Why Animal Therapy?
Horses are skillful therapists
Our animals are the true therapists; not us humans. We act as facilitators to help you understand how the animals are reading you.
In nature, horses are hunted animals (prey animals) and are always on the look out for predators that might kill them. As a matter of survival, horses have developed a very high level of sensitivity and awareness to their surroundings. They have the ability to sense intent, read body language, interpret movement and so on. Whether the object of observation is a grizzly bear or a person, the horse’s ability to “read” is the same.
So, what happens in a therapy session? A highly trained facilitator, the horse and the client are working together to achieve a goal. For example, the client must get the horse to move without touching the horse. In this scenario, the client is attempting to communicate with the horse, the horse is reacting to the client’s body language, and the facilitator is reading the horse. The facilitator sees what the horse is sensing from the client and then can guide the client to become more aware of his or her inner state of mind and subsequently change it.
It’s been proven that when humans are around animals and nature, the “feel good” hormones, Serotonin and Oxytocin, are released. When these feel good hormones flood the body we feel less stress and the brain is much more capable of taking in information. While riding a horse, the rhythmic movement of the horse moves the rider’s body in a specific rhythmic motion which triggers the brain waves to align, which in turn sets the stage for spontaneous learning, concentration, balance, co-ordination and much more. The physical benefits are amazing as well! The rider’s body becomes naturally strengthened - especially the core - as riding requires use of muscles we never thought we had!
Riding experience is not necessary. Some of our programs involve riding, some do not. Once the therapy session is complete, our facilitators conduct debriefing sessions to help each participant clarify his/her experience with the intention to apply the new learned behaviour and awareness into their everyday lives.