Therapy using horses is nothing new. Some of the writers here say that their horse saved their lives, and that says quite a lot about how special this animal is. Are they therapeutic beasts? Can they really work as a complement to psychology?
For autistic children, this can definitely be of great help. Those suffering from Asperger can benefit as well. Since they both lack communication skills and are largely dependent on routine, they can receive behavior modification through being around horses.
Those that assist this therapy actually let the horse decide which child to help out. This can be done by leading each child to the horse and waiting to see what the reaction will be, which is usually a movement of the head or a nuzzle.
The purpose here is to help the child develop. The goal is the increase the difficulty of a behavior gradually through learning. Doing this with animals is still new, but most tend to believe that the programs help the kids who live with these diseases. Some go as far as to say that horse therapy is the best solution for them because their attention is focused on the movement, which helps develop attention.
As time goes on, learning how to care for the horse is where the focus is placed. All can rest assured that the children are safe because employees are always nearby to watch over them. The newly learned abilities boost self-confidence and turns learning it into a pleasing activity. At time, social skills are gained, too.
There is also a human interaction aspect to this therapy. The counselors and other children work together to build contact, deal with and resolve conflict, and learn how to help one another. According to personal experiences from people assisting with this sort of therapy, the improvement is considerable and greatly beneficial.
Of course, there are benefits to learning with other animals. They can also draw autistic children out of their inner worlds and help make them happier and calmer. Outbursts are slowly reduced and they break out of their isolation.