A certified equine therapist leads these sessions, which are guided activities and interactions between the individual and the horse. Some of the activities include equine facilitated learning, carriage driving, vaulting and therapeutic riding.
Horses have no hidden agenda and they don’t judge. Their needs are clear, as are their boundaries. Relationships with horses are built on trust. That means it’s very difficult to manipulate or bully a horse. And since trust is often a significant hurdle to overcome in the recovery process, that relationship of trust can be an important building block.
Equine therapy can be particularly helpful for individuals who tend to intellectualize their feelings. These patients tend to have difficulty being in touch with their emotions, which is often a major block in their recovery process. Working with horses helps to reconnect them with their feelings of anger, resentment, fear, sadness and loneliness.
The work done on the ground, taking care of and grooming the horse, is just as important as the time spent riding because this is where the bond and trust between the individual and the animal is formed. Horses respond nonverbally with the patient during those interactions. Human emotions are often mirrored through the animals, providing patients with a better understanding of themselves. Through this process, they can overcome some of their frustration and fears.