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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Sharing Heartbeats with Horses

A horse’s heart beats more slowly than a human’s—28 to 40 times per minute on average, while human hearts beat 60 to 100 times per minute—and that is why they are so calming. Science is now able to understand some of the physiological reasons for that calming connection. Because we are both mammals, our nervous systems, responsible for regulating our heartbeat among other automatic responses in our body and mind, naturally try to synchronize, or “couple” with those around us through co-regulation.

Basically, our nervous systems influence one another and try to match up. Because a horse’s heart rate is so much slower, ours will slow down to couple with theirs, which allows our nervous system to slow down, relax and regulate, giving us that calm feeling. Horse lovers often talk about the connection they feel, and how that connection is soothing. Our breathing and heart rate may slow, our bodies may relax and a feeling of safety, acceptance or belonging settles over us.

Meagan Good, MA, LPC, NLT-2, is the counselor and founder of Take Heart Counseling & Equine Assisted Therapy, located at 699 Wooltown Rd., in Wernersville. For more information, call 717-917-7137 or visit