The ability to build a strong relationship with your horse is made possible by their complex social nature and emotional intelligence. This life-changing relationship can be deepened by practicing equine therapy.
Though horses benefit from strong bonds to their owners, humans definitely receive the better end of this partnership between horse and human. Some people benefit from equine therapy more than others, specifically:
- PTSD sufferers
- Troubled youth
- Those with special needs
- Individuals with mood disorders
Connecting With The Horse
There are many ways you will connect with your horse. However, when it comes to therapeutic human-horse interactions, there are specific ways equine therapy is applied to help individuals heal emotionally and mentally.
- Therapeutic Riding - This is a catch-all term for the specialized range of therapeutic riding. It is not necessary to be prescribed this form of therapeutic riding, although the providers of the equine therapy must be licensed to offer therapeutic riding. The general benefits of therapeutic riding are improved physical abilities, greater emotional control, and enhanced cognitive abilities.
- Hippotherapy - This kind of specialized therapy is used specifically for physical, occupational, or speech and language therapy. It can be prescribed by a licensed therapist who may also provide the equine therapy (though it can be outsourced to a licensed therapy ranch). The way a horse can help with physical therapy is fairly straightforward. By attuning the patient to the subtle movements of the horse, the patient refines their sensory and motor input. Surprisingly, the heightened sense of the patient can also carry over to help speech-related issues. This is because the patient is now more connected to their own bodily nuances.
- Equine-Facilitated Learning - When it comes equine-facilitated learning, improved emotional and social skills are the goal of the learning programs.
Individuals working with the horses are taught to be more sensitive to the horse’s needs and nonverbal cues. Participants in turn may take this new awareness into their relationships with people. While this type of therapeutic bonding is not normally directed by a certified therapist, it is still highly beneficial.
Horse Therapy For All Horses have an incredible way of connecting with those who need them most. From prison inmates, stressed businessmen, and troubled teens, everyone who is struggling in some aspect of their life can benefit from equine therapy.