Experiential Therapy at the Stables
Equine Therapy usually includes instruction in horse care, grooming procedures, saddlery, and basic equitation.
When humans experience traumatic events or live with mental illness, relationships are among the first aspects of their lives to suffer. A loss of trust, decreased self-worth, an inability to empathize and self-absorption are all common symptoms in trauma survivors or those who suffer from addiction and other mental health disorders. It can take a long time — even years — to rebuild the ability to form healthy and constructive interpersonal bonds. But therapists have long recognized the benefits of animal companions to nurture their clients’ ability to love, trust and care for another living thing. Equine therapy, also called equine-assisted therapy, refers to animal therapy that specifically focuses on the bond between humans and horses to encourage the building of healthy, caring relationships.
Historically, horses have been a constant companion for humans. Without horses, society as we know it would be shaped very differently — they have been alongside us as we hunted, farmed and built cities. They are known to be remarkably strong and intelligent creatures with distinct personalities, immense emotional intuition and quick learning abilities. The relationships between horse handlers and their horses are known to be deep emotional bonds similar to how many people feel about their household pets. Horses’ impressive size and strength is a beautiful reminder of the miracle of the natural world around us — it is at once humbling and awe-inspiring to be in the presence of a horse. Equine therapy usually includes calming activities like riding, grooming, feeding or walking, and is guided by a trained therapist to ensure proper techniques for the safety of both the clients and horses.
In light of research and observational findings, experts suggest that Equine Therapy—a common form of animal-assisted therapy--may yield a variety of psychotherapeutic benefits in the following domains: