Children and Equine Therapy – how does it work?

Teens and horses

It is a good question. How does interacting with horses help a trouble child or teenager? Anyone who works with horses knows that they react to you honestly – to your attitude, to your signals. Horses are also very caring creatures. With the aid of a therapist, these interactions can be used to help troubled youths learn how to express themselves and how to cope with their own complex emotions. Growing up is never easy, especially when life throws emotional loops at you when you are young. Equine therapy is a tool that when used properly can aid in overcoming these challenges. Rescue horses that come from lives of abuse and neglect, often make the most wonderful equine-assisted therapy horses. Several of our horses here at Habitat for Horses have gone on to helping humans – young and old – in Equine Assisted Therapies. Your support makes that happen! ~ HfH

From: The Huffington Post
By: Tim Hayes

Horses Don’t Get Divorced ~ Healing Today’s At Risk Youth

troubled teens and horsesAfter nine years of marriage, when Kyle was seven, his parents John and Sandy divorced. As divorces go, it was relatively amicable, and after about two years both parents were in new committed relationships.

Kyle made the painful adjustment to joint custody, commuting weekly between the two homes where his parents lived with their new partners. As time went on Kyle seemed to be was increasingly withdrawn in class according to his teachers. Many of the kids at Kyle’s school also had divorced parents and were often in trouble at school or at home. As he got older, Kyle found himself hanging out with some of them.

The first time Kyle smoked marijuana he was twelve. One day he came home with bruises all over his face. He told his father he had been in a fight. His mom had him see a therapist once a week, but Kyle said he hated going, and after three months he stopped. This happened multiple times with different therapists.

By the time Kyle started high school, he was smoking marijuana weekly, regularly getting into fights, and picking on his younger brother, sometimes physically. One night his father got a call from the police. Kyle had been arrested for trying to steal money from one of his classmates.

Teens and horsesHis father and mother went to the village police station and picked him up; no charges were pressed, but they were stunned. After two months of agonizing soul-searching and exploring therapeutic options, they brought Kyle to In Balance Ranch Academy, a therapeutic boarding school outside of Tucson, Arizona, to begin a one-year marijuana-addiction rehabilitation program. http://www.inbalranch.com/

Dr. William Parker, the therapist who would be in charge of Kyle’s recovery program, felt that the divorce of Kyle’s parents had contributed a great deal to his emotional difficulties and the struggles he was having in relating to his family and other people. Because his interpersonal guardedness had repeatedly made it difficult for him to establish a genuine relationship with a therapist, Dr. Parker decided to begin Kyle’s recovery with equine therapy.

Kyle was assigned to work with an equine therapist named Chris. In their first session, Chris asked Kyle to take a soft rope and step through a gate, into a small corral that held six horses. Next he asked him to walk toward the horses, choose one, gently put the rope around its neck, and lead it back to the gate. Kyle walked toward a small black horse named Cassidy. He got to within about three feet from it when the horse suddenly walked away and across the corral.

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1 Comment
  • Callie1982

    Horses are amazing giving and tolerant Animals. This innated recognition of another species needind assistance causes them to be marvelous Therapy Animals. Additionally, they put up with the brutality Human beings subject them to when they could easily kill the abuser with one swift kick.

    My 24 year old Quarterhorse serves as a Therapy Horse for an adult and he is gentle and calm. He fusses over her and is always happy to see her. All horses are amazing!

    Thanks HFH for sharing this!

    CD

    June 14, 2015