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The Benefits of Horses in Pet Therapy Practice
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The Benefits of Horses in Pet Therapy Practice

Humans and animals have always seemed to have a significant bond. The companionship can be especially beneficial to humans. Animals give us unconditional compassion, patience, and love. To have a friend in an animal is a true blessing.

Research shows that owning a pet can make us happier and healthier. What’s more, service animals can assist the disabled to accomplish everyday tasks like walking down the street or coping with anxiety. Some specially trained animals can even assist in alternative therapies.

Pets like dogs, cats, birds, and even horses have been used in medical settings for over 150 years. Today, there’s much more research backing up the benefits of pet therapy practice. Horses, in particular, can be great assets in our therapy efforts no matter what you’re dealing with.

Here are some of the many types of people and situations that can benefit from pet therapy with horses.

Teens

Every teen goes through a stage where they struggle with effective communication and feel misunderstood as a result. Troubled teens especially struggle to communicate how they feel or open up about abuse and mistreatment. They’ve built up mechanisms to keep from being vulnerable.

But horses can be the key to unlocking the issues a teen might be experiencing. Horses can help teens to deal with issues like:

  • Depression
  • ADD and ADHD
  • Mood disorders
  • Addiction
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Trauma and abuse

Pet therapy with horses isn’t all horseback riding, either. Some of it requires face-to-face interaction and nonverbal communication. A horse demands calmness and can help teens understand their own emotions by the way it reacts to their body language.

Seniors

Studies show that seniors who own pets live longer, healthier, and happier lives. But owning a pet might not be realistic for all seniors. People living in senior care centers often can’t have a pet and their health conditions can even make it impossible to care for one on their own.

But pets can help seniors lower blood pressure and fight off depression. So what can we do to help? Pet therapy is often the best option for seniors in need of a little animal companionship.

One miniature horse is making seniors citizens at a Michigan nursing facility very happy. Charlie and his owner Ronica visit their local senior center to spread smiles and laughter. Charlie is a special miniature horse because he was raised in close contact with humans and is especially tame and affectionate. In fact, he thrives in the spotlight.

People Recovering from Addiction

Among the many ways horses can assist people with their therapy efforts, addiction treatment and recovery benefit greatly from this form of therapy. Patients spend time socializing and caring for the horses which helps build trust, accountability, self-worth, and confidence.

People recovering from addiction often suffer a decline in both their mental and physical health. Pet therapy with horses can help these people decrease their blood pressure, lower stress levels, and learn patience.

Horses can benefit pet therapy practices for a wide range of people. If you have an extra special companion, like a horse, consider volunteering to help people who struggle with issues like depression and addiction by sharing your furry friend. You never know, your horse could change a life much like it probably changed yours. 

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/142475862@N05/

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