Equine therapy is a type of therapy that uses horses to help people with physical and mental health problems. It has been used for centuries, and research has found that it is effective for children with cerebral palsy, behavioral tics, motor control problems, coordination problems, and people of any age with reduced mobility. It can also be beneficial for those with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Equine therapy may involve more than just horseback riding.
In some sessions, a client may not even touch the horse. The therapist leading the session will set goals for the client to complete, such as taking the horse to a designated area or putting a halter on it. The client will complete the task to the best of their ability and then analyze the thinking process, ideas, and problem solving used to complete the task. Talking about what the customer is doing at any given time allows them to improve their language skills and listening to the instructor helps improve their ability to listen to and follow instructions, ask questions, etc.Not only is there communication between the trainer and the instructor, but also between the trainer and the horse.
This skill is especially useful for those struggling with anxiety, since they are often caught up in worrying about the past or in catastrophic ideas about the future. This activity encourages the person to be present and to focus on the task at hand. Effective nonverbal communication with a horse requires emotional regulation and self-awareness. In turn, these healthy abilities are transferred to other human relationships.
Depending on the style of equine therapy used, the benefits may vary. One example of equine therapy is that of Dr. Beasley's approach. Instead of designing a targeted equine therapy session, he allowed the client to sit on the grass with the horse.
In this session, Dr. Beasley draws metaphors between the client's interaction with the horse and the patterns of their own lives.Equine therapy can provide a number of therapeutic benefits to people who have physical and mental health problems. It can help improve communication skills, emotional regulation, self-awareness, and more. It can also help those struggling with anxiety by encouraging them to be present and focus on the task at hand.