Does Equine Therapy Actually Work?

Have you ever wondered about the loyalty and patience of a horse? Think about it; a horse lets a human sit astride his back while running and jumping over tall obstacles. Why? The horse and human friendship is one that goes two ways. In return for the warm animal friendship and the joyful sport of riding, the human cares for the horse, making him feel needed and nurtured. Horses and humans have shared a bond for millennia. The similarities between these two social, herd-centered species make them natural therapy buddies. In your addiction recovery, you can learn important lessons as you forge a connection to and work alongside a horse. In Denver, Colorado, equine therapy for mental health and substance use disorders is available at Mile High Recovery Center.

Does equine therapy work? It does — and to find out more about horse treatment for addiction, reach out to Mile High Recovery Center today. We can give you some fascinating information about the way equine therapy works and how you can benefit from this and other evidence-based behavioral health and addiction treatments. Don’t wait — call 303-268-2144 today or use our online form.

What You Can Learn from a Horse

Equine therapy works because horses and people so readily accept each other as family — or herd mates. When you are vulnerable and struggling with addiction, low self-esteem, anxiety about the future, insecurity, and fear, the majestic horse may be just the creature to give you hope, build your confidence, and reacquaint you with joy. You will learn about:

1. Communication and understanding

Communication is knowing how to relate to someone (horse or human) and being able to tell what they are communicating in return. The relationship with a horse begins before long you sit on its back. Grooming, haltering, and leading a horse is the beginning of knowing whether you are reading the horse’s responses correctly. When you finally ride a horse, the communication connection needs to be easy and continuous, so neither of you misinterprets what the other is conveying.

2. Creating boundaries

Like humans, all horses have boundaries that must be respected. For example, some horses are comfortable with kissing and face touching, while others want to be warned when you wish to approach their head to put on the bridle. Reading the physical space requirements of your therapy horse is a wonderful opportunity to learn about boundaries, including your own. There is no value in trying to dominate a horse or force it to acquiesce. Learning how to negotiate terms is an important step.

3. Learning to trust

This important landmark lesson includes the overcoming of fear. Horses don’t judge us or expect us to be a certain way. When you learn to trust the horse, and when the horse who depends on you learns to trust that you won’t harm him, true companionship begins. At that point, you can proceed without fear, knowing you can be yourself, no matter what.

Horse Treatment for Addiction

Equine therapy has been described as horse biofeedback. A horse reflects your mood and emotions. Being with a horse can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. If you are afraid, the horse feels that fear and acts skittish or anxious. If you are sad, your therapy horse may move closer, stand very still, lay his head beside yours and breathe with you. People who begin working with horses in a therapeutic setting quickly realize how nuanced and powerful the bond between a horse and a human can be.

Develop confidence, emotional regulation, and patience through equine therapy. Feel centered, experience the joy of affection and partnership, and learn to trust yourself and others.

Does Horse Therapy Work? Find Out at Mile High Recovery Center

Our clients cannot say enough about our equine therapy program. Both evidence-based and experiential, this therapy modality is used widely for mental health and substance use disorders, as well as co-occurring disorders.

In our equine therapy program:

  • Work with experienced equine therapists who observe and support your developing relationship with the horse
  • You will communicate with and interpret your therapy animal

Learn more today by calling us at 303-268-2144 or reaching out via online form.

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