In the field of equine facilitated psychotherapy, there are many variable that can confound the process of attempting to work with horses in healing the ailments that people so often face. And while there are a multitude of resources on exercises to perform, or certifications to obtain, perhaps no one thing is as important as simply knowing the horse you are working with. I share this personal story, as an example
n celebration of Memorial Day, and as a way to honor our soldiers, this blog is dedicated to the Horses for Heroes program. Horses for Heroes is a partnership program between various NARHA equine therapy programs and the Veterans Affairs department, to provide equine therapy services targeted toward the physical and psychological challenges that veterans face.
I looked out toward the three horses grazing on the hill, a buckskin gelding, gray gelding, and dark bay mare, and wondered if it is true that traumatized horses do make good candidates for equine facilitated psychotherapy programs.
People have always been fascinated with horses. From mankind’s first experiences with them, either through the parochial methods made timeless by the Spaniards (and later the Spanish riding school), or through the natural horsemanship techniques first mastered by Native Americans, horses have represented a power greater than man. To be sure, horses, for centuries, (and many would argue still today), were associated with wealth, and the pillaging of towns and villages frequently included the theft of many horses. Yet not only have horses represented power and wealth to man, but the mystique of something that is both not entirely understood, and not fully controlled. In considering man’s long history with horses, and the endless fascination we have always had with them, it is not hard to see why we would be equally intrigued with the idea that horses can, in some way, help heal what we cannot seem to heal ourselves.
This blog is the last in a series of an accounting of a personal experience with equine therapy, and is also an excerpt from my most recent book, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE: Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond, now available on Amazon.
His sides were tight with bound energy, and I squeezed harder than I should have. Often, the first steps forward will spook a young horse, too, as they feel the weight of a rider for the first time. Sometimes as they feel this weight, and perceive the rider moving along with them, they’ll bolt away in fear. I wanted to push past this; I didn’t want to take the time to reassure Nimo. I didn’t even have both hands on the reins. I just wanted to trust him. And, sure enough, those first steps forward were anything but hesitant. He marched forward with the authority of a horse many years older.
This blog is the third in a series describing a personal accounting of a healing experience with a horse, and is also an excerpt from my most recent book, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE: Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond, now available on Amazon.
This blog is the second in a series describing a personal accounting of a healing experience with a horse, and is also an excerpt from my most recent book, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE: Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond, now available on Amazon.
As equine therapy is truly a modality that is best experienced, as opposed to described, sometimes it is helpful to share a personal accounting of a way in which a horse can help a human. Therefore, this blog post is actually an excerpt from my book, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE: Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond. This is part one in a series:
My introduction to what equine facilitated psychotherapy really is was one that, like most moments of sagacity, left me utterly speechless. Even of more consequence to me was the fact that I had known horses my entire life, having ridden for almost as many years, and been involved in every aspect of the horse business from training, breeding, showing, transporting and mending horses, from the age of five. Yet I had, as many so often do, failed to consider my horses’ capacity for any awareness beyond that of my own.
While I recognized horses were highly intuitive and had even had moments with them that evidenced this, I had never once imagined that they knew more about me, than I knew about me. In fact, it was the other way around – I thought I knew more about them, than they knew about them.