Horses are highly sensitive animals that can pick up on human emotions and energy. In equine-assisted therapy, horses can play an important role in helping individuals manage stress by providing a calming and therapeutic presence. Here are some ways horses may manage stress in equine-assisted therapy:
Horses are non-judgmental creatures that accept individuals for who they are, without any preconceived notions or biases. This can create a safe and non-threatening environment that can help reduce stress.
Regulation of their own stress
Horses have developed natural ways of regulating their own stress, such as grazing or resting. In equine-assisted therapy, horses can model healthy stress regulation techniques for humans.
Mirror and biofeedback effect
Horses are highly attuned to human emotions and energy, and can mirror the emotions and energy they sense from humans. This can provide valuable biofeedback to humans, helping them become more aware of their own emotional state and develop skills for managing stress.
Grounding and sensory experience
Horses provide a grounding and sensory experience that can help individuals become more present and mindful. This can involve engaging in activities with the horse, such as grooming, walking, or just spending time in their presence.
Social support and connection
Horses are social animals that live in herds and form strong bonds with other horses. In equine-assisted therapy, horses can provide social support and connection for humans, which can help reduce stress and promote well-being.
Equine-assisted therapy harnesses the therapeutic power of horses to aid individuals in managing stress. Through their calming presence, modelling of healthy stress regulation, provision of biofeedback, grounding and sensory experiences, and the fostering of social support and connection, horses play a pivotal role in enhancing emotional well-being and stress management. The unique and profound bond between humans and horses in this context represents a potent avenue for personal growth and healing.
For appointments or clinical supervision in equine assisted therapy please call our reception on 03 9118 2022 or book online via our website.
For books and resources such as ‘Hoofprints on how to set up an Equine Assisted Therapy clinic’ and children’s books, ‘Happy The very Sad Pony’ and ‘Trigger the Anxious Horse’ you can purchase them via harnessingwellness.com or online bookshops such as Amazon and Booktopia among others.