When you get to know a horse, you feel naturally comfortable. The same is true of a loyal dog or a kind cat. Really, any nice creature can become a significant friend. That’s one of the most powerful parts of equine therapy: horses create a bond that is absolutely unspoken. But the advantages of hippotherapy don’t stop there. Let’s delve into a few more reasons why horses naturally bring the best out of us.
Unlike some humans, horses don’t judge you. They are open and accepting to all. A horse won’t be critical. A horse won’t reject you. A horse doesn’t have painful words. Horses build natural, devoted relationships with humans, without asking for much in return (some petting and a carrot can go a long way). For those with trust issues and emotional instability, a horse can be a welcome sight.
Sure horses are warm-blooded, but they also actively show warmth and affection. Whether it’s a kind whinny, a hand on a nose, a welcome look, or a gentle stroll together, horses always provide care and tenderness to those that surround them. It’s a horse’s warmth that creates a feeling of comfort for patients.
Animals can sense human emotion, and they are sympathetic when we’re sad. Think about a favorite dog—they sense when you’re not feeling well, and they’ll demonstrate their compassion with a nuzzle to your hand or a whimper. Horses are just like that. They can sense pain or sadness, and they will do their best to be supportive and uplifting.
Mental & Physical Benefits
Because of their warmth, sympathy, and lack of judgement, horses are perfect assistants in treating mental and physical disorders. As Psychology Today emphasizes, equine therapy can be a powerful kind of treatment for those with “Attention Deﬁcit Disorder, anger management, conﬂict resolution, relationship issues, couples therapy, depression, anxiety, stress, substance abuse, eating disorders, at-risk youth, victims of abuse, those in bereavement, those lacking self-esteem, veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, people who are unresponsive to traditional therapies, and people with other mental health challenges.”
Hippotherapy can also be beneficial for those fighting physical illnesses. There is physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy in addition to emotional, and psychological therapies. Horse therapy is good for those with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism-spectrum patients, multiple sclerosis, developmental delay, post stroke, and TBI, among others. Through a horseback riding, patients learn balance, and they’re senses are engaged and stimulated. Mounted riding, grooming, tacking and other hands-on activities are all aimed to improve the wellbeing of patients.