Blog Author: Darin Shaw | Medical Reviewer: Karl Benzio

Why is Horse Therapy Therapeutic?

Equine-Assisted Therapy (also known as Horse Therapy and Equine Therapy) is a form of experiential therapy involving interactions between people and horses, supervised by an equine therapist and horse professional.

Practiced around the world, Equine-Assisted Therapy has become a widely used therapeutic method for treating a variety of psychological, mental, and mood disorders, and even addiction. It has been successful treating patients experiencing—

  • Behavioral difficulties
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Personality disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Major life changes such as trauma, grief, divorce and loss
  • Addiction and recovery

At Honey Lake Clinic, equine therapy is used in correlation with other forms of treatment and education, offering you a deeper awareness of yourself and a perfect environment in which to explore your feelings, behaviors and interactions with others.

How Does Equine Therapy Work?

Horses are majestic, gentle creatures. They’re quite large, weighing anywhere between several hundred and a thousand pounds. Their sheer size and strength can stir deeply buried emotions within you. They’re also social animals. Just like humans, horses have distinct personalities, moods and attitudes. They’re each unique.

To effectively communicate with a horse involves patience, consistency, attention and understanding. Horses are not only sensitive to mood, they have the ability to mirror the moods of people. A client may tell their therapist that the horse is stubborn, when, in fact, it is the patient that is stubborn and resistant. Sometimes a client will say, “I don’t think the horse likes me.” Horses are honest. People need to develop the necessary non-verbal communication skills and get outside of themselves in order to treat a horse with affection and attention. As they do, horses will respond in similar fashion.

Developing a bond between horse and human involves—

  • Affection
  • Assertiveness
  • Communication skills
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Mutual trust
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Self-control
  • Unconditional acceptance

Working with these magnificent creatures can provide an ideal setting in which to reveal thought and behavior patterns related to the issues that brought you into treatment. Equine therapy can assist you in learning valuable skills that will serve you in your treatment, recovery and beyond.

What are the Benefits?

Equine therapy is proven effective in helping clients develop accountability, responsibility, self-confidence, problem-solving ability, and self-control. Working with horses can help you develop several skills for healthier living, things like—

  • Identifying and coping with troubling thoughts and feelings
  • Communicating better with others
  • Setting healthier boundaries
  • Overcoming fears
  • Building trust

Equine-Assisted Therapy at Honey Lake Clinic

There are several nuances within the equine therapy program at Honey Lake which differentiate our program from others. Here are a few to consider—

  • Spiritual truths and principles are applied as clients work towards a point of ‘join up’ or connection with the animal. This aids you in drawing parallels between your own circumstances and your relationship with the horse.
  • Techniques from different models in equine therapy are employed. Whereas many programs follow one model or another, at Honey Lake we employ elements of different equine therapy approaches—and even techniques our experienced therapists and staff have developed—to best meet your individualized treatment plan.
  • Our clients have the opportunity to be a part of a horse’s rehabilitation at Honey Lake. You will find added fulfillment in being a part of the process to help horses move from an equine therapy animal to trail-riding horses, and eventually on their way to a good home.
  • The equine therapy program at Honey Lake can include work with larger draft horses. You will benefit greatly from the opportunity to connect with such powerful, yet gentle creatures.

Equine therapy is another example of the unique treatment options available at Honey Lake Clinic which enable us to help you address your health across all three spheres—spirit, mind and body—offering you your greatest potential for wholeness and transformative growth.

At Honey Lake, we’re committed to providing you with compassionate care and the practical equipping necessary to significantly improve the condition which brought you to our program. A faith-informed model, experienced staff, licensed professional caregivers, individualized treatment—all in a beautiful and tranquil 650-acre lakeside setting—we’re here for you.

Give us a call today. Honey Lake Clinic (888) 837-6577 email info@honeylake.clinic or visit www.honeylake.clinic
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