the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin, boosts self-esteem, and helps people manage negative feelings.
Saying ‘thank you’ to our horses
So, what do horses get out of this partnership? One thing I always remind myself of (and it amazes me every time I think about it) is that a horse is half a ton of flight animal. They are incredibly sensitive and perceptive, and they allow humans (so often not perceptive and almost always wrapped up in our own thoughts and fears!) to ride on their backs. It’s just incredible when you really think about it! They join in with our hacks, lessons, jumping sessions and more, hopefully enjoying them as much as we do. And that’s why I just love to spoil my horses in any way I can. From making sure that they have the very best feed and care possible, to ensuring that their tack fits perfectly and that I’m riding them with compassion and focus every time.
Spoiling horses doesn’t have to stop with stable chores and tack either… my best-selling gift boxes last year were the personalised grooming brushes. The beautiful wooden backs and personalisation might be people pleasers, but they are just lovely for horses too! The natural bristles are designed to lift dirt, sweat and dead skin from the surface and leave the coat clean and shiny. Just imagine how amazing that must feel for the horse? Like the feeling of clean, swishy hair after a visit to the hairdresser, I hope!
Gorgeous grooming goodies for lucky horses
There are also gift boxes with other treats to help you pamper your horse. The Naturally Clean box includes Topline Naturals organic shampoo and leather balm and a microfibre cloth alongside a personalised dandy brush to get a real show-day finish. Or what about ‘It’s All About the Hoof’, which has everything you need to keep their hooves in tip top shape? However, you choose to go about it, a good grooming session will help build that all-important bond with your horse and hopefully be relaxing for you both. That’s a lovely way to say ‘thank you’ for their partnership and patience with us humans, don’t you think?