Why horses?: Strengthening and developing healthy relationships (Part 3 of 4)

If you’ve been following along on our “Why horses?” blog post series, you know why horses are particularly good partners in re-centering a person’s sense of self after enduring trauma. Now, let’s explore why equine therapy is also a powerful tool for creating, repairing or bolstering relationships with other people.

  • Trust: When a person’s trust has been violated or challenged by trauma, starting to trust again often requires a lot of work. Learning to trust an unknown, possibly unpredictable horse leads to development and restoration of trust in people.
  • Communication: Horses are very astute; they pick up on nonverbal cues better than many people do. As participants become aware of this, they also become more aware of their own emotions and the nonverbal cues they may not have realized they were sending.
  • Companionship: Traumatic experiences can create a sense of rejection and isolation, but the unconditional acceptance often provided by an equine partner reminds the program participant of the value of companionship and can help restore a sense of belonging.
  • Assertiveness: Communicating effectively with a horse requires the individual to demonstrate assertiveness, direction and initiative. These important skills enable the participant to express their needs and rights more effectively in other relationships.

 Read the final post in our “Why horses?” blog series to learn about how horses can help participants create a healthy life for themselves going forward.

Part 4—Creating a path forward