Neighhhhhhh — Your new Therapist is a HORSE !
How Does Horse Therapy Work?
The newest therapy partner might surprise you. Oh, I forgot to mention, you might also want to wear a pair of steel-toed boots too for your next therapist session. I hope you like – horse therapy.
Welcome to equine-assisted psychotherapy at Berkshire HorseWorks, where people tackle their mental-health issues by getting up close and personal with thousand-pound hairy beasts with whiskers.
It’s an unusual way of dealing with depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, so unusual that some insurance companies balk at paying for it, and some critics charge that there’s scant evidence that it works. But the therapy is so popular that more than 700 programs worldwide have specialists certified . . . Deseret News, Why your next therapy session might include a horse, Jennifer Graham, March 27, 2017
Hippotherapy, Horse therapy or Equine Therapy
For the last several years, horse therapy or hippotherapy has become more and more popular. What is this? The term can involve people riding horses for physical therapy benefits.
Many children think of riding as a pleasure. The kids don’t realize that the motion of their body on a horse is increasing their core strength. So “working out” for them is fun. Which means that the children like to do it. It’s a win-win situation because several therapeutic riding facilities use rescue horses. Once the horses are rescued, they are retrained to be therapy horses.
Equine Therapy Does NOT Always Involve Riding the Horse
Recently, horse therapy has evolved to on-the-ground activities. This may involve leading a horse around obstacles. A client might be in charge of grooming and/or feeding horses. And other activities that a therapist might come up with short of actually getting on the horse.
For the last 16 years, horses have been used at the Betty Ford Clinic in Minnesota. There is No riding. Though getting hands on with the horses IS part of the treatment. Most of the patients are there for addiction reasons. But the clinic also uses their unique therapy services to address other issues as well. Mental health, wellness and military/ family issues can all be addressed partially with equine therapy.
What I am interested in is autism. And I’m tickled that equine therapy is also being recognized as an option for autism spectrum disorders.
Georgia has a cute little farm called Butterfly Dreams Farm where autistic kids can have fun. And riding the horse is part of the therapy.
Research results that back up the anecdotal evidence
Horseback riding interventions have therapeutic benefits for people with disabilities. Wolters Kluwer Health
Several studies have just been published that concludes that there is a positive effect to horse riding. These studies involved patients with physical disabilities. Further scientific studies will have to be done to prove that the emotional and mental benefits of equine therapy is not just “theoretical”. And the answer to the question, How Does Horse Therapy Work? , will be definitive.
I believe we are on the right track with our son “B”. Now to find a therapist in our area that we can work with until we get our facility up and running. Of course you must remember that’s our decision as a family. Our son is 23 and hasn’t had a lot of “autism” therapy as he was identified extremely late. Your family and your situation may be different.
For more information on Equine Therapy please keep checking back as we will be posting a lot of articles on this subject.
What do you guys think? Is our theory of training our son in farming a right decision? For those of you who have adult autistic children — what have you found that was helpful in your situation?
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