We know we feel more at peace when we are around our ponies, but when science backs it up…

No wonder they are so good for our souls and so very useful in Equine Assisted Therapy Sessions or your weekly riding lesson…..and breathe.

Recent studies conducted by the Institute of Heart-Math provide a clue to explain the two-way ′′healing′′ that occurs when we’re close to horses.

According to researchers, the heart has an electromagnetic field larger than the brain: a magnetometer can measure the energy field of the heart that radiates from 2.4 meters to 3 meters around the human body.

While this is certainly significant, perhaps more impressive than the electromagnetic field projected by the heart of a horse is five times larger than that of a human being (imagine an electromagnetic sphere around the horse) and it can influence straight into our own heart rate.

Horses are also likely to have what science has identified as a “coherent′′ heart rate (heart rate pattern) that explains why we can feel better when we’re close to them. Studies have found a coherent heart pattern or HRV to be a solid measure of well-being and consistent with emotional states of calm and joy-that is, we exhibit such patterns when we feel positive emotions.

A coherent heart pattern is indicative of a system that can recover and adapt to stressful situations very efficiently. Many times, we just need to be in the presence of horses to feel a sense of well-being and peace.

In fact, research shows that people experience many physiological benefits by interacting with horses, including lower blood pressure and heart rate, higher beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters acting as pain suppressors), decreased stress levels, decreased feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, better social working; and greater feelings of empowerment, confidence, patience and self-efficacy.

By Alejandro Pascual Puig | May 2024


The artist is Valerie Eric. The copyright holder is Sarah Barnes, HeartMath certified practitioner. The image was inspired following a riding lesson on heart connection.