How Horses Heal My Soul: 4 Ways Horse Helped Me Lose Weight & Get My ‘Happy’ Back


Weight loss is hard. You’re continually facing challenging emotions. It’s easy to question yourself and feel like a failure. As your body changes, it’s natural to feel tired, hungry, and super emotional. I want you to know if you are struggling with your weight loss journey, you are not alone. It’s normal to feel this way.

In this article, I want to share how horses heal my soul and help me feel inspired when the going gets tough.

Horses are my therapy when I’m working on my fitness or whenever life feels like more than I can bear.

Horses heal.

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When I have a crappy day and feel horrible, there is something proven to help me feel better. I can head down to the barn, walk in my horse’s pen, put the halter on him, and start bushing. Ahhhhh, the relief starts to come… His smell, I love his smell. I love how he seems to enjoy me brushing him. I love how pretty he looks when we get all the dirt and dust off. Then I saddle him and put on his bridle. Now I’m on, and we’re moving off... MORE relief… Here comes easing into a trot... As we move around the arena, I feel lighter, free. As we hit the lope, I’m feeling his presence, his cadence and rhythm... I can fully immerse myself in the present moment... And then it’s like magic. The bad, crappy feelings in my gut vanish, and I feel connected and calmer. I’m out of my head and in the present moment. I feel better.

I’ve done it time and time again. It ALWAYS works to make me feel better.

But WHY does it work? Let’s take a closer look at my theory.

Four Reasons Why You Need Horses as Therapy

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1 | Horses help you feel good

When you’re at the barn, walking to your horse’s pen, catching him, brushing him, saddling, and riding him, you are technically engaged in low-intensity cardio. Yep, you are exercising! I’m excited to say the benefits are not just physical.

Study after study shows exercise can boost mood, and help you cope with anxiety and depression. As you are moving around, getting ready to ride, or even just doing chores, your body is releasing the “feel-good” hormones called endorphins. This process is a GOOD thing. Yippee!

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2 | Horses help you get out of your own head

What do you need most when you’re feeling blue? A mind shift, literally. For me, the voice in my head talks and talks and talks. And when it gets on a roll about a negative topic, look out! It creates a fierce momentum! Have you ever felt like your mind is on a runaway train and you can’t stop it’s mean harsh judgments? I have!

As soon as I show up at the barn, get out of the pick-up and grab the halter to catch my horse, my mind calms down and forgets about my troubles. It’s almost like magic. I get out of my head and stop telling the sad story because I am focusing on something I love.

3 | Horses are love

Horses always love you because love is who they are. Getting outside, being in nature, and connecting to another life that has no judgments, only love for who you are, is magical. Words fall short of describing the feeling. But I bet you know what I mean, right? With horses, there are no judgments; they aren’t looking down at you for messing up. They see your value and reflect that sense of worthiness to you. For those uplifting feelings, let’s be eternally grateful.

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4 | Horses give you freedom

Horses give you space to disconnect from a hectic world. I don’t have cellular service or wifi at the barn, so there are zero distractions from social media notifications, emails, texts or calls. The cell phone is off limits except for taking fun pics of our ride. Oh, the peace and calmness I feel from disconnecting, even if it’s only for an hour or two!

Now, it’s your turn...

I hope you feel inspired to spend more time with your horse. I hope you stop putting your riding time on the back burner and figure out how to spend more time at the barn. Horses are therapy, and they will heal your soul. You have to make the first move, though. They are waiting.

Do you need help? Join our Cowgirl Up Fitness Community on Facebook. It’s a fun place to connect with other horsewomen on their fitness journey.

If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend who might be struggling on their weight loss journey, and needing a little horse therapy sesh.

Thanks for reading!

Andrea Otley