Discovering the Answer to the Question: What is Equine Therapy?

The Intro…

Hey ya’ll! Have you ever heard the term and wondered “What is equine therapy?”

I have! Through my trauma-drama life-changing moment, I was left not only physically standing in the dark of night but emotionally feeling dark inside. For those desiring more details, check out my blog post: How I Discovered Equine Therapy. In the fall of 2018 and searching for inner healing, I followed a bright path filled with hope. This journey has involved discovering the beautiful benefits of volunteering with equine-assisted therapy.

But first, I had to seek out the answer to the begging question – What is equine therapy? – let’s see if we can find it.

The Details…

The misconception of equine therapy:

Each unique individual has their own unique way of getting through life-altering moments. For me, one aspect of healing came through equine therapy. Or more accurately worded, equine-assisted therapy.

A few months into my corporate position in early 2018, a coworker threw out her words to me, “Hey, you should go volunteer at equine therapy!”

“What the…? What makes you think I want to do that?” was my jaded response.

Leaving her office with tense emotions between us, I was mumbling about her irritating suggestion.

Equine therapy? Who wants to go and help horses recover with therapy? I am the one who needs therapy with all I have been through this last year! Why would I want to go help a horse with physical therapy? Both of us stumbling around, acting like I care about its injuries—how boring. I don’t have time for that!

Bewildered, I clicked the keys and the words “equine therapy” appeared in the Google search bar. Mouth open, eyes wide, I laughed, discovering that the equine therapy, suggested by my co-worker, wasn’t physical therapy for horses. Turns out, she was referring to equine-assisted therapy – the use of horses in therapy to assist mentally, emotionally, or physically challenged people.

What? Well, now I know!

The Why…

Equine therapy vs equine-assisted therapy:

Equine therapy and equine-assisted therapy are two different activities. Let’s explore how each relates to humans and horses.

Equine therapy is physical therapy for horses. Horses experience injuries in their bodies. Oftentimes, these animals need physical therapy for bodily healing. This physical therapy, similar to humans, targets a part of the body through stretching and strengthening leading to improvement in function back to the appropriate use level. This activity would be termed equine therapy.

Equine-assisted therapy is an alternative therapeutic approach for humans. Those seeking healing will find the implementation of horses (or other equine such as donkeys/mules) utilized during therapeutic sessions. The horse is the center of equine-assisted therapy. A person’s muscles, when riding a horse, are moved and strengthened with the motion of the animal. This is beneficial for our physical body. Emotional regulation can be experienced with and attributed to rhythmic motion. This rhythmic motion is found when riding, walking alongside, leading, or even just grooming a horse. This activity would be termed equine-assisted therapy.

The Sum Up…

Now we all know…’ What is equine therapy?’:

Our quest began with an intriguing question. Now, we have a better understanding of equine therapy. The use of words makes all the difference in meaning. Horses benefit from both equine therapy and equine-assisted therapy. The first impacts their physical healing and the second through relational abilities uniquely connecting with humans. Humans benefit from equine-assisted therapy promoting healing for those physical, mental, or emotional challenges.

In my search for answers, I have to admit I laughed at myself when I discovered what I was thinking was not what my friend was referring to in her recommendation.

The Question…

How about you – is “equine therapy” what you thought it meant?

The Challenge…

Check out your location and let me know if there is an equine therapy or equine-assisted therapy facility near you!

The Live Beyond It Encouragement…

Have a fantastic rest of your day and may you always find the answer to your questions on your lifelong healing journey!

Thanks for stopping by…😊 See ya!

Photo credits on this post: Clemmie-Li Clyde

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