How Horses Can Improve Your Health

Three horses

Horses, in general, contribute roughly $9.2 billion to the US economy. Whether they're helping plow fields, move food and supplies into rural areas; move livestock in ranches; or provide sweet, thoughtful equine therapy, horses have woven themselves into the fabric of life in America.

Why Horses Make Our Lives Better

Equestrians love the spirit of competition that comes with riding in horse shows. Farmers need horses to manage everyday tasks. And plenty of people in between enjoys going for the occasional horseback ride. Horses bring a sense of enjoyment and camaraderie into people's lives across the world.

National Day of the Horse

National Day of the Horse, a.k.a National Horse Day, was established in 2004 when the Senate passed Resolution 452 and made December 13 an official federal observance.

National Day of the Horse

Horses were brought into North America by Spanish Explorers, and they eventually spread across the Great Plains. Since arriving in the country, horses have played a massive part in the economic advancement of the United States. It is estimated that there are only 9.2 million horses in the United States, and they have helped contribute around $9.2 billion to the nation's economy. That means each horse contributes roughly one thousand dollars to the American economy every year, and all they ask for are carrots and apples.

Horses are Extremely Intelligent

Horses are intelligent creatures, and there are studies to prove it.

Research published in 2012 found that horses use input from several senses to identify and remember people. The horses could distinguish between a familiar and unfamiliar human by their voices alone (without using sight or smell). The horses could also do the opposite, telling the difference using just the sight and smell of the people, not hearing their voices.

Meanwhile, the Equine Research Foundation has disproven an assumption about horses that they cannot transfer information between different sides of the brain. Their study found that horses were quickly able to employ this skill of interocular transfer, recognizing objects with one eye that they had learned about with the other.

Horses' ears are very telling. Each ear contains ten muscles (compared to humans' three) and can move 180 degrees, from facing directly forward to directly backward. They can distinguish and identify distinct sounds by directing their hearing to specific areas.

Horses also use their ears to communicate by pinning them back to indicate anger or for guidance. In a 2014 study by the University of Sussex, horses were found to make decisions based on where another's ears were pointing, telling us that the animals may use their ears to direct each other.

Horses are built for survival! They have no natural predators and can live up to 40 years in the wild.

How to Celebrate National Horse Day

Horse with a woman

There are many different ways to celebrate National Horse Day for all those who own or don't own a horse.

Some of the most popular ways to celebrate National Horse Day are:

        ★  Go for a horse ride with your friends and family. (Remember to wear protective gear when riding).

        ★  Read your favorite books about horses. Some might include National Velvet by Enid Bagnold or The Red Pony by John Steinbeck.

        ★  Volunteer at your local rescue or shelter to help care for abandoned horses. It is always hard work, but it's worth it!

        ★ Donate to a charity. Lots of organizations are dedicated to helping horses. Do some research and find out how you can help.

        ★ Netflix and chill. Curl up on the couch and watch some of the fantastic movies about horses. Seabiscuit and Black Beauty, just to name a couple.

Horses have been our companions for thousands of years. We've bonded with horses for a long time, so it only makes sense that there is a whole day dedicated to them! Take some time today and give thanks for everything the equestrians have done for us and continue doing for us.