Equine therapy services have been assisting people in changing negative thinking and behavioral patterns for years. But how does equine therapy work? If you’d like to learn more about teen equine therapy, call Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today at 866.300.5275. Our equine therapy program in North Carolina can help you or your loved one learn how to process emotions and break patterns of negative behavior.
What Is Equine Therapy?
Equine therapy works by focusing on the horses as a medium for helping individuals reach their therapeutic goals. The horse is seen as a partner in healing and encourages clients to practice mindfulness while they work with the animals.
Our teen equine therapy program allows clients to care for and bond with horses on campus. It includes both riding and non-riding activities. Participants feed and groom horses and learn how to lead and saddle them. As they gain confidence and experience working with the animals, they will be given an opportunity to ride if they wish.
Safety is always the number-one priority in all our activities. Experienced horse trainers closely supervise clients involved in teen equine therapy at all times. Equine therapy serves two primary purposes:
- First, the experience puts participants at ease and helps them build confidence. Animal-assisted psychotherapy is evidence-based and has been shown to help people improve their sense of well-being.
- Second, the therapy allows our mental health professionals to learn about clients outside of traditional therapy sessions. By observing a teen’s interactions with the horses, therapists can identify positive and negative behavioral patterns.
There is an increasing awareness of the important roles animals play in the lives of humans. Animal-human relationships are reciprocal. Pets require care and attention but also give back through companionship, comfort, and humor. Creating a relationship of reciprocation is a valuable part of the equine therapy function.
How Does Equine Therapy Work?
How does equine therapy work? Equine-assisted therapy is only one therapeutic method teens benefit from using. It is included along with traditional forms of therapy, like group, individual, and family therapy.
Like other therapeutic methods, teen equine therapy offers its own unique benefits. This type of therapy can:
- Promote the production of endorphins to calm the nervous system
- Reinforce healthy attachment patterns
- Create positive motivation for fully participating in treatment
- Increase emotional intelligence
- Decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Build confidence
- Provide a safe space to process thoughts and emotions
Fun is another important part of equine therapy function. It is an enjoyable break from what can be an emotionally challenging experience. Working with horses in different capacities allows teens to get outdoors and do something physical they enjoy.
What’s Special About Equine Therapy?
Studies have shown that, like dogs, horses have a keen ability to tune into human feelings. They are social animals that are sensitive to and often mirror human emotions. When a teen is calm and confident, a horse feels at ease. This feedback helps teens understand their own behavior without an authority figure pointing it out.
The fact that horses are large animals is an important factor in equine therapy function. Their size can be intimidating, especially to teens who don’t have experience working with horses. By building on small steps, teens can overcome fear or self-doubt — an important lesson for overcoming other challenges.
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery Offers Teen Equine Therapy
Equine-assisted therapy is one of many effective modalities we offer at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery. Most of the teenage boys who come to our treatment center are dealing with a great deal of emotional pain.
Whether they are struggling to heal from trauma or recover from a substance use disorder, experiential therapies like equine therapy provide comfort during a difficult time.