To date, there are over 7000 equines in the UK that are in trouble, be it from abuse or from neglect. The number is big and we are facing a horse welfare crisis. This picture is the same in many other countries with people asking again and again; what can we do about it?
Whilst there are many options that are available, one of the exciting growth areas in equine interests is equine therapy or equine assisted learning. This is a non ridden or ridden way of working with horses that not only help a wide range of people but also give horses a new role and purpose in this time when they are being forgotten about.
By creating a new purpose for our equine friend,s we are only helping many people but also enable people to engage with horses whose paths would not normally cross. This means that many more people can and will become engaged with horses and realize that horses are not just for people using them for pleasure.
Horses many years ago were seen as an essential part of life, from farming fields to horses pulling canal boats; they were the working mans friend and an essential on the battle field. Whilst I would not want to see our equine partners going into battle again, it is a sad fact that now many more people are purely using horses for pleasure and this shift has meant that some horses are just being viewed as surplus to requirements or are thrown away if they don't come up to scratch for that particular pleasure pursuit.
Equine Therapy or Equine Assisted Learning often makes use of horses that cannot be ridden and offers a new a diverse way of working with horses that brings them into contact with a wide range of people and gives them an incredible role that many horses clearly love doing.
I am lucky enough to be involved with the rehabilitation of horses to provide therapy as well as being involved in the therapy process itself. The horses that we work with are accessed and their interests and likes are worked on so that we create sessions that are unique to that horses personality. This means that when people come to interact with the horses they will be working with an engaged and interested horse who is loving the work that they do.
This very personal way of working also allows the people to be matched to the horse that is going to have the best connection with them and to support them in the most positive way.
If we could extend the interest in equine therapy we extend the amount of horses that we can save from being lost of forgotten as well as improving human lives. For me this is a great answer to the problem facing horses futures.
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