Horse's are becoming more popular in therapy and for good reason!
Immediate feedback: Since horses are prey animals they have developed the ability to sense a person’s feelings and respond accordingly. Because of this, they can serve as a mirror which allows that client and the therapist to see and understand feelings the client may not be aware of.
Opportunities for learning: the person can use their interactions with the horse to evaluate and modify the way they interact with people. The therapist can also use the horses as a way to open conversation about the person’s presenting issues.
Opportunities for trust-building: for someone who is uncomfortable talking in a traditional therapy setting, or who has trouble trusting might find equine therapy to be a safe environment where they can open up and develop trust, both between himself and the horses and between themselves and their therapist.
Healthy relationships: horses offer people a non-judging relationship, which can help a person struggling with negative relationship consequences the ability to rebuild their confidence without fear of criticism.
What does equine therapy look like?
Therapy looks different for every client and will move through the phases at different paces. Some clients stay at phase 1 the entire time and others will move quickly to phase 3.
Phase 1: Grooming and getting acquainted with the horse
Phase 2: Learning to lead and use horse language
Phase 3: Working with the horse freestyle in the round pen
Phase 4: Riding (only with recommendation from the therapist)
Phase 4 is not used with everyone. It is for people that need more intensive therapy or has moved through the other phases and still want to work on more issues.