Here at the Centre we work with a variety of therapy horses; from Abel, the wee Shetland, to Tijor, the 16.3hh ex-show-jumper. Below are photos of some of the therapy horses we hire from The Holistic Horse and Pony Centre, along with some others that are cared for and adopted by Healing Hearts and Minds with Horses C.I.C. Even if you have no experience with horses, or are afraid, our gentle horses will help you feel relaxed and comfortable around them.
Why do we use Horses for Therapy?
When people first hear about using horses for equine therapy they usually ask “Why Horses?” More commonly used in animal-assisted therapy are dogs, however horses are considered to provide more scope for behavioural change. This is because of the following reasons;
Therapy Horses are large powerful animals, they can be intimidating. For some people at the start of equine therapy the size of a horse can cause fear. Overcoming this initial fear can be very liberating in itself and help boost confidence and self esteem. By accomplishing tasks and gaining the trust of the animal will continue to enforce the feelings of empowerment.
Horses are Herd Animals
Herd animals naturally desire company and want to be led. This makes them very sociable animals that want to create a bond, especially with humans. Therapy Horses are ideal for this type of equine assisted therapy, as they will want to develop a bond and relationship with you when you are ready.
Therapy Horses are excellent at body language and can sometimes know just how you feel before you do. They challenge you to reflect on your own behaviour which provides great opportunities for problem solving and personal growth.
Horses Mirror Behaviour
Therapy Horses have the ability to mirror thoughts and behaviours of others. They are prey animals and can read body language and respond instantly. So if you are around a horse and have negative feelings and attitude or defensive body language the chances are that the horse will not interact with you. But if you approach a horse very calmly with confidence the horse will respond more positively.
This will help you to reflect on your behaviour and challenge the way you approach situations both inside and outside of your equine therapy sessions.
Horses have a kind, gentle and patient nature, this helps to rebuild confidence and trust in people who suffer from psychological or physically debilitating issues. They make the best non judgemental therapists! Equine assisted therapy and equine assisted psychotherapy are extremely good for mental health treatment, it is a very therapeutic form of therapy used to help people.
Equine therapy with horses can help with social skills and anxiety. Our experience with assisted therapies and working with animals can help individuals find a way to help with their emotions and health issues. Working with horses to heal helps many in an emotional way. Often learning from an animal can be a therapeutic treatment and process.