At Asheville Academy, the benefits of equine assisted therapy are clear. We use the horses as not only a way to release stress, but also a way to provide important emotional feedback to our girls.
While horses are undeniably adorable and sweet, they have a special skill of detecting the underlying emotional state of humans–and they’re very responsive to it. Horses are extremely sensitive creatures when it comes to communication, which allows them to act as a powerful mirror to emphasize the significance of controlling our emotions.
The many benefits of equine assisted therapy
While more and more research is being conducted on the benefits of equine assisted therapy, there are current studies available that have confirmed the positive effects of working with horses.
As a therapeutic program, we’ve noticed vast benefits of equine assisted therapy:
- Building trust
- Assertive communication (as opposed to being too passive or too aggressive)
- Setting and holding appropriate boundaries
- Mutually beneficial relationships
- How to make repairs when we make a mistake in a relationship (asking for forgiveness)
- Leadership skills in a relationship
- Importance of authenticity
- How to appropriately advocate for your needs and wants
- Expanding your comfort zone
- Supporting without rescuing
Learning to build and nurture relationships
Many of our girls struggle with forming and maintaining relationships when they enter our program. For some, this derives from a sense of mistrust; for others, it’s because they never learned how to do it.
Through nurturing and caring for the animals, our girls are able to not only form a sense of responsibility and pride, but a sense of connection and unconditional love they may have not been open to experiencing in relationships before.
Because horses are so sensitive, they can sense when a student isn’t feeling well or isn’t calm. They directly react to these feelings by, for example, becoming restless. This allows for our girls to view their troubles through the lens of the horse’s response to what they’re feeling.
This gives them the chance to gain a new perspective on their current challenge and find a new way to work through it.
Forming essential communication skills
Much of communication has to do with nonverbal skills (for example, keeping your arms uncrossed instead of crossed). Around 55 percent of communication is body language, 38 percent is tone, and only 7 percent is actual spoken language.
Horses are extremely aware of body language, which pushes our girls to learn to control themselves in order to work with the horses–because who doesn’t want to spend part of the day with a beautiful horse?
Many of our girls grapple with boundaries–but with animals, you have to set clear boundaries and be firm in your responses. This helps our students become more confident in themselves and how to develop healthy relationships with others.
Asheville Academy is here for your family
Asheville Academy is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10-14. Our students commonly struggle with anxiety, depression, ADHD, learning differences, and other behavioral or emotional challenges. We understand that transitioning into middle school can be stressful for the whole family, but Asheville Academy is here to help.
With the help of our licensed therapists, experienced teachers, caring staff, and expertly designed program, our students move closer to a healthier life. We use the best tactics and therapeutic methods in order to help our students thrive at Asheville Academy.
For more information about how we use the benefits of equine assisted therapy at Asheville Academy, call 800-264-8709 today.