Horses may not be able to sit you down and ask you questions about your feelings or prescribe medication, but they may be instrumental in maintaining your mental health. There is something called Equine therapy where you take care of horses and, in return, you are rewarded with serenity and contentment. So, what is this Equine therapy and how does it work?
Is this a type of therapy where you interact with a horse? Essentially, yes, but there is more to it than that. In a broad sense, any type of interaction you have with horses in a controlled setting can be considered therapy, though there are different activities and sessions planned for different things.
These are not the activities you undertake only with farmers, riders, and breeders. While they can provide you with plenty of useful information about the horses themselves, they cannot help your mental health. That is why your therapy is overseen by a medical worker who is a licensed psychotherapist. And before you get too scared of what the activities may involve, you will most likely not be riding any horses.
What It Is Not
Equine therapy is not a magic treatment that can make all your issues go away. Psychotherapy is a very complicated process that may require years of practice, facing numerous difficulties, medicine, talking about issues, and more. Because of this, the therapy sessions with the horses are there to complement the rest of your treatment, rather than to be the sole pillar on which your mental health rests.
There are many benefits to Equine therapy. First of all, many people with issues are not confident in their abilities and potential. Taking care of gentle giants like horses, which can be challenging and requires focus, may prove beneficial to the person’s self-reliance.
Furthermore, it is great for practicing impulse control and keeping your emotions in check. Your ability to solve problems, calm down not only yourself but those around you, and develop relationships may also improve. The horses do not judge and they only mirror your behavior and feelings. If you are scared and nervous, it is likely they will behave the same way.
Who Is It For?
Anyone who needs it. Children and teens who struggle with challenges like depression and anxiety benefit from interacting with these animals. Addicts that want to get clean and in control, as well as people trying to bounce back from trauma and PTSD, may also find that their conditions are easier to manage this way. However, if you are intimidated by large animals, this type of therapy may not be right for you.
Unfortunately, there is also the issue of affordability we need to consider before taking this step. Most importantly, the things listed here are merely general information. Before trying out Equine therapy, consult your therapist to see whether your condition, if any, can be more easily managed with the help of our horse friends.