Equine therapy – a healing approach for struggling children that utilizes horses – encompasses a wide range of activities including therapeutic horseback riding. Therapeutic horseback riding is a fun way to build a relationship with a horse while, simultaneously, teaching a troubled child self-reliance and promoting inner peace. Not only does provide an excellent opportunity for introspection, but it is also great exercise.
Research shows that exercise releases endorphins, which are the human body’s natural “happiness” chemicals. They are the reason behind the so-called “runner’s high”. Not only do endorphins lower the sensation of pain, but they have been shown to help reduce stress and even battle depression. In short, with the ability to facilitate healing from both the inside and outside, therapeutic horseback riding is a staple of the holistic approach (one that simultaneously focuses on the body, mind, and spirit).
Therapeutic horseback riding does more than strengthening the bond between horse and human: while the relationship with an animal is a large part of the experience, learning to ride requires human-to-human communication. The horseback riding process requires training, as do the pre- and post-riding procedures. In order for the horse to allow the rider to have a good time, there first must be trust. This trust is built through both bonding time, taking care of the horse, and cleaning up. Learning all these steps – as well as the proper technique – occurs with support from both professionals and more trained students.
Benefits of Therapeutic Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is a way of life. Staying on a horse requires focus and skill. A troubled girl’s realization that she is capable of riding a horse is priceless. With a therapist’s help, your daughter can build her own lesson plan. By offering individualized treatment, this type of therapy allows your daughter to work on areas that she most needs help with.
Horseback riding has numerous advantages. It teaches motivation, since the faster all the preparations are complete, the more time your daughter will have for the actual riding. This encourages staying on task and being efficient. The human-horse bond also often proves useful in getting a troubled child to open up. Given an animal’s instinctual love, many children find it easier to open up to a horse than a person. As long as the animal is treated well, it will listen and not judge the human. Oftentimes, telling their problems to a horse helps children later open up to a therapist. Taking a pleasant horse ride through beautiful scenery isn’t merely a pleasant distraction; it is a way of truly feeling better.
If your daughter is struggling with a problem, it may be time to consider a professional. Asheville Academy is here to help. We are a residential treatment center for struggling girls, ages 10-14. Our girls commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, school refusal, and other behavioral problems.
For more information about Asheville Academy, contact us today at 800.264.8709