How Horses Assist In Addiction Recovery

In several relationships—between animal and human—an undeniable bond is formed, when a connection is established between the two. In turn, we oftentimes see individuals who are struggling with addiction find comfort through such, as they endure through their trials with a companion, rather than by themselves. As a result, when one undergoes equine therapy a certain mutualism takes place which allows both species to recognize one another.

First and foremost, equine therapy is “the discipline of using horses as a means to provide metaphoric experiences in order to promote emotional growth.” It is through such, that one begins to see how, a horse interacts with a human similar to how a human would interact with another of his/her own kind—and vice versa. For example, if a human was to get angry with another, the one being attacked may grow aggressive. In response, the one who is being yelled at could feel frightened—or even fight back—just as a horse would.

Consequently, this can all be due to a lack of trust or being mistreated. However, when a meaningful relationship is formed through horse and human—through various activities—the well being of both man and animal is bettered through areas such as, “assertiveness, emotional awareness, empathy, stress tolerance, flexibility, impulse control, problem-solving skills, self-actualization, independence, self-regard, social responsibility, interpersonal relationships”.

Yet even so, there’s a process that one must undergo when establishing a connection with his/her horse—as it goes way beyond grooming, feeding, and health. It is through daily exercise with one’s horse that deeper growth begins to take place—even if the activity is small, and short in time frame.

As a matter of fact, the most important thing that one can do is greet his/her horse as he/she approaches them. It is through a simple first impression such as this, that the horse can begin to react to the energy of the human. Therefore, one must make sure that he/she is relaxed, and in unison with the energy of his/her horse.

As a result—when they set aside their own needs for a brief period of time, and/or take their horses needs into consideration—the thoughtfulness of such creates a stronger bond between both animal and human. Individuals are then able to overcome addiction that they are faced with, as they focus their attention elsewhere—rather than the areas in which they struggle. In doing so, they can displace themselves from such, and heal through equine therapy, making for a more speedy recovery.

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