Equine Therapy is Horses Helping People: How do horses help?

Horses can help with therapy in many ways.

Therapeutic riding programs offer ways to have a natural walking motion for patients who can't walk and this helps build better core strength, balance and confidence.

Horses help with emotional trauma. Veterans and inmates can be helped by working with horses and building a trust relationship.

Mini horses make visits to patients in hospitals and care centers. They also visit people to help people cope with tragedy much like therapy dogs.

Horses are honest and accepting. Horses form strong bonds to humans and become a partnership which helps the rider feel safe. Most therapeutic riding programs use people as spotters next to the horse and leading the horse so the rider can focus on the motion.

Horses help people with ADD/ADHD focus.

Sometimes psychotherapists use horses to help patients with cognitive or emotional issues.

Occupational therapists use horses to help patients with neuro-muscular disorders, balance, and coordination.

Therapeutic Riding helps children heal from trauma, as well as improve confidence.

Here is a link from Psychology Today that explains how horses help people.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/helping-kids-cope/201903/equine-assisted-therapy-unique-and-effective-intervention
Here is a video about a Miniature Horse Therapy program and how they help.

Do you have a story to share about how working with a therapy horse has helped in healing, strength, and confidence? Please join the conversation.

Thanks for starting this thread. There is a program here, where rescued horses are paired with people who could use some rescuing, some mentally and some physically. It is amazing to see them rescue each other. Not everyone who enters sticks, but everyone who enters, humans and horses alike benefit immensely.

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Horses do a wonderful job in the therapy programs, and form strong bonds with people. I bought a 4 yr old tb off the track who had lost all trust in people and took months to come around. She still has no time for other people at the age of 29 but we are very close. I had a small pony for my daughter years ago who was very careful with a beginner but would jump 3 feet, did dressage and cross country with her. Worth his weight in gold. Wonderful creatures, and are very grateful when rescued from the slaughter pipeline.

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@auntieoakley

Thanks for starting this thread. There is a program here, where rescued horses are paired with people who could use some rescuing, some mentally and some physically. It is amazing to see them rescue each other. Not everyone who enters sticks, but everyone who enters, humans and horses alike benefit immensely.

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@auntieoakley “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” ~ Winston Churchill

No truer words were spoken. The best years of my life were spent training/starting/working with Standardbred racehorses. They gave me so much.
Ginger

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@manorbier

Horses do a wonderful job in the therapy programs, and form strong bonds with people. I bought a 4 yr old tb off the track who had lost all trust in people and took months to come around. She still has no time for other people at the age of 29 but we are very close. I had a small pony for my daughter years ago who was very careful with a beginner but would jump 3 feet, did dressage and cross country with her. Worth his weight in gold. Wonderful creatures, and are very grateful when rescued from the slaughter pipeline.

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Thanks for chiming in. Aren’t they awesome when we rescue them? They seem to know, somehow, who they can trust. You still have your old OTTB, do you have any other horses? How have they helped you?

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@auntieoakley

Thanks for chiming in. Aren’t they awesome when we rescue them? They seem to know, somehow, who they can trust. You still have your old OTTB, do you have any other horses? How have they helped you?

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They know when we rescue them, just as dogs and cats do, when you give them a home from the pound, which is where all our household pets have come from. My other two horses are the foals of the 29 yr old mare. Sadly the first was a twin (one died) missed on two early ultrasounds and she didn't stand for 3 weeks, but she grew to 15hh and I started her under saddle to see what she could do. Though a poor mover due to weak hind end she loved to jump, but she had a neurological disorder as a 6yr old and that was the end of her working days. We bottle fed her as a baby until she could stand and she has always been a bit sassy, but still makes us laugh at age 17. Her half brother was a very talented dressage horse that had just reached Prix St Georges and his career ended 2 years ago at age 11 due to kissing spine for which steroid injections no longer worked, right before I was diagnosed with st.4 lung cancer and MAC. We now do very slow exercises to strengthen his back and with my weakness I am grateful to do just that, which helps us both. Just today I found out he has hyperinsulinemia so will now have to watch his diet and add supplements, poor guy. For all that I wouldn't be without them, we are all invalids together. Lol

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@manorbier

They know when we rescue them, just as dogs and cats do, when you give them a home from the pound, which is where all our household pets have come from. My other two horses are the foals of the 29 yr old mare. Sadly the first was a twin (one died) missed on two early ultrasounds and she didn't stand for 3 weeks, but she grew to 15hh and I started her under saddle to see what she could do. Though a poor mover due to weak hind end she loved to jump, but she had a neurological disorder as a 6yr old and that was the end of her working days. We bottle fed her as a baby until she could stand and she has always been a bit sassy, but still makes us laugh at age 17. Her half brother was a very talented dressage horse that had just reached Prix St Georges and his career ended 2 years ago at age 11 due to kissing spine for which steroid injections no longer worked, right before I was diagnosed with st.4 lung cancer and MAC. We now do very slow exercises to strengthen his back and with my weakness I am grateful to do just that, which helps us both. Just today I found out he has hyperinsulinemia so will now have to watch his diet and add supplements, poor guy. For all that I wouldn't be without them, we are all invalids together. Lol

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I feel the same way, most days. My horses are all so kind and so gentle with me. I am very grateful to them. My paint came from the feed lot, ready to ship to slaughter as a stud at around 10 years. He was gelded and treated nicely and in no time he had turned into the barn clown and people pleaser. My quarter was treated badly and abandoned, he loves whoever his one person is at any given time, and me, but is very untrusting of new people. My friesian loves all of his adoring fans and is just the kindest most gentle guy. He was abandoned at an age over 20 and the vet figures he is now somewhere over 30. He is slowing down, but no suffering. All of them regularly participate with other people, only adults with the quarter.

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@auntieoakley

I feel the same way, most days. My horses are all so kind and so gentle with me. I am very grateful to them. My paint came from the feed lot, ready to ship to slaughter as a stud at around 10 years. He was gelded and treated nicely and in no time he had turned into the barn clown and people pleaser. My quarter was treated badly and abandoned, he loves whoever his one person is at any given time, and me, but is very untrusting of new people. My friesian loves all of his adoring fans and is just the kindest most gentle guy. He was abandoned at an age over 20 and the vet figures he is now somewhere over 30. He is slowing down, but no suffering. All of them regularly participate with other people, only adults with the quarter.

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You are obviously a horse softy like me, and your guys are obviously very grateful that you took them in. I wish I could save them all when I see their terror in the slaughter pipeline. Sadly , cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens go through the same terror, watching those in front of them fighting for their lives. it is so cruel, but most people have no idea. We have a local butcher who keeps animals overnight and then they are taken one by one into an enclosed room so they never witness what is coming, which is more humane.

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@jenniferhunter,
A beautiful video, Jennifer!

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@manorbier

You are obviously a horse softy like me, and your guys are obviously very grateful that you took them in. I wish I could save them all when I see their terror in the slaughter pipeline. Sadly , cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens go through the same terror, watching those in front of them fighting for their lives. it is so cruel, but most people have no idea. We have a local butcher who keeps animals overnight and then they are taken one by one into an enclosed room so they never witness what is coming, which is more humane.

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Jude is my third from the feed lot. The first two were a mare and her filly, mustangs from Nevada. Fresh off the range. Even those horses were so grateful for the love and care. I cannot take them all. Right now I have 3 that were abandoned in my own little corner of the world. A total of 4 changes a budget a lot. 😂🙄

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@auntieoakley

Jude is my third from the feed lot. The first two were a mare and her filly, mustangs from Nevada. Fresh off the range. Even those horses were so grateful for the love and care. I cannot take them all. Right now I have 3 that were abandoned in my own little corner of the world. A total of 4 changes a budget a lot. 😂🙄

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Thank you, Chris! You’re a special lady. It’s so wonderful you can provide a safe haven for these horses. I know, I wish we could save them all! It’s heartbreaking…
Not being in the position to personally tend horses, my husband and I are huge supporters for a horse welfare/rescue not far from us. It’s really expensive rescuing horses and providing them with everything they need. The couple who run it are just outstanding people and the work they do is priceless in getting the medical care for the horses and also getting them trained and ready for adoption. They are extremely selective about that! Heart warming!

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@loribmt

Thank you, Chris! You’re a special lady. It’s so wonderful you can provide a safe haven for these horses. I know, I wish we could save them all! It’s heartbreaking…
Not being in the position to personally tend horses, my husband and I are huge supporters for a horse welfare/rescue not far from us. It’s really expensive rescuing horses and providing them with everything they need. The couple who run it are just outstanding people and the work they do is priceless in getting the medical care for the horses and also getting them trained and ready for adoption. They are extremely selective about that! Heart warming!

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I keep these horses until the end unless they get especially attached to a human they rescue. Sometimes the humans they rescue just can’t imagine life without them and they get to adopt them.

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This article seems to "say it all". Let's hear it for our equine support systems!
https://themighty.com/2021/09/horses-heal-therapy-autism/

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