Equine Therapy: In a Video Game?
While video games may not be for everyone, they can certainly teach us a lot about life. Yet, until recently, the subject of horses, and their value to us as humans, has been relatively absent. However, in the new video game Your Farm, gaining a horse is seen as a prize.
However, the game has an interesting twist. To secure the horse, you must first improve your relationship with humans.
Then, the game explains, you must always leave your horse in a designated “farm” area, otherwise when you want to ride it, you’ll have to catch it.
Further, you can enter your horse into a “horse festival” and your chances of winning are based on the number of hearts your horse has (which you earn through improving your relationship with your horse).
So, you ask, just what can this video game teach us?
Well, typically in equine therapy, the idea is that by improving your relationship with a horse, your relationship with humans will improve.
But the game makes a few interesting points.
First, in horse competitions, or in any competitions for that matter, seldom do we consider that the chances of winning could be based on the quality of the relationship with the partner that we play with. Instead, we focus on technique, skill, style, and strategy, which, is actually not that different from what we do when we are “competing” in a relationship. Instead of focusing on improving the quality of the relationship (the amounts of heart it might be awarded), we focus on how we are getting our needs met, and whether or not our partner is adequately meeting them.
Second, the idea that we have to be a better person (improving the relationship with the human in the game) to gain access to the horse, takes the the equine therapy model for a 360 degree spin, as typically practitioners of equine facilitated psychotherapy purport that it is through spending time with a horse that a person will become a better human. However, certainly improving our human relationships will increase our self awareness, which then will improve our ability to forge a relationship with a horse.
So while perhaps the last thing we may have thought to find in a video game was an entrance into the world of equine therapy, here it is.
And so play away.
To check out the game, visit:
Man playing video game photo available from Shutterstock
Dorotik-Nana, C. (2012). Equine Therapy: In a Video Game?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 30, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/equine-therapy/2012/09/equine-therapy-in-a-video-game-2/