Those who are familiar with their magnificence, beauty and intelligence understand the power of horses to influence people in astounding ways. Horses have a natural healing power that has been proven effective in physical, mental, and emotional therapy. Besides their innate power and healing energy interacting with horses has other logical benefits.
Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of the horse is naturally intimidating to many children. Accomplishing a task involving a horse builds a great amount of confidence in a child especially when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life as they learn how to work through fear, work towards goals, and strive for success.
Horses are very much like people in that they are social animals. They have defined roles within their herds. They have distinct moods, attitudes, and personalities. An approach that works with one horse, does not necessarily work with another. Most importantly, horses have the ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them. They will immediately sense and respond to a child’s negative emotions and behaviors encouraging the child to problem solve when the methods aren't producing the desired response. A frustrated child can quickly cause his/her horse to become equally frustrated. This makes the child accountable for their actions, and helps them recognize the effects that their actions and behaviors can have on others. Horses are great teachers of anger management and patience. They do not have any preset standards of judgment. They react to what is happening and what they feel, not to any exterior front or “label” which makes them especially powerful messengers.
Horseback riding provides the child with a wider tactile experience. New sounds and smells along with increased visual stimulation enhance a child’s neural development. There is physical evidence that the motion of a horse’s trot neutralizes acids in a child’s brain that cause the feelings of rage and anxiety. As a coping mechanism many children become numb to their senses as a way of self defense. Loving and caring for a horse will give each child the opportunity to take on challenges that he or she may never have dreamed possible and will encourage them to take on other challenges in life.
The recreational aspect of riding and horse care is utilized to encourage children who have behavioral problems that are having difficulty with emotional closeness, social interaction, self-confidence, and impulse and anger control. It is used to increase the child’s abilities to control impulse actions, to manage anxiety and stress, and to resolve conflicts appropriately. If you leave a child alone with a horse…therapy will happen.
- Self-esteem & self-control
- General sense of well being
- Develop patience
- Better self-discipline
- Promote friendships
- Develop love & respect for animals
- Increased experiences with other children
- Expands vocabulary
- Sequencing, patterning & motor planning
- Visual spatial perception