Pet therapy is becoming huge. People are getting service animals for a myriad of treatments, not only as guide dogs but just as emotional support pets. This has sparked some controversy, such as the woman who tried to board a plane with what she called her service peacock. But experts agree that pet therapy is a genuinely effective and beautiful way to deal with struggles from depression to mental disabilities.
Teen Depression and Equine Therapy
Teen depression is becoming an increasingly worrying trend, with the suicide rate rising and becoming the second biggest cause of death in those under the age of 21. With this in mind, treatments have been adapting to use modern methods of therapy to help people cope with emotional and mental struggles.
Horse riding and training is a big one. Many organizations have been incorporating equine therapy into their programs and even opening schools dedicated to providing horse therapy alongside their curriculum and other forms of treatment.
Here are five mental and emotional benefits of being a horse lover.
Responsibility For Another Creature
How do you instill a sense of duty and empathy in teens? You give them responsibilities that they can’t just shirk or ignore. A living creature requires care and attention. A horse needs to be ridden, brushed, cleaned, talked to, socialized. Doing all of these tasks can get anyone out of their own head and into the moment.
Feeling of Love and Closeness
There is nothing quite like the connection that can be made with an animal, especially one as intelligent and gentle as a horse. People who care for horses will gain that unique sense of friendship and closeness that comes with equestria. There is a reason you hear stories of people getting so close to their horses.
So often problems can be caused by a lack of trust, particularly in cases involving past trauma. But horses are not humans, they don’t have the same flaws or intentions, the same risks. A teenager who is struggling with trust can learn to give it once again by giving it to a horse rather than a person, at least in the beginning. It is a baby step that can be incredibly beneficial and lead to slow developments in years to come that allow them to open themselves up to others in their lives.
Fear can hold anyone back: fear of failure, of harm, or rejection, of life in general. Equestrian therapy can help with that terror by providing a calming focus to mitigate anxiety. It gives them a chance to do something thrilling, like riding fast through a field, wind in their hair, a powerful animal under them. It is a very empowering feeling.
Getting Into a Routine
Sometimes the best thing you can do when you are struggling is to form a routine and force yourself to do it. Having a horse waiting in the stable for you to come to them can be very motivating and a chance to get out of bed and do something you love.