Who We Help
With the assistance of the horses in our wonderful herd, we’ve been able to help many vulnerable adults and children to manage a diverse range of challenges.
Take a look at the list below and see if anything resonates with you (or someone you care about).
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Complimentary Telephone Session
If you’re not sure if our approach is right for you (or the person you are responsible for) we are happy to offer you a complimentary 15 minute telephone consultation to allay any concerns or answer any questions you may have.
Areas of health we have been able to support with our horses' help
Often, when family life is disrupted for any reason, children can feel displaced, disheartened and bewildered. They may experience feelings of anxiety, anger and anguish during this time. HEART Equine-Assisted Therapy allows them to find peace, connection and understanding. Working with the horses allows them to rebuild their self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love.
Many of the people we work with often feel very frustrated at not being able to be heard or understood, and so their hidden hurt or anxiety comes out as anger. Working with the horses out in nature allows them to dissipate their anger and frustration, especially if they are wanting cooperation from a 600 kilo horse! Our horses will not tolerate aggressive behaviour and so will gently show these humans how to calm down, express what they are really feeling and then they learn how to obtain cooperation from these animals. This then shows them how to get their needs met in life too.
Overcoming anxiety can be a huge mountain for some children and vulnerable adults to climb. Somewhere along their journey, they have learned to feel unsafe with people, places or situations. Most children never really get the right support for how to deal with that anxiety and so they often have to spend time in excruciating, emotional or mental agony. Working with Wendy and her horses gives these young people tools on how to overcome their anxiety, how to feel safe and how to express their needs. Often, for the first time, they feel a sense of relief, peace and calm and they discover an easy process to gain the confidence and the courage to cope.
When horses have behavioural issues this usually stems from humans giving out mixed messages or unfair treatment, or it may be their way of trying to express pain or discomfort. Troubled teenagers – and teenagers in trouble – usually have the same background. Somewhere along their journey of life they have learnt to express themselves in an unhelpful way in an attempt to try and be heard. Often, when these children come to us, they end up working with horses that have also come to us with behavioural problems. By learning how to get cooperation and connection from the horses, these children discover the importance of both setting boundaries and having boundaries set. They discover how safe boundary-setting makes the horses and so ultimately by setting boundaries themselves, they too will feel safer. This is where we will encourage parents and carers to also have sessions with the horses. Quite often, and inadvertently, parents can compensate a lot for either being single parents, working parents or “absent in some other way” parents. This usually leads to lack of clear boundaries being set, or very mixed messages or both. This pattern of behaviour gets very highlighted by the reaction of the horses to their requests. By learning how to “say what you mean, mean what you say and say it without being mean” everyone will benefit.
With the increase of social media and “celebrity” culture, never before have children and adults been subjected to so much body image anxiety. Body shaming has almost become a sport. Consequently many are feeling so much pain about their bodies not being perfect, for example, being a size zero, no cellulite, or not having eyelashes the length of a black widow spider! Ironically at a time when teenagers normally would make a stand for individuality they are hypnotised into believing they have to look like everyone else. Working with the horses out in nature helps them find ways to let go of “fakeness” and learn to be natural. By doing this they learn how to love themselves just as they are, warts and all.
Bullying and being bullied has been on the increase over the last decade, and are really opposite ends of the same problem. When children don’t feel safe in their environment they become quite fearful. This either outpictures as aggression and “bolshy” behaviour to try and hide their inner fear or out pictures, conversely, as being quite passive and the child then ends up being a victim to its aggressors. Working with the horses brings about balance and true inner confidence. Children learn how to safely be assertive without aggression or passivity.
When emotions and feelings have had to be squashed, or when it has been unsafe to express those feelings, those emotions have to go somewhere. This leads to an implosion, rather than an explosion, in expressive angry people, and then depression, discouragement and dejection set in. This in turn can develop into procrastination, self-harming, illnesses and disengagement. Spending time out in nature is good to help start shifting those feelings. Add to that the help of the horses and soon these individuals are able to find comfort and solace. This then leads them to feel safe to express any grief, frustration or other emotions that they didn’t feel they had the right to safely express before.
It is hard to believe in this day and age that children – and even some adults – are below the poverty line and not able to afford even the basics of food and clothing. Healing Hearts and Minds with Horses C.I.C. has a special bursary system to help those that would not normally be able to afford what to them would be the luxury of therapeutic support. Everyone should have access to the healing power of horses.
Although we can’t claim to “cure” anything medical, it has been shown that spending time in nature, working with the calming energy of the horses and being in the relaxed, friendly environment where this takes place is definitely conducive to helping de-stress and relax. One of our partners, The MEATH Epilepsy Charity, reported great results for one of their clients.
Mental Health issues have risen enormously over the past few years and the current global situation has heightened the situation. As a result, the need to find ways to de-stress, cope and move forward in life has become crucial. Working with the horses helps create mindfulness, calmness and new ways to handle day-to-day situations.
Hippotherapy is the name given to working with horses (ridden) to improve coordination, balance and strength. For example, someone with cerebral palsy can really benefit from this by learning to find a way to retain their balance in response to the horse in motion. Whilst we can provide the horses, we suggest you bring your own physiotherapist to advise on the correct exercises required.
Over the last few years, I’ve seen this challenge escalate for parents, children and pretty much most people. The unrealistic expectation to be perfect often comes from well-meaning parents wanting Little Johnny to do well, but not expressing it in a way that Little Johnny feels he is loved no matter what. Most perfectionists are desperately seeking approval and therefore dread making any form of mistake for fear of rejection or a reaction of disappointment. Working with the horses allows students to find a whole new level of self-acceptance. They learn how to have the courage to make mistakes and “fail” so that they can have the confidence to succeed. By learning how to love and accept themselves first, they can let go of that inner voice that tells them they are not good enough. Again, this is where perfectionist parents must come and have a session too. For those caught up in the pain of perfectionism their demand for everything and everyone to be perfect in their lives causes them to feel unloveable if they have a flaw and unacceptable if they make a mistake. Their disappointment is clear for everyone to see. Learning to let go with the horses helps them have a better perspective, come into balance and RELAX. The horses lead the way.
The most common challenge we work with (for all ages) is the lack of self-esteem. As described earlier, this can result in self-harming, being bullied and addictive behaviour. By learning how to build a mutually respectful relationship with their chosen horse, individuals can discover ways to set boundaries, say what they mean (and mean what they say) and value having their own needs met too. The horses show them how to be more confident in their requests, which in turn gives these people insight into how to manage human relationships. In addition, using the five HEART values (Harmony, Empathy, Accountability, Respect and Truth) increases self-worth, self-esteem and self-respect.
“Dying to be heard” is often a definition of self-harming. In my personal experience, everyone I’ve worked with is suppressing their inner pain and what they feel “cut up about” in life. Individuals don’t feel heard, understood or valued. Their self-harming is the only way they can obtain relief from the emotional torture they are inwardly going through. Working with the horses and therapeutic coaching allows them to experience a new level of self-worth, self-love and self-confidence, therefore giving them new tools to cope.
We are often presented with troubled teenagers – and teenagers in trouble. Many of these young people come from very unsettled childhoods and/or family settings and consequently end up with behavioural issues as a way of trying to express what they are really feeling. Working with the horses in our wonderful open space in nature can help rebalance and reset their emotional state and provide a more productive and socially acceptable set of coping skills.
It is becoming increasingly clear that many children find that conventional schooling environments are not conducive to meeting their educational needs. This can manifest itself as performance anxiety, defiant behaviour and claustrophobic and/or agoraphobic tendencies. Many children learn in different ways to traditional schooling but are made to feel “different” because they don’t “fit into the mould”. Healing Hearts and Minds with Horses C.I.C. provides a safe environment where children can be schooled and receive an education in a different way. We don’t provide the curriculum; we just support you with a relaxed, nurturing space in which you can bring your own teachers.
Distressingly, the number of children (and adults) we see feeling that the only way out is to “end it all” is on the increase. This is possibly due to the constant pressures of society, social media, schools and social problems. The mental health, particularly of teenagers, has been exacerbated by recent global events and is a time bomb waiting to go off. Working with the horses helps to diffuse this pressure, gives hope to cope and helps people discover a whole new way to handle life’s challenges effectively.