People with addictions and mental health issues tend to have experienced periods of prolonged drug use and some form of isolation and find themselves emotionally underdeveloped. They may have problems relating to or growing close to others while managing to create close bonds with horses.
Equine therapy helps people begin to recognize their conscious and subconscious process of communicating and interacting with other people. Horses, however, do not talk, they rely on nonverbals and are excellent communicators. By learning to understand horse behavior people can learn how others operate in the world and the way their behavior may impact their relationships.
Because horses are gregarious, typically found in packs, they are sophisticated social animals and begin immediately building connections and relationships with people, seeing them as members of their herd. An individual will then decide if they will stick to their old methods of interaction, or accept this unique opportunity to explore a new way to relate to others.
Although riding horses can be part of equine therapy, we don’t practice this at Stable Environment. The most important work with horses takes place during the interactions between the individual and the horse. Simple activities such as haltering, leading and grooming can have a profound effect on people in approaching others with awareness and respect.
It is during the processing of activities through the guidance of skilled therapist that people open up about what they have seen and felt as they interacted with the horse. Here, they begin to identify ways in which their views of the world may be inaccurate or misguided. They begin to recognize how they may have been projecting their own views, issues, and problems onto others.