Mind Body Spirit Fest brings miniature horses to campus

Health Services held its second annual “Mind Body Spirit Fest” in the Living Room on April 25. Students received tips on how to de-stress before final exams and interacted with two miniature horses that came to visit.

Health Services director Diane Lynch said in an email that the departments held this event last spring as a way to offer students the opportunity to have fun while picking up valuable tips on stress management and general wellness prior to exams.

Coby Dunn/Staff Photographer

“We wanted this event to engage students,” Lynch said. “We also wanted to share practical tips for real-life college challenges like getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, getting enough exercise and finding ways to manage stress. We believe there is a strong link between your physical, mental and spiritual health with your academic performance.”

Lynch said that they were motivated to host the event again after it became a “big hit” last year and that they will consider continuing this tradition if students find it helpful and enjoyable. She added that the Athletics’ Recreational Services Department, Campus Ministry, and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) co-sponsored and presented at the event.

“It’s a great way to remind students of the resources available to them on campus and our commitment to their success and health,” Lynch said.

Many students came to see the miniature horses brought to campus by Hope’s Promise, a farm that provides special Equine-assisted activities and therapeutic programs to individuals with special needs. Lynch said that the horses are fun and represent the therapeutic role of animals relieving stress.

Maureen Coultas, the executive director of Hope’s Promise, said that she brought the horses to campus because she heard that students become really stressed out during final exams and that the horses were popular when she brought them last year.

“It’s proven that they (the horses) bring down stress levels, cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate,” Coultas said.

According to the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, horses are helpful and healing because they react and respond to their emotions based on their emotional state. Their intense sensitivity to the emotions of people is what helps them cope.

Coultas brought two miniature horses: Ravi, who is light brown and recently turned 1, and Noble, who is white and 2 years old.

Students had the opportunity to pet the horses, which ambled around with stylish sneakers on their feet. Coultas said that the horses had to wear the sneakers to avoid slipping in the rain.

Some students took selfies with Ravi and Noble and posted them on social media.

Avni Chawla, a freshman IT and business management major, posted her selfie on her Snapchat story “to make her friends jealous” about the miniature horses on campus.

“The horses were very adorable and relaxing,” Chawla said. “It was a unique twist the therapy animals brought to campus, since we usually have therapy dogs.”

Chawla said she has to take six final exams this semester and finish writing a few papers. She said she hopes the miniature horses will come back to campus next year.

“It was a nice way of de-stressing before finals,” she said. “They made the extremely rainy day a bit brighter.”

Liam Oakes can be reached at liam.oakes@student.shu.edu.

Author: Liam Oakes

Liam Oakes is the editor of the Campus Life section. He is a public relations major from Andover, New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter: @lm_oakes

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