Horses are incredible creatures; anyone who has been near one or who shares their life with a horse knows this for a fact but there is now more and more evidence that they are capable of miraculous things.
One of the areas that they are proving to be exceptional is with the connection with autistic people. There has been an increase in Equine Assisted Therapy, Equine Assisted Learning and other similar organisations now working with horses to provide therapy and healing.
In the Horse Boy, the father of a boy with autism talks about his own son's journey and how he benefited from riding an old mare, who seemed to enable the child to speak when he was riding him. In the same story he meets with a doctor who is autistic and she explains that one of the unique connections between horses and autistic people is that both think in pictures.
Does this mean that horses can send and receive images to autistic children and that they are in fact communicating in a language most people can't understand?
Other studies have shown that being around horses influences brain waves making it possible for areas of the brain to be accessed when around horses. Other studies talk about the rhythm of the horse and how it again has an impact on the brain itself, therefore making things possible when riding a horse that otherwise might not be.
We are only just scratching the surface of what it is possible for horses to do and their therapeutic abilities are only just coming to light. From the case studies that are growing daily we do know that one of the highest impact areas is with autism
My hope is that more credit will be given to equine therapy and healing, then it would be possible to collect even more data and change even more lives, both people and horses. As most of the therapy is non ridden it is a wonderful way to give horses a purpose and a role without the pressure of being ridden.
From what we have experienced at Totem Animals, the autistic children that come to connect with the horses are always very calm, sometimes almost going into a trance like state as they become so peaceful. The horses change as well and you can tell that they know they are doing something very special. Anyone who is lucky enough to be around that connection will feel the impact of it and know that something incredible is unfolding.