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.


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.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Just Want to Talk Support Group.

Here's a beautiful story about loving horses, serious disease, recovery and loving horses again.

"Gift of Gratitude: Woman returns to cherished horses after cancer and transplant at Mayo Clinic"


I have heard of a few programs for equine therapy for vets. Anyone familiar with these programs?

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There is one for vets near me in Belvidere, Illinois that as I understand it has been very successful with the veterans.


Thanks for this post Jennifer. I finally had the opportunity to go through all the responses.
Our local park, lockwoodpark.com is in the process of building an indoor facility to the tune of over six million dollars so that we can have year round therapy with local mental health facilities as well as working close with the county mental health services. I am fortunate to be on the ground floor of this development and am looking for opportunities to be a little more than just a wrangler for the horses they will use.
Our park already works in this area as well as the general public taking lessons or riding in groups. The change I have witnessed in some of these kids over the summer when they started to learn about the equine world has made me smile to no end. So lucky to have two really wonderful volunteer gigs since retiring from the business world.

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