EQUINE THERAPY: The preferred option for many
Equine Therapy differs in that it allows people to take a more active role in their recovery by exploring their own solutions to issues via feedback from the horses. For clients, taking this lead role instils a sense that their actions can make a difference and creates a sense of hope.
Self Worth and Self Confidence
Equine Therapy stands in stark contrast to many other current mental health treatments where medication, which fosters a passive experience, is seen as the norm. Interacting with such a powerful and spirited animal instils a sense of self worth and self confidence. This benefits in particular those people who as a result of prolonged mental distress and or abuse, have often experienced themselves as powerless.
Not Just A Talking Therapy
Equine Therapy is not just a talking therapy; it involves both touch and movement. As Equine Therapy does not rely wholly on language, it is accessible to both children and adults with learning disabilities whose emotional needs are often overlooked because they are often seen as unable to engage in typical talking therapies.
Horses Respond Honestly and Openly
Horses also respond honestly and openly to the actions of all humans, no matter what their ethnicity, social status or history. This is a critical factor for those who as a result of mental health or social difficulties have experienced discrimination. Indeed people who have taken part in equine therapy have described feeling accepted rather than discriminated against. Those that have taken part in Equine Therapy have reported that the presence of the horses in sessions made it easier for them to engage with the therapist.
Equine Therapy also helps individuals develop self awareness. People tend to be more alert in the presence of horses and therefore learn to reflect on the links between their own thoughts, feelings and actions. This aspect of Equine Therapy is particularly useful when working for example with for example, adolescent clients, as it is able to support them in developing more effective approaches with which to achieve the outcomes they want for their lives.
Horses require us to work, whether in caring for them or working with them. In an era when immediate gratification and the “easy way” are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable lesson in all aspects of life.
Most importantly, horses mirror human body language. Many complain, “This horse is stubborn. That horse doesn’t like me,” etc. The lesson is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.