Horses help nurses deal with stress

‘Barn to Bedside’ retreat provides coping skills for nurses

LOXAHATCHEE GROVES, Fla. — Nurses are spending a day of self-care at the Dovecot Farm in Loxahatchee Groves.

It’s the “Barn to Bedside” retreat for health care workers dealing with stress from the pandemic.

“As you know, health care has been super stressful and sometimes you get in a fog with everything going on,” said nurse Jenna Hallquist.” But here, it’s a time to get away from the stress and be around horses and nature, to teach yourself to have a few moments focus on yourself and what you need and how to clear your mind of all of that stuff.”

The pandemic is affecting nurses. Some are experiencing burnout or anxiety. But for a few hours, they’re learning coping skills. Read full story at »

The healing power of horses

Photo by Artem Podrez on

Horses have an incredible healing power, and they help countless people everyday through equine therapy. Equine therapy is emotional healing encouraged by interaction with horses. This helps people with various needs, ranging from anxiety and depression therapy to therapy for people on the autistic spectrum.

Of course, all horse lovers know what an incredible healing power horses have with humans; it doesn’t take long to experience it. Those who spend a lot of time around horses will not be surprised to hear that not only is this type of healing spiritual, but it is also scientific as well.

A study of human and horse heart rates showed that spending time with a horse can lead to heart rates syncing up, which can slow down the heart rate of someone who is feeling anxious and lead them to feel calm. Since heart rate is an involuntary stress response, the study was able to conclude that horse assisted therapy has positive results, particularly for at-risk youths.

Similarly, horses have been found to have the ability to read human body language. One study by the University of Essex found that they can tell the difference between submissive and dominant stances even with people they are not familiar with.

Horses are able to achieve this due to their social skills as herd animals. As reported by the Huffington Post, horses are hypervigilant creatures:

“[It] allows horses to detect the slightest sound, smell, or movement, any of which might indicate the presence of a life-threatening predator. Their ability to read with flawless accuracy not just the behavior of others but their silent intentions is what gives the horse the psychological mirroring expertise of the most gifted human therapist.”

Since this hypervigilance is also commonly observed in those with PTSD, it makes horses the perfect therapy animal for helping them.

As herd animals, horses acquire particular social qualities that further qualify them to be therapeutic to humans:

“To promote social harmony and keep the herd together, horses possess a number of evolutionary hardwired qualities. These include: being accepting, tolerant, kind, respectful, honest, fair, nonjudgmental, compassionate, and forgiving. All of these innate equine qualities are also utilized when a horse interacts with a human.”

Without a doubt, spending time with horses has an incredible healing power that can help just about anyone. 

Excerpted from article by Devin Morrissey »

Featured Image: Pexels Stock Photo

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