Horses, by nature, have a natural spirit that is compassionate and intuitive. Horses, unlike people, do not judge or have any preconceived notions about individuals; therefore, they inherently create a safe space for all individuals, regardless of the existence of any disability. By utilizing our horses in a therapeutic manner, we are able to promote hope, growth, and most importantly, we foster a sense of accomplishment as well as independence in our students. These specific traits, we have found, were often hidden, or had yet to manifest for our students prior to participation in equine therapy.
Additionally, our program works to improve emotional intelligence, which allows participants to become higher functioning members of society, making them more employable into the future. We never turn away from a challenge and strive to help students reach their full-potential with a concentration on diversity, inclusion, equity, and support, in a therapeutic environment.
The benefits of Therapeutic Horsemanship are all-encompassing, as this progressive therapy provides growth and enhancement for students physically, psychologically, educationally, and socially.
The benefits of therapeutic horsemanship are diverse and individualized, depending on each individual's condition and their goals for the therapy. In general, equine therapy has been proven to provide the benefits listed above, but has also been known to
improve balance and coordination, decrease anxiety and depression,
improve self-esteem, and help with individual emotional management.
It can also improve communication skills, teach teamwork, and increase empathy
and respect towards others.
Along with physical therapeutic benefits, horseback riding provides the rider with a feeling of control, a sense of accomplishment, and increased self-esteem, as the ability to control a horse as well as one's own body inherently inspires positive feelings about one's self.
A Brief History of Equine Therapy
It is important to note that the use of horses for therapeutic purposes is believed to date back to ancient Greek times. The Greek physician Hippocrates, also known as the "Father of Medicine" wrote texts outlining the therapeutic value of riding as therapy for physical and mental ailments. However, despite its long history, what is considered modern therapeutic horsemanship has really become widely accepted in the mid-20th century. Most importantly, it is formally recognized by medical and therapeutic professionals to be a legitimate form of therapy for a variety of physical, mental, and emotional conditions.