Updated: Jul 11, 2019
So I was enrolled in equine therapy long before I even considered it as such a thing. I couldn't have gotten through a lot of things without my pony Molls, and to many people that sounds silly. An animal of which cannot communicate back to you, being therapy to someone? What?! Well unlike people, they physically don't have the ability to manipulate or lie to you, that's a relief in itself. But the fact they can't communicate back to us, is sometimes more useful to us than someone who tries, because they do something so much more important, they listen. They are honest creatures and they will tell it like it is. Like the famous horse whisperer Buck Brannaman said;
“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.”
By reading an article in Psychology Today, which can be found here. Unlike my equine therapy which was unplanned and actually helped me in more ways then one. Actual planned equine therapy is run by medical professionals, either by a licensed psychotherapist or physical therapists. By using technique's and activities to get people who suffer from physical, as well as mental illnesses, to open up to who they truly are.
Le t ' s F a c e T h e F a c t s :
Many people find it hard coming to terms with who they are, whether this is genetic, due to substance abuse, suffering a traumatic experience, or even just 'normal' people. The problem is, many people don't want to face themselves, because in often cases they won't like what they see, or that's what they think. Then, when you combine that with the fact that CBT therapy (the most common) is often a person talking at you, telling you that you're feeling a certain way, and offering advice on what you can do about it, it just seems outright daunting. The aspect of standing in front of a horse, who you're not trying to impress, who you don't even have to talk to, but just simply be there with them, often can be found to lead to better results.
T h e F e a r F a c t o r :
Getting an animal which is twice your size to do something you want it to do is hard at the best of times, but when you're suffering from an illness, or just can't face who you are as a person; the wall which is separating you from the best version of yourself, quite literally is turned physical by how the horse reacts towards you. Horses are one of the most humble creatures amongst us, they mirror our emotions, and if you are struggling to be honest and communicate with yourself and others, the task at hand proves almost seems impossible. However the more time someone spends trying to open up, working not only with the horse but with themselves, the more rewarding it is, and the more progress is made.
T r u s t :
Being a rider myself I can whole-hardheartedly say to you that you can ride a horse to the best of your ability, but if that horse does not trust you, you will not get the ride you are wanting to achieve. Not only is it important for you to trust the horse, but it is also important for the horse to trust you, a common factor which is often ignored. They are physically giving up their freedom for you, in order for you to tell them what to do, respect that. Trust is something which is hard to gain, and even harder to gain back, and it is something that a lot of people aren't grateful enough for, until it's taken away from them. So equine therapy reassures people, especially those who have lost trust from other, and lost trust within themselves and teach them to gain that trust back.
I C a n S e e R i g h t T h r o u g h Y o u , Y ' k n o w :
Whether you like it or not, a horse can see who you truly are. They can open the door to understating past traumatic events, of which you might not even know have affected you in the past. Perhaps you're trying to get a horse to walk over a bridge, there is not a lot of space there, and the horse might feel blocked in, and trapped. A client who has experienced this feeling of being trapped in their life before or currently, such as suffering abuse as a child, or going through depression, might understand it in a way that a normal therapist never could. They see themselves in the horse, and the wall just shatters. It allows the client to realise they're not alone, but they also face up to the fact that they might subconsciously feel an essence of powerlessness or helplessness in their lives. This realisation then allows clients to talk out their problems so they can actually face them head on.
P r o o f , Y o u C a n G e t T h r o u g h T h i s :
Being scared of horses is actually a pretty common fear, and no wonder, they can seem like such large and powerful creatures, but it is proven fact that a horses' innate function is to not hurt you, in fact horses go out of it's way to not hurt you. Using equine therapy doesn't only have the potential of allowing people to overcome their deepest fears but it also allows people to develop a new-found, or recovered confidence that can be transitioned, and be used in real-life situations. They're social animals with their own personalities, no two horses are the same, but what all horses share in common is that they are willing to listen to anyone that is up for sharing.
You have to understand that a lot of people don't like opening up, so if you or someone you know is struggling with opening up to others or themselves then get in contact with an equine therapist near you. I have done my own research and my recommendation would most defiantly by equussolutions. Click the link to find out more.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO MY PONY FOR GETTING ME THROUGH LIFE SO FAR x