Improving Mental Health with Equine Therapy

by | Aug 28, 2018 | Health Featured

Although many people suffer from mental health problems, few of them seek help. But equine therapy could change that. Equine therapy provides people with mental health issues a fun way to overcome their daily challenges. Find out all about the growing trend.

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy is a form of horseback riding. Therefore, you need to understand how riding works before you understand equine therapy.

Horseback riding is an activity that involves you getting on a horse and riding around. However, it’s much more than just a recreational activity. Horseback riding is also a form of exercise. It requires you to use many of your muscles as you hold the reins and stay upright in your saddle. When you ride, you can build strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.

Once you’re done riding the horse, the work has only begun. You also need to care for the horse. To do so, you need to feed and water the horse. Additionally, you need to clean the stables and take care of the tack. Grooming is another important task. The care portion of horseback riding is just as physical as the riding portion.

Using Riding as Therapy

The process of horseback riding is a form of therapy known as equine therapy. When you work with horses, you improve your mental health in many ways. Being outdoors is enough to boost your mood. Likewise, being physically active can make you happier. The animal connection can also help. No matter what issues you suffer from, equine therapy can help.

There are many people who benefit from equine therapy. For example, people who suffer from depression can benefit greatly from working with horses. People with anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and a long list of other issues can also benefit. Horseback riding can change your life. Here are a few benefits of equine therapy:

  1. Get in touch with your emotions

One of the biggest challenges of overcoming mental health issues is getting in touch with your emotions. Fortunately, equine therapy can help. Horses are very sensitive animals, and working with them can bring out your sensitive side. A horse can help you read your emotions and help you identify hidden aggression.

  1. Build trust

Trusting others isn’t something that comes naturally. For many individuals, trusting others is almost impossible. This could lead to issues in personal relationships and trouble at work.

When you ride horses, you need to learn how to build trust. If you don’t trust your horse, you can’t ride. The horse needs to trust you to guide him. However, you also need to trust your horse. You need to trust him to follow your lead and to keep you safe. You learn how to build trust with your horse over time. Once you learn that skill, you can apply it to your personal and professional relationships.

  1. Improve communication

Horses might not be able to speak, but they can certainly communicate. When you work with horses, you learn to identify their methods of communication. As you do, this helps you learn how to be a better communicator.

Many people who suffer from mental illness struggle with communication. By working with horses, those individuals can learn how to express themselves more clearly. This can change lives.

Making Help More Accessible

People often hesitate to get help for their mental health troubles. The thought of going to a therapist or taking prescription medication can seem intimidating. However, horses aren’t intimidating. Even if you’ve never been on a horse in your life, you can learn how to ride.

Due to the comfort of riding, people are also more open to equine therapy than other therapies. The whole experience can be quite comfortable. When you participate in saddle fittings and other activities, you can get a smooth ride.

Equine therapy provides individuals with a unique opportunity to improve their mental health. It’s a growing trend that is opening new doors for individuals from all walks of life.

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