This is an article I read on www.teendrugabuse.org. We are starting a Youth program this year so I thought this was a good article to explain the work we do with the horses. Please visit www.unbridlingyourbrilliance.com for info on all the different types of programs we offer, not just for Youth.
Click here to read out our specialized Youth program called Youth with purpose…A new Kind of HorsepowerTM
Horses Help Troubled Youth
Many youngsters exposed to abuse and trauma are turning to horses in order to confront their emotional issues. A horse doesn’t judge you. A horse doesn’t answer you back; it just listens, which is sometimes exactly what’s needed. Horses have a way of getting kids to smile and let their guard down – something that may be difficult to achieve through a traditional therapy session – even with the help of a trained and experienced counselor.
Some teens express that certain types of therapy did not work for them. Whether it is because they have a hard time trusting, letting down their guard, or are just not ready to face their demons, traditional therapy is not for everyone. Horses can be a very calming force. They are very in-tune to what’s going on and can often sense human emotion. One girl involved with equine therapy says that working with horses helped her see emotions that she didn’t even know she had been carrying around with her.
Many of the horses used in equine based therapy are rescue horses, meaning that they may have been abused themselves. It becomes easier then, for youngsters to open up and express their feelings when they perceive that someone or something understands them. They can empathize and relate to the abuse that the horses have endured.
Working with horses can teach a lot of valuable lessons that translate well into the real world as well. You have to be respectful and resourceful when it comes to controlling an animal as big as a horse. Dealing with horses helps kids manage anger problems, low self-confidence and lack of trust in a different way. They have to learn to overcome these issues in order to make the horse feel comfortable with them.
In addition, a lot of young teens have power struggles with their parents. A power struggle with a horse is not going to end in the teen’s favor. Therefore, they must develop the skills necessary to deal with these matters in a constructive way. To get what they want from the horse, they may have to take a different approach, a lesson which can help improve communications at home, as well.
Horses are also used in corporate settings. Companies wishing to hold teambuilding or leadership workshops may use the animals to help illustrate examples of these important principles. Because horses have traditionally been part of a herd, the way they relate to one another socially can be referenced when trying to understand human behavior in group settings.
The use of equine-assisted therapy has and continues to be a success on many levels. As such, it remains a viable source to help troubled adolescents deal with the struggles of life in a healthy way.