The teen years are not easy on anyone. It’s a time where kids have a lot of freedom, which isn’t always a good thing.
Too much freedom can lead to getting in trouble, using drugs and making poor choices. There are several resources out there when parents simply don’t know how to help their teen.
Typically, these traditional solutions take place in an office setting with a therapist on one end and the teen on the other. While this works for some, it doesn’t work for all. What other options are there?
Enter horses. Yes, horses. They are beautiful, strong and truly amazing animals who can be extremely beneficial to troubled teens. Equine residential treatment centers are an alternative and effective therapy to consider. In fact, a study found that kids who spend more time with horses have lower levels of stress hormones. Researchers hope that the study could be the first step in finding ways to prevent teenagers from developing mental health problems.
It’s not always easy to reach a teenager and get them to share their feelings, either as a parent or a therapist. There is something magical about horses that resonates with teens, allowing them to come out of their shell, be vulnerable and share their deepest thoughts.
The benefits of equine therapy are quite impressive. This includes improved social skills, decreased anger, and increased feelings of achievement and physical activity. When teens are given the responsibility of caring for another living thing, it gives them a sense of purpose. It’s beautiful to witness the relationship that can bloom between a child and a horse.
Equine therapy can be a catalyst for emotional breakthroughs, guiding teens on a path to healing, since they are tasked with grooming, haltering, leading and feeding the horses.
The unique therapy is quite effective for teens with anger issues, as they quickly learn that anger and all that comes with it, scares the animals. It teaches them about consequences and how their behavior impacts those around them. Horses are also very large animals who are simply not going to put up with defiance.
We also learn that equine therapy is not a new concept, and dates back to ancient times. A neurologist in the 19th century used horseback riding to improve motor skills and emotional balance. The British military even used this method of therapy to help rehabilitate WWII soldiers.
The powerful creatures can truly make a monumental change in a troubled teen’s life. Knowledge is power and there are resources out there that can help guide a family in the right direction. It’s easy to get frustrated and feel like your troubled teen will never seek the proper help they need. Equine therapy should definitely be a consideration, based on a child’s issues and needs.