Incorporating horses experientially for emotional growth and learning.
Equine assisted therapy is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. This therapeutic approach is experiential in nature. Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviours, and patterns. There is a growing literature on Equine Therapy worldwide that supports its effectiveness with different clinical presentations and client populations.
Like humans, horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another. Horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning, an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.
Equine Therapy offers children and adults a unique opportunity to improve their mental well-being by working with the natural behaviour of horses alongside a specifically designed therapeutic programme. This partnership between horses and individuals provides an environment for tremendous personal growth and development.
Horses naturally respond to the emotional issues people bring to sessions, issues which are often displayed in their interactions with the horses. This allows the therapist a unique insight into a client’s individual difficulties and creates an environment where the horses can then support both the client and therapist in working towards change.
Equine Therapy takes place outdoors providing people with the chance to experience a rural environment and reconnect with a more natural way of life. For children and adults from deprived environments, those who have been subjected to long periods in mental health hospitals or experienced severe family difficulties or deprivation, this can be a very rewarding and stimulating therapeutic intervention.