Horses are usually seen as animals used to compete, or as farm helpers. But far from this stereotype, equine therapy is nowadays another alternative widely accepted.
Problems such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress can be treated by using horses as procedure to overcome psychological issues.
Equine specialist, Julie Claus says that horses have special feelings and they pay attention to all the little details.
“They can feel what’s going on inside of someone. Maybe if the person said that everything is fine, horses may say: I do not think so.”
Claus and the crew work together at Elgin Equine Assisted Therapy to help people that are looking for a different style of therapy.
“Horses can read your body language, your expressions, and if your body is saying something different that you are saying, they are very smart to picking up on cues, and they know that maybe you are not telling the truth.”
How does Equine Therapy works?
To achieve different goals, whether is alone, with family members, or even with a group of co-workers, the therapist and social worker at Elgin Equine Assisted Therapy, Wendy Coombs explains how the method develops.
“There is different models of equine therapy. We specifically work with EAGALA – Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. Our clients never ride the horses, all the work is done on the ground, so they may work with one horse or five horses, depend of what situation the person is trying to accomplish.”
This system is different from the traditional process of going to a psychologist’s office, laying down on a couch, and talk about your problems. In terms of benefits, when people use equine therapy, the sessions are building depending of the relationship with the horses.
“It is not always a smooth session. Sometimes horses may reject the person, or they might be on their space for a while and not respect people boundaries, or they behave like running around, and these can make people feel anxious. But the difference between the normal treatment and equine therapy is that we can create some of those feelings that might people have outside of counselling and then work with them in that moment.”
As part of the help with the hectic routine, business owner Julia Wiggett looks forward to connect with nature and animals.
“Being with the horses is the best part of my day. They are very honest, so what you give is always what you get,” says Wiggett.