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6 Ways Horses Help You Develop Life Skills You Wish You Had Earlier

It can be challenging to keep up in a world that moves at lightning speed. The evidence is there, and life seems to demand more as we demand more out of life.

But one of the things that can slow you down is feeling burnt out and unfulfilled. Of course, it’s natural for people to feel this way sometimes; we all have our ups and downs. What’s important is how we choose to react in those moments.

Perhaps you find yourself feeling burned out and unfulfilled because you need a change of pace, or maybe your life feels stale because you’re lacking something in your day-to-day routine. Perhaps you simply need some inspiration to shake things up!

Here are six ways horses help you develop life skills you wish you had earlier:

Horses teach you the power of patience and persistence.

Do you know those skills you wish you had learned earlier in life? Well, horses can help you develop those abilities. Learning to be patient with a horse and yourself will benefit you in every domain of your life.

Patience is a vital life skill that most people don’t master as they go through life; some are always busy trying to force things through. These can lead to a very frenetic way of being in the world.

When you’re learning with a horse, you will encounter all types of challenges: from learning how to stay connected with your horse partner without the use of words to exploring what it is like to be empathetic, compassionate and caring in a healthy and productive way.

By their very nature, Horses are creatures who thrive on clarity and play. When you partner with horses, you will find that patience is required in every situation. Patience will get you through those moments when you are confused and uncertain about what to do, and your horse partner will support you the entire way.

It’s easy to get discouraged and frustrated when you’re not seeing results as quickly as you’d like or things aren’t going the way you’d planned. This is where the power of patience comes in. Be patient with yourself, and your horse will guide you the rest of the way, and you will find yourself moving forward steadily. A pace that keeps you rejuvenated and feeling free.

Horses build your capacity to be empathetic and compassionate.

Empathy and compassion are states of being that have never been more needed in the world today, yet some people are finding it hard to find these states inside them.

Building your capacity to be empathetic and compassionate is something you can do with your work with a horse. And why is this important? Because being empathetic and compassionate is an indicator of overall health and wellness. It’s also a vital ingredient to good relationships in your life. Empathy is the ability to be curious and try to understand another person’s feelings. You can develop this in your relationship with your horse by exploring how he feels in particular activities at particular times.

You will be surprised at how quickly you will be able to sense your horse’s emotions. Feeling what they feel will allow you to better understand them as a being and hone your empathetic skills, something many people need to do.

Horses help you learn to set boundaries and say no.

If you agree to things you may not have time for or want to do, you struggle with setting clear boundaries.

Your boundaries identify your sacred space, the circle around you that people, even your closest loved ones, need permission to enter. This circle of sacred space includes your time and presence as well.

Recognizing that you’ve said yes to too much and need to set a boundary with someone shows a lot of maturity and strength.

If you struggle with your boundaries, your horse partner will know that and challenge you to set boundaries with your horse respectfully and mutually beneficially way. If he tries to get away with pushing his comfort level, you can use those same skills to set the boundaries with him.

Horses boost your courage and build your self-confidence.

Building your courage and self-confidence is another life skill that horses can help you develop. It takes courage to learn with a horse, explore new parts of yourself that may be previously unexplored and acknowledge feelings that have been locked away inside.

There will be times when you feel like you just can’t do it, but your horse partner will be right there by your side, supporting the want and encouraging you to learn.

Horses can also help boost your confidence in other areas of your life. For example, working with your horse can help you regain confidence and calm if you feel overwhelmed or anxious. Horses have a way of creating a space for our emotions to regulate and help us reach inside to find that inner strength.

Horses teach you to recognize and appreciate your sense of wonder.

It’s easy to get so caught up in everyday life that you lose sight of the wonder around you. Horses can help you step back and appreciate the little things and the wonders of nature.

Horses are creatures that feed off the energy of the people around them. Their curiosity and keen senses can be a great reminder of all the things you might be missing out on as you go about your daily routine.

Horses can help you step back from your life and evaluate where you are and where you want to be. They can help you better understand what your life needs for you to thrive.

Horses help you develop your own unique brand of resilience.

Resilience is the ability to adapt, persevere, sustain, and prevail in the face of challenges, obstacles and adversities.

Horses are resilient by nature, just as we are, and a horse does not forget that like we sometimes do.

Resilience is a life skill associated with success, health and overall wellness. Horses can help you develop this vital life skill.

Horses can help you develop grit in two ways. First, they can present challenges and obstacles that create a scenario where you need to persevere. And second, they can help you develop a better sense of who you are in body, mind and spirit.


Horses are incredible beings that can help you develop essential life and leadership skills. Horses invite us to the world of the unspoken. This energetic world of sensation and feeling is an untapped well of empowerment for most people and, once introduced, can catapult you forward in healthy and unexpected ways.

I have been a client and a practitioner of Equine Guided Facilitation for twenty-plus years. The personal and professional benefits are real, tangible and measurable in all facets of my life, as I am sure they would be in yours.


Dave is a Leadership and Life Coach living in Steveston, B.C., Canada.

Dave’s expertise is with individuals and teams who feel stressed out and exhausted and know that they want something different.

In 2017, Dave left a career as a Senior Manager at a large Local Government organization to start Small Pause Coaching & Consulting. His philosophy about taking a pause and inviting in a new conversation, a deeper conversation, has supported hundreds of individuals and organizational clients.

He is a Certified HeartMath® Coach & Mentor, a Certified Trauma-sensitive HeartMath® Practitioner, a trained Equine Guided Learning Facilitator and a Certified Coach with the International Coaches Federation (ICF). Dave took his coaches training at the Newfield Network in Boulder, Colorado.

You can learn more about his work at or look him up on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.

Dave also expresses his creativity through the Small Pause Shop, where he designs apparel that supports living life ‘inside the pause.’

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