Feel like you need a break from the everyday stresses of life and just want to “hug it out”? This could be the therapy session you need: You can pay to spend the afternoon petting, playing with and cuddling cows — and horses, too!
The Mountain Horse Farm in upstate New York is offering a unique “Horse & Cow Experience,” which can involve petting or brushing the animals, going through an obstacle course together, or just watching them.
“They may nuzzle your hair, lick your hand, nicker at you, just hang out with you or initiate play,” according to the farm’s website. In other words, these cows and horses are very friendly.
Now, how’s that for total relaxation?
It turns out that spending time with large, gentle animals like horses and cows can have the same positive effects on us. These creatures “can bring relaxation, healing, awareness about your body language, comfort, mindfulness, build assertiveness, help with overcoming fear, build confidence, lets you be playful and teaches you to set boundaries,” Mountain Horse Farm’s website explained.
The Science Behind Animal-Assisted Therapy
According to researchers, there is merit to these claims:
“[A]nimal-assisted therapy [can have] positive outcomes and overall improved emotional well-being in those with autism, medical conditions, or behavioral issues,” Psychology Today says on its website, citing several studies on the topic. “[A]nimal-assisted therapy can be helpful for those battling illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, or addiction.”
Mountain Horse Farm guests can cuddle the animals alone, with a partner or a parent, or in small groups of four. A 90-minute session of the Horse & Cow Experience will run you $300 for two people and $395 for up to four people.
Spending time with just the cows will be $100 for up to two people for 45 minutes or $175 for up to four people for 45 minutes.
Other Places To Snuggle Furry Friends
Thankfully, the Mountain Horse Farm isn’t the only farm where you can pay to spend time with friendly animals.
There’s also a farm in Australia called Braidwood that allows you to “adopt” their “cuddle cows” and then come to the farm to visit with them.
The adoption is a symbolic gesture — meaning you won’t get to take your new friend home — but you will periodically receive updates on how your “cuddle cow” is doing.
Since the farm is located in New South Wales, Australia, you may be able to get in your vacation time and cow-cuddling time all in one trip!
How About A Therapy Pig?
That’s not all, though: You may even get to visit another farm animal on your way to Australia! The San Francisco International Airport features an adorable therapy pig on-hand for stressed or anxious travelers. Definitely consider a pit stop at SFO!
Or, You Might Like A Therapy Goat
If cows or pigs aren’t you’re thing, then what would you think about a therapy goat? They do exist! Recently, the University of Denver in Colorado brought in Dahlia the goat to give some of its law students a little cuddle time and a distraction from finals.
This isn’t the only campus that has turned to animal therapy to reduce pressure on students who are often away from home and studying hard, either. However, colleges like Wellesley College in Massachusetts are sticking with therapy dogs for stress relief.
A Camp With Therapy Llamas
Registered Therapy Llamas in Washington state specializes in bringing this tall, but adorable creatures to area nursing homes, schools and camps. The bigger the animal, the better the cuddles, perhaps?
So, animal lovers, make your travel plans accordingly — and enjoy!