Equine-assisted therapy can help those struggling with a variety of psychological disorders. With the guidance of a specially trained equine therapist, clients learn to face fears, address emotional roadblocks and past trauma, and develop trust and non-verbal communication skills. Equine therapy activities may include experiential interactions with horses as well as grooming and caring for them. These activities provide an opportunity for metaphorical learning while processing emotions that arise during equine activities.
What Is Equine Therapy?
Equine therapy (also called equine-assisted therapy or horse therapy) is the practice of using horses to provide metaphoric experiences for promoting emotional growth through a number of equine exercises and activities. Equine therapy may also include instruction in horse care, grooming and basic riding.
Guided by a specially trained equine therapist, clients learn to recognize the ways horses learn, react to and follow instructions. Clients build self-confidence through the neutral activity of interacting with horses. Equine therapy can provide insight into a client’s own emotions as well as how they are perceived by others through nonverbal cues.
Big, powerful, compassionate and socially expressive — these are the characteristics of horses that make them ideal companions for people who are trying to heal from addiction, trauma, mood disorders, grief and loss, relationship issues, and many other physical and mental health issues.
Horses are nonjudgmental. They don’t make assumptions about a person in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, who has problems communicating with others, or who feels isolated and afraid. They are, however, highly attuned to human emotions, which can sometimes provide a mirror to people who are not in touch with what they are feeling or unaware of how they are perceived by those around them.
Benefits of Equine Therapy
There are numerous benefits to equine-assisted therapy. These may include:
- Learning how to communicate
- Decreased isolation
- Gaining a sense of perspective
- Increasing trust
- Improved sense of self-efficacy, confidence and self-acceptance
- Better impulse control
- Improved ability to understand and respect boundaries
- Finding a spiritual connection
Horses also require care and attention. In this regard, equine therapy provides a ready-made opportunity for animal-human bonding. When a client learns how to groom and care for a horse, other concerns tend to slip into the background and they stay focused on the present moment. The one-on-one interaction between client and horse is special, as if each gains just as much from the connection as the other.
To learn more about Equine Therapy, call 17135283709