Also called horse therapy, equine-assisted therapy, and equine-assisted psychotherapy, equine therapy is a form of experiential therapy that uses interaction between patients and horses to promote physical, occupational, and emotional growth. Equine therapy can be helpful for people suffering from a wide array of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, ADD, cerebral palsy, genetic syndromes such as Down syndrome, developmental delays, dementia, and depression.
The idea behind equine therapy is that interacting for and caring for a horse can promote behaviors such as responsibility, accountability, self-control, and problem solving skills. An equine therapist can observe a patient’s interaction with a horse and gain insight into the patient’s mental processes. From there, the therapist help the patient identify and address any number of emotional challenges. A therapist can easily employ a number of techniques during equine therapy, depending on the patient’s disorder and the severity of the disorder. Cognitive therapy, practicing activities, roleplay and story telling, and activity scheduling are all techniques that fit right in with equine interaction.
Horses have several characteristics that make them unique for therapy: horses are non-judgmental, they tend to mirror that patient’s disposition and movements (promoting self awareness in the patient), and they can be used as a metaphor for real-life situations such as coping with a new environment.
Equine therapy has many fascinating facets. To read more, please visit the links below!