Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy uses the horse as a tool for a licensed therapist to provide mental health treatment. Young people who ordinarily shun physical and emotional closeness with other people can often accept it from a horse. The bond between child and horse can help children develop trust, respect, affection, empathy, unconditional acceptance, confidence, responsibility, assertiveness, communication skills and self-control. To succeed with a horse, children must exercise patience, understanding, attention, forgiveness and consistency—abilities they will find useful throughout their lives.
Connecting with the horse can also reduce a child’s reluctance to talk about their thoughts and feelings. By walking beside the horse and child, the therapist can connect with the child and talk about issues they are unable or unwilling to discuss in any other setting.
As humans, we’re born in relationships and wounded in relationships. The only place we’ll be able to heal is through relationships. Horse therapy gives kids a chance to understand how trusting, and opening their hearts, can change their lives.
Therapeutic Riding provides physical, psychological, social, and educational benefits for people with and without disabilities. Riding a horse provides a unique, and often profound, experience. A child who learns how to build a relationship with a horse can extend this to others and form meaningful relationships with people. The trust and loyalty of a horse teaches children the direct correlation between action and reaction. Riding empowers children and helps them connect on a personal level, sometimes for the first time. The unpredictable nature of a horse also creates a real-life environment in which children are able to confront their fears and make adjustments to situations beyond their control.
Quincy is in charge of safety for her herd. She values peace and collaboration. To work with her, Alex had to develop those skills too. Quincy’s greatest gift to Alex was demonstrating how to approach life with an open heart.
For more information about the
Horse Program, please contact us at info@DakotaRanch.org.