Somebody once said: “The dog may be man’s best friend, but it was the horse that built civilization”. The truth is horses have played a key role in the progress of mankind. From fighting wars, to settling in new lands, to plowing fields, delivering mail, and escaping danger, horses and mankind have had a long history together.
Today, equine-assisted therapy is a form of treatment that recognizes and makes use of this special relationship. What IS Equine-Assisted Therapy Equine-assisted therapy – also known as therapeutic horseback riding – is a rehabilitation program for people – especially children – with psychological, emotional or physical disorders. The patient interacts with horses and learns how to care after them. The therapy may involve horse riding; however, this kind of program is not focused on learning riding techniques.
What It DOES
Equine-assisted therapy helps to build life skills in individuals with cognitive, physical, or emotional conditions. In addition, therapeutic riding can be very effective in people with physical disabilities since it helps to build muscles in the trunk as well as in the lower extremities. Concepts like teamwork and confidence are fostered as patients work together to figure out the solution to a problem and how to look for the positive in a situation.
Working with animals can have profoundly positive emotional effects. Their non-judgmental nature and dependence on humans make them the perfect blend for people with difficulties. Patients learn that they can change the animal’s behavior by first changing their own and animals help people to see inside themselves. Plus it helps to build their confidence as they interact and learn to communicate with an animal that is many times their own size. Equine Assisted Therapy is new and it is growing quickly. When participating in this type of therapy, one can see the many benefits it provides and why our relationship with horses has lasted through time.