When health issues are addressed in the news, physical fitness, nutrition and diseases tend to take the spotlight. However, mental health is another essential aspect of health, and one that often goes overlooked. By now, most of us have heard of the tragic passing of actor and comedian Robin Williams, whose struggles with bipolar disorder and substance abuse led to his apparent suicide.
I openly admit to having my own struggles with depression and anxiety, and I credit horses and horseback riding with helping me through my darkest and most tumultuous times. Spending time with these beautiful yet awkward, powerful yet sensitive, gentle yet ridiculous creatures has given me strength and support when I felt hopeless, and learning about horses’ needs has in turn motivated me to help them reach their fullest potential — both physically and mentally.
Go hug your horse today, and be there for those who might need your support through those bad times.
This Week in Horse Health News:
Share your horse’s innovative behavior: Germany’s University of Nürtingen are studying intelligence in horses, and they want you to participate! Researchers are looking for examples of innovative behavior, which is usually a sign of intelligence; if you know of a horse with particularly brainy problem-solving skills, fill out their questionnaire. [HorseTalk]
Rethink rest before refuel: An Italian study has concluded that after intense exercise, horses should be allowed to eat and drink freely in order to replenish lost water and nutrients. This counters many common horse management practices that have set mealtimes for horses, regardless of their exercise regimen. [The Horse]
Hamilton BioVet is offering a free two-month trial to the lucky winner who shared the story of why their horse would benefit from the UltrOZ Therapeutic Ultrasound System. We need you to help us decide the winner! Be sure to vote for your favorite finalist by 5 p.m. EST today! [Vote for UltrOZ Trial Winner]
Saddle fit mythbusters: While researchers found that the type of saddle has little to no influence on a horse’s movement, they determined that treeless saddles cause more pressure points on horses’ backs than saddles with trees. They concluded that it doesn’t really matter what type of saddle you ride in — whether it’s a dressage saddle, jumping saddle, or Western saddle — as long as it has a structure that fits the horse and evenly distributes the rider’s weight across the horse’s back. [The Horse]
Mommy knows best: A Danish study shows that foals can become habituated to fearful situations through “social transmission” from their mothers, or following behavioral cues from the mares when exposed to potentially frightening objects. [HorseTalk]
Video of the Day: And now, because I can only handle so much heavy stuff before I go straight for hilarious stuff, I present to you horses making fart sounds with their mouths. You’re welcome.