Horses are magic beasts but I guess you probably already know that. Did you know horses are excellent therapists? Yeah, you already know that too. But here’s something you might not know about these great creatures; they have the power to help troubled teens change their lives. They really do!
Equine therapy for troubled teens is becoming a popular and successful therapy tool. The unique wisdom of the horse helps teenagers who are struggling with social, emotional, or behavioral issues or substance abuse issues learn to manage themselves better. Horses require a level of trust most humans are uncomfortable with, so with a troubled teen at the reins the teen has earn the trust of the horse in order to have a positive interaction. For most troubled teens, it is the first time they have allowed themselves to be vulnerable. The horse literally becomes the key to unlock the issues a troubled teen is experiencing.
Equine therapy has a track record you can bet on. It has been used for year to help troubled teens with their multiple and complicated diagnoses. Horse therapy makes sense because horses have the power to heal from the inside out. They can help troubled teens learn to:
- Manage their depression
- Focus with ADD/ADHA
- Communicate in new ways
- Calm mood disorders
- Recover from trauma
- Overcome addictions
Teenagers who struggle with communication especially about their emotional issues will often tell a horse about their pain long before they find the courage to share it with their human counselor. Horses just understand in a way people cannot.
Some people are under the impression equine therapy is the same thing as horseback riding. Not so! Equine therapy helps troubled teens tap into their mind, body, and soul. For example, if a troubled teen is hating the world a horse is going to pick up on it and want nothing to do with them. Horses demand calm. If the boy insists, then horses dole out their own brand of justice. Once a horse dumps you on your hide parts for being in a bad mood it is a lesson you never forget. The impression horses can make on the lives of troubled teens is everlasting.
Horses also improve social skills something which is often a problem for many troubled teens. Non-verbal communication is also difficult for teens with issues. With a horse, every twitch means something. If you fail to pick up on them, you might be convincing a horse to pick up its hoof off your foot. They’re not mean. They just have a special way of getting your attention. For troubled teens, learning those cues becomes especially meaningful when a human counselor tries to help them through their issues.
If you know or are a parent of a troubled teen I highly recommend you checking out the equine therapy program at the Arivaca Boys Ranch. In addition to offering equine therapy, it is a real working ranch plus the right type of therapy troubled teens need.