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Equine Therapy and Healing Through Connection

Equine-assisted therapy is a growing trend in the fields of mental health care and addiction recovery. It’s no surprise why this is; horses are sensitive and intelligent animals who can sense human emotion. Horses have been aiding people with healing for centuries. In these partnerships, horses offer opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment through physical, mental, and emotional challenges. This is exactly what is needed when we embark on the path of recovery.

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy refers to therapeutic activities involving human participants and equine (horse) partners. The equine partner engages the human partner in activities promoting physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. A wide variety of equine activities can be used for therapeutic purposes. Therapeutic riding is a form of equine therapy that emphasizes the therapeutic use of the horse and is recognized by the American Psychological Association. Other therapeutic activities with horses include lesson/round-penning, grooming, washing, feeding, and using the hackamore/bridle/saddle.

How Does Equine-Assisted Therapy Work?

Therapists often say that horses are therapists with hooves. They are sensitive animals who can sense human emotions. When given the opportunity, horses will forge a connection with humans based on trust and safety. Horses are naturally curious and want to explore. They offer opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment through physical, mental, and emotional challenges. You can participate in riding, grooming, working with the horses, or caring for them.

How Can Horses Help Humans in Therapy?

In therapeutic riding, riders learn communication skills that can be applied to any relationship. Riders also learn to think in an organized way, set goals, and achieve them. The exercises build self-confidence and self-esteem. In addition, riders can develop decision-making and problem-solving skills and a greater appreciation of others. Horses have been shown to have a positive effect on mood, self-esteem, and life satisfaction among people with mental health issues.

Benefits of Equine-Assisted Therapy

Equine-assisted therapy offers numerous benefits to people in treatment for substance use or mental health disorders.

  • Physical: Riders learn about their bodies and what their bodies are capable of through their horse’s movement, which can help with exercise or therapy after an injury
  • Mental: Research shows that people with mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience major improvements in mental health
  • Social: Through bonding with horses, people build confidence and gain self-esteem

Horses are powerful creatures who can teach us many things, but they need our help to do it. Horses are herd animals, meaning they need to be around other horses. They can’t be alone for long periods, and they need to be part of a group to thrive. When you work with horses, you’re not just benefiting them; you’re also benefiting yourself. Equine therapy is a great way to build confidence in your path to recovery.

Seeking addiction treatment can be terrifying if you or someone you know tries to approach it alone. With that in mind, it is important to remember that you never have to face your treatment and recovery by yourself. The Guest House offers numerous treatment modalities, including equine therapy. The results of equine-assisted therapy may surprise you. In the course of that experience, you might discover something new about yourself that you never knew before. Please call (855) 483-7800 for more information.