Booming cow hugging service at the rate of 75 USD/hour
From the last 9 years, the Mountain House farm with 13.35 ha width near New York City has provided health care services using horses for tourists. Recently, they added cow hugging to their service list.
According to Suzanne Vullers, co-manager of the farm with her husband, during a trip to bring her two children to visit her hometown in the Netherlands, she discovered health benefits by hugging cows.
In a rural town of the Netherlands, the couple came across “koe knuffelen” which is “cow hugging”. This is a part of their half-day tour and belongs to a larger movement to encourage people to connect more with the rural life.
The cow hugging service has been implemented as a common form of stress-relieving therapy in several European countries such as Switzerland and the Netherlands. However, it is quite strange for Americans.
Therefore, the Vullers has experimented the service in the United States. She added two cows, Bonnie and Bella, to join the friendly horses of the farm in helping visitors relax in “Experience with Horse & Cow”.
“We do not think this turns out to be very strange in the US. Many are used to cats and dogs for therapy but never think about larger animals such as cows.” – said Vullers.
She also added that in fact, the slow heart rate and the temperate attitude of cows combined with the peaceful surrounding can really create relaxation for you.
Currently, Mountain House Farm offers only one or two cow hugging sessions per day limited to a maximum of 2 people. This 75 USD-per-hour experience is considered to help people stay healthy both physically and mentally.
2 humans supervise the therapy session: an equine therapist, usually Ms. Vullers, who can be an animal mood reader to guarantee a safe, positive interaction between the cows and their new human friends, as well as a second handler who manage other animals in the field.
Similar to other types of therapy, the aim is for guests to build trust, empathy, and connection with the cows and to get in touch with their emotions. Additional, like other forms of therapy, successful outcomes cannot be guaranteed.
The farm owners also emphasized that their farm was not a pet garden, so visitors who want to participate in “Experience with Horse & Cow” must be tried to see if they and the animals can co-support each other. Therefore, every cow hugging session needs to be scheduled in order not to interfere with the cows’ natural rhythm. Because, if the cows are not comfortable, they cannot transmit positive energy that makes humans relax.
By: Winston Stewart