Of Horse

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I Have a Unique Perspective on Horses. Here's Why.
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I Have a Unique Perspective on Horses. Here's Why.

I talk a lot about horses and how they play a key—almost divine—role in healing peoples’ hearts and minds. I do this because I have seen people make incredible breakthroughs through their interaction with horses. This has given me a unique perspective on the therapeutic value of horses.

In my line of work, I have come across lots of teens and young people struggling with mental and behavioral disorders. These disorders run the gamut from depression and anxiety to eating or substance abuse disorders. There are those teens who act out, rebel and become generally difficult and there are those who withdraw into themselves, rarely interacting with anyone else.

Parents of such troubled teens often seek all kinds of treatment to help their children—from medication to enrolling them in therapeutic treatment centers. Sometimes the treatment works, and other times it doesn’t. It’s a process.

Finding Peace of Mind Through Equine Therapy

Some of the best results I’ve seen in my career have come from individuals’ interaction with horses in a therapeutic environment.

I admit, I was skeptical when I first heard about horses assisting therapists in equine-therapy for troubled teens. How could a horse succeed where human therapists have failed? Sure horses are wonderful creatures but how could they help anyone heal—especially those who’ve been struggling for a long time?

But I shelved my skepticism long enough to attend a few sessions where troubled teen boys and girls were taken through different exercises with horses. To my surprise, they seemed to respond better and quicker than they would in traditional office-based talk therapy.

I have observed teens gaining greater confidence as they got horses to accomplish certain tasks. I have witnessed some gain a higher sense of self-awareness necessary to heal their emotional wounds by simply observing how the horse reacts to them.

I saw how teens with emotional and psychological issues experienced healing from their interaction with horses. Finally, I had to admit that equine-facilitated psychotherapy was a fantastic idea.

What Makes Horses Such Good Therapy Animals?

By talking with certified equine therapists and doing my own research, I discovered that many individuals experience positive feelings such as acceptance, compassion, and well-being with horses thanks to 2 major traits.

Firstly horses are prey animals, and because of this, they’ve developed a hyper-vigilance that makes them acutely aware of their surroundings. This allows them to detect and reflect the emotional states of those around them which in turn gives humans a glimpse into their own emotional state.

Secondly, horses are herd animals, and as such, they have innate equine qualities that enable them to get along with others in a herd. They’re accepting, honest and non-judgmental animals with no duplicity. These qualities encourage troubled individuals to let their guard down and learn to trust again.

After seeing countless people learn how to identify and process feelings through the self-awareness gleaned from interacting with horses, I’m convinced that horses are indeed good for our mental and emotional health. I only wish more people realized this.

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  1. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    This is an excellent, inspiring blog. Have you ever worked as a counsellor for young people? I can well believe that horses are beneficial for them. I wrote a blog for this website some time back actually entitled Horse-Riding Helped Anorexic Girl Back To Health, so that is a prime example of how horses can soothe troubled minds.
    1. Tyler Jacobson
      Tyler Jacobson
      Thank you for your kind words! I am not a counselor myself, but have worked with countless throughout my career to help struggling youth. I completely agree that interaction with horses is beneficial to them. I'll have to check out your post! Thanks for sharing.
      1. Chestnut Mare
        Chestnut Mare
        It is in my archive, from dsome time back. Can't remember when exactly. I have just submiited a new one here, so if you wouldn't mind checking that out and giving me a vote if you have time, I would appreciate it. Here's the link: https://www.ofhorse.com/view-post/-Horses-Found-Abandoned-in-the-UK
  2. ALOVE07
    Hi Tyler - I would encourage you to checkout Wildwood Hills Ranch of Iowa. https://www.wildwoodhillsranch.org

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