Laughter is one of the most important things to master as equestrians.
Yes, that’s right, I said it… LAUGHTER. Sometimes as riders, we take our goals too seriously. We take our schooling and training sessions seriously. We take our riding lessons seriously. We take show day seriously. And we forget the most important thing of all. To have fun with our horses.
So you might be wondering, can something as silly as smiling on horseback or laughing out loud actually help improve your riding?
Yes, yes it can.
Here’s how: Laughing relaxes your body. You cannot be tense and holding your breath while laughing (something many riders do when they are nervous or curling forward into a fetal position.) Holding your breath while riding can have a variety of negative effects on your position and can even help aid in the “unscheduled dismount.” Laughter relaxes your horse!
Horses are herd animals. They react and respond to the mood and energy of the herd. If the herd is relaxed and happy, they will also feel relaxed and safe enough to have a roll or maybe even take a snooze in the sunshine. As riders, we aim to be the horse’s “alpha” — the one that determines the energy and safety factory.
So if we, as herd leader, are nervous, tense or scared, our horse’s will feed off that energy immediately. If we are relaxed, smiling and happy, our horses will also feed off of that energy. Having a good laugh actually leaves your body relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. That could be huge if you are going for a longer ride.
Laughter helps to engage your abs (your “core” riding muscles). This can help with a more independent seat and the ability to feel more “at one” and connection with your horse.
When you laugh, you are having FUN. And if you have FUN, chances are, your horse will have FUN too. A horse that has fun is more likely to perform better, try harder and go above and beyond for their rider. Horses have saved human beings lives simply because the owner and the horse had fun together.
These are just a few benefits of laughter and horses. So maybe the next time you head out to the stables you bring your joke book along.
And as an extra bonus here’s one to get you started
“Did you hear about the man who was hospitalized with six plastic horses inside him?
The doctor described his condition as stable.”