All horses are great but some are extra special. If you have one of those extra special ones, then there is a good chance you might be interested in sharing your animal with a troubled teen as a therapy animal. There is a great need for equine therapy for troubled teens so if you have never considered allowing your horse to be a companion animal, I hope you will keep reading and consider it.
The Right Horse Can Change A Life
You know the magic of working with your horse. How many times have you connected with your horse better than your friends or family members? That same connection you have with your horse can helped a teen struggling to connect with family members and therapists. Teenagers who have reached the troubled stage nearly universally struggle with common communication skills. They do not know how to verbalize their pains and frustrations which are often the cause of their behavior. That great animal of yours will help them relax and open up, often for the first time, about their pain. For teens who experience this sort of healing, it is life changing.
Once The Door Is Opened
As a troubled teen interacts with your horse, they become more open to working through their issues. The first step in therapy is always hard, but its compounded by age and inexperience for youth. I like to compare gaining confidence as a troubled teen to seek counseling to halter or saddle training for horses. Your horse once thought his halter was a horrible annoyance. Eventually, they understand the need and benefit of the halter or saddle. Troubled teens that lack life experience think that same way about most things in life. Parents and counselors have a hard time communicating to these closed off teens what they've already learned through life experience. That is why they benefit from a horse. The safety they find working with horses opens the door to healing. Once a troubled teen becomes receptive to their own emotions, they can finally begin to address them.
The Issues Horses Help
Equine therapy can be the key to opening up the doors of effective communication. Teens working working with therapy horses often have complex medical and psychological conditions such as autism, ADD/ADHD, communication disorders, mood disorders including depression, trauma, abuse, addictions, and physical disabilities.
If you are interested in allowing your horse to serve as a companion to a troubled teen, there are several associations which can lead you on the path to certifying your horse for this important work.