Louise finds that riding can help her feel better on even the toughest of days

Louise finds that riding can help her feel better on even the toughest of days

"having a realistic goal really helps"

Your Horse reader, Louise Maynard suffers from PTSD, anxiety and severe depression. For her, raising awareness of mental health is important and she believes that the power of horses can help to get people through the toughest of days. In fact, by spending time with horses and hacking out, she’s found a way to cope

“My doctor has said I’m the first patient to be ‘prescribed’ horse riding,” she says. “#Hack1000miles has come just at the right time for my recovery. On days that I am unmotivated to push forward, I look at my chart and it gives me a focus and an achievable goal, which is roughly 20 miles a week.

“Getting out the house can seem impossible, and on some days, it is. Exhaustion from not sleeping, or broken sleep, also the effects of the body from being in flight or fight mode constantly. If you can imagine when you go to a job interview or something that you have high levels of adrenaline, afterwards you feel absolutely exhausted, that is the best way to describe the fatigue and exhaustion I feel.”

Louise enjoying a guided ride on guided ride from Marston Moretaine

Louise enjoying a guided ride on guided ride from Marston Moretaine

But, on the days that Louise feels overwhelmed by her illness, she has the support of her family, and her horses, to help her through.

“This illness does not fit with the constraints of family life - children, two dogs and 2.5 horses (the 0.5 is our cheeky pony, a Welsh Section B!). However, my older daughter of 23 years, Sacha, is there on standby for me, making sure the horses are always done. She keeps her horse on the same yard and supports me to get me out riding. My husband too has never seen the horses so much (he normally avoids the yard) as he comes with me on days I really struggle. He is such a Superstar.

“I have come to accept that I have these days and having a realistic goal really helps with the sense of achievement. Other than that, I take it one day at a time, day by day to recovery.”

Do you have a story to tell like Louise? Get in touch with us by emailing getinvolved@yourhorse.co.uk