How Spending Time With Horses Can Help Heal Us



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In times of unrest, it is not unusual to seek comfort in those willing to listen without judgment – our animals. They provide us a sense of well-being, peace, and understanding in a chaotic world. There are many therapeutic programs that rely on animals to promote physical and emotional growth in those with anxiety, depression, dementia, and other health issues. Animals such as dogs, pigs, and even roosters are used to help victims of abuse, at-risk youth, the elderly, and soldiers with PTSD. Horses are one of the most powerful therapeutic animals available to us.

There are several equine-assisted therapy organizations in existence. Most involve the use of a horse for riding purposes. There is no doubt that equine therapy can help build and restore confidence, trust, and social skills – however, this can be accomplished without riding. Horses are  highly social and responsive animals with behaviors very similar to our own, thus making it possible to form meaningful connections. How can we learn from our equine companions without exploiting their gentle nature?

The Purpose of a Horse

Society has long regarded the horse as a mere servant to our needs. We have spent years exploiting and utilizing them for our own entertainment. We have assigned a value on their use rather than learn to truly understand them. They are often required to have a “job,” a purpose in life. We have used them as means of transportation, as workers in agriculture, and as objects of entertainment. They have born the brunt of our abuse, neglect, and indifference.


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Time after time when they no longer suit our needs or can no longer gain us a profit, we toss them aside without a second thought. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 horses are slaughtered for meat on an annual basis – school horses, racehorses, a child’s beloved companion, as well as the tired and broken ones, none are spared this horrific fate. Somewhere along the line we have either forgotten or chosen to ignore the fact that these are living beings capable of deep feeling and emotion. They have a natural ability to accept those in need without prejudice when given the chance to do so. Horses can truly make a difference in our lives. They can help us to gain confidence, accept who we are, feel at peace, and heal emotionally as well as physically – all without ever placing a saddle on their back.


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