It’s been widely known for a long time that being around animals can help humans feel mentally better. It improves our blood pressure and reduces the stress that life places on our minds. Some animals have a more pronounced effect on human health, with horses seemingly leading the way.
Horses have a way of connecting with the people, which helps distressed humans feel better. Equine therapy involves the use of horses to help patients suffering from various diseases, and even addictions, along with the use of other therapies. Australia is one of the countries that is readily embracing this technique, and producing positive results as well.
Horses and Humans
Why do horses have a better effect on human health as compared to other animals like cats or dogs? It’s because horses are not carnivores, but rather prey animals. They have learned to live and develop in herds which has taught them to be highly sensitive to other animals’ body language. This is how horses are able to respond more quickly to a human than other animals.
Another reason for this connection is the domestication that horses have been subject to for centuries. They are more attuned to human emotions than any other animal and that helps them build a stronger bond with the patients.
Helping Disturbed Children through Horses
Australia is also embracing the treatment of children affected by drug abuse through equine therapy. This involves letting the children be friends with the horses and helping them earn a horse’s trust. This process requires patience on the child’s part and can teach a child to be calmer and less anxious.
Due to a horse’s ability to sense changes in body language, a child can’t be angry in front of one if a bond is to be created. Horses are also helping children who are normally disassociated and faraway to be more open about their feelings.
A Two-Way Street
There is a program being run in Victoria under the title of Horses for Hope, where horses and humans help each other. Other than offering treatments to humans for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and autism, this program asks its clients to help the horses that are in need of some therapy as well. Some horses also have behavioral conditions that need to be fixed before they can be returned to their owners or re-homed. The people taking part in this program are encouraged to help these horses feel safe and comfortable around humans.
While this helps the horses, it also gives a sense of accomplishment to the people taking part in it. A person suffering from depression may feel happier and accomplished once he or she has helped a horse feel better.
Equine therapy is not something that can work on its own to eradicate human problems, but it is definitely helping when used with other treatments. Australia is not the first country embracing this treatment, but its involvement with this therapy does show that horses hold promise when it comes to helping humans feel better about themselves.