Why do we use horses?

Horses are amazingly sensitive - reading and responding to human intention and non-verbal communication. Their responses provide instant, honest feedback to our behaviour, moment by moment.

 

Naturally intimidating to many, horses are large and powerful. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

 

Like humans, horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning, an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.

 

Horses require us to work, whether in caring for them or working with them. In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable lesson in all aspects of life.

Most importantly, horses mirror human body language. They are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.

 

Clinical research studies indicate that equine assisted activities can positively impact depression, anxiety, ADHD, grief/loss, relationship issues, eating disorders, anger management and post-traumatic stress resulting from physical or sexual abuse or combat-related trauma.

 

Benefits have been well documented and include:

 

  • Increased self-esteem and confidence

  • Anger and anxiety management

  • Relationship building skills

  • Increased resilience

  • Ability to face fears/challenges

  • Increased communication (verbal & non-verbal) skills

  • Increase in awareness of healthy, safe personal boundaries

  • Increased assertiveness

  • Increased ability to accept and manage situations as they are

  • Teamwork and cooperation

  • Leadership skills

  • Successful planning and completion of tasks

  • Increased self-discipline and responsibility

© 2023 by Ever Green Senior Residence

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