People tend to enjoy owning pets of various kinds. Some people like dogs and cats while others lean towards much bigger friends: horses.
Studies are done all the time to determine the benefits of owning different kinds of pets, such as a recent study that was just completed in Western North Carolina, Northern Virginia, and Northern Florida that ultimately revealed that women who own horses are more likely to live 15 years longer than women who don’t own horses (1)!
Horses: A Woman’s Best Friend
Apparently “horsey” and non “horsey women are showing some startling results,” thanks to some testing done at several colleges. A double-blind study followed women of widely varying age groups for over a forty-year time-frame in order to capture some striking and objective data (1). Scientists have discovered that when a woman owns a horse, her life expectancy increases up to 15 years (2). Scientists reached this interesting conclusion after analyzing statistics from over fifty countries, including a pool of women who did own horses as well as many who did not (2).
The study separated women into two groups: those who have owned horses for at least five years and those who do not qualify as horse owners (1). Ultimately, the study discovered that “In countries like Spain, the life expectancy difference between women who own horses and women who don’t is about 16.5 percent. In other countries, such as the United States, the difference is about 14.7 percent” (2). Several factors influence the testing results, but the overall average is an increase of 15 years for women who own horses (2).
Do We Know The Why Behind This?
The scientists admit that they don’t have any clear idea about why this is, claiming that their duties were simply to complete the testing and reap the results (2). Analyzed data reveals an increase in life expectancy for horse owners without providing a thorough reason for why.
According to Gary Cockburn, one of the lead scientists of the studies, “It’s now up to doctors, biologists, and/or psychologists to investigate why having horses is so good for women” (2).
Suggestions for why this is includes a variety of reasons. Outdoor exposure and regular socialization are both common happenings amongst women with horses and are likely contributors to the substantial increase in longevity (1). However, many horse owners unanimously agree that their horses are often a contributor to their sense of well-being (1). Women who own horses tend to be less symptomatic in situations such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and other heart related health issues, all possibly contributing to their increase in years (1).
While it’s ultimately still unclear as to why women who own horses have such an increase in longevity, there are a lot of possibilities, including outdoor activities, regular exercise, and consistent socialization. So while it’s certainly enjoyable to cuddle up with your pups and kittens, maybe it’s time you look into adding a pony to your pet mix!
Written by Abbey Ryan-Elder