Published: 12/03/2012 - Updated: 05/27/2016
Author: Miriam Reyes
Anyone who has had the opportunity knows that riding or being in their presence of a horse is a unique and unrivaled activity. The horses are rather proud, and you have to reach them with more humility than arrogance.
You have to earn their trust. That’s why it is a therapeutic animal that causes changes in the people who interact with them.
Horse Assisted Psychotherapy is taking place in many centers, both European and American and it is practiced in Mexico for several years, but the influence of horses on mood was known by the ancient Greeks.
Muscle Stimulation: Horses provide the possible stimulation of almost all body muscles, using movements that occur with pace. This kind of dance in contact with the equine provides therapeutic facets in cognitive, communicative and personality levels.
Sessions start being about 15 to 20 minutes, 2-3 times a week; when the patient advances, can reach a 60-minute sessions. The patient will not always sit astride the horse and facing the animal's head, depending on the type of stimulation is needed, you may sometimes lie on its back, sit facing the rump or take other positions.
The therapist should be relaxed, handling the situation with naturalness to the horse and the patient, trying to always create a rewarding experience and avoiding danger.
It is important to note that for many people it is not easy to face a horse, riding can be a bit intimidating and cause insecurity; so the first step for the patient is to contact the horse and brush its hair and create a long relationship with the animal.
Never force anyone to do anything, therapist should give all the parameters for the patient decides to come and ride. In the human-horse relationship there are always limits on both sides, you must know and never pass them, as this could become a negative experience.
For any type of therapy, it is essential that the horse is calm, manageable, used to be with many people and is fully tamed. Ideally, there are horses of certain races that work for different diseases. It is essential the good performance of the psychotherapist, since he is who move the situation with the horse to benefit the patient.
The benefits of equine therapy
Probably you wonder how you can help getting in touch with a so imposing animal. But a horse:
- Is unconditionally to the person. No matter your physique: if you are fat, short, tall, thin, and more. They just ask understanding.
- It never questions anything, but requires communication, which develops our creativity and observation, you can get the best out of yourself because you can reach conclusions that otherwise would be very difficult to achieve.
- Being in contact with a horse generates an interaction between the person and nature, developing our sense of respect towards it.
- It requires a lot of discipline, since people know themselves, their limitations and nature.
- It transmits strength. Being in contact with an animal of 500 kilos, more powerful than any person, being able to dominate builds self-esteem.
- Conveys freedom, it helps people who cannot move on their own without equipments
In general, the horse is a noble tool that helps the psychotherapist to give their patients the chance to feel free and safe.
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