The Other Beau by Ruth Waring
90 minutes a week spent learning about and riding horses significantly lowered daytime and afternoon stress hormone (cortisol) levels in participating 5th and 8th grade students…. The 12-week program taught students how to care for, groom, handle and interact with horses. Researchers surmise that working with horses holds potential as a therapy to improve mental health.
It was quite by accident…and rather timely…that I read this in a health magazine one week after I had started the very program mentioned in this mini report. Here I am, far from the 5th or 8th grade and I’m participating in a program that is reportedly helping to lower stress levels in children! Although I’m quite certain there are moments in my life when lowering my stress level would be welcomed, my intentions to participate in such a program were purely from curiosity—fed from my love for animals and my granddaughter, Laura’s passion for horses.
At the outset, allow me to acknowledge the infinite wisdom of those who, for decades, have walked the halls of their barns, endlessly mucked out stalls, habitually circled their arenas and faithfully fed, nursed and interacted daily with their various charges. I beg your indulgence and allow me the privilege of sharing from my experience—albeit extremely limited (to say the least!) and very likely to be short-lived.
I’ve learned—or perhaps I should say I have been reminded recently—that I need to “step out of the boat and walk on water.” To experience something new, something that will stretch my faith and demand growth, while at the same time, provide an opportunity to fulfill something I’ve longed to do. In all fairness, the topic was the pivotal point in a sermon, but I realized it not only applied to my spiritual life and growth, but my everyday living. It required a willingness to step out of my comfort zone and dare to do something different, challenging and rewarding.