Mankind’s relationship with horses has been a bond which has been there since the beginning of times. While people of the old days understood the usefulness of a horse in transportation and war, they never could fully comprehend the therapeutic benefits that could be gained from horses. It was during the mid-twentieth century that the use of horses for rehabilitation began taking place.
Argentina is the country which is leading the world in the implementation of this unique form of therapy. Maria de los Angeles Kalbermatter was the first one to start using horses in her treatments, an idea which was known only in America and parts of Europe and was even then looked at skeptically. It was when Maria lost her leg at the age of 27 that things took a turn. She decided to rehabilitate herself by horse riding which was an unconventional idea to begin with. Through her example she demonstrated the success of including horses in rehabilitation of various disabilities.
38 years ago Maria founded an Equine Therapy School which was the first of its kind in Latin America. It has treated many patients suffering from major disorders and different forms of illness like depression, anxiety and stress. This therapeutic technique was first implemented to treat patients suffering with serious motor and neurological disorders. It has witnessed excellent results in treating autism.
Equine therapy has evolved over the years and has been used to treat diseases such as phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), addictions and eating disorders. It is also used to treat bipolar disorder as the interaction with horses calms one down and forces the mind to focus on one thing and one thing only. Psychotherapy sessions are performed after the Equine therapy sessions. These sessions ideally last around 45 minutes on a weekly basis as instructed by the therapist.
Equine therapy enables people to go out and connect with the outside environment. It also induces a sense of focus which helps one in controlling their fears. It is also possible for people to regain their lost motor skills through this form of rehabilitation.
As of today, more than 260 centers in Latin America implement equine therapy in their treatments. This form of rehabilitation has gained popularity all over the world and now institutions are having them installed in their therapeutic programs. This form of therapy shows great promise and has yielded wonderful results which showcase only progress and betterment of a person.