Recently, I learned of an organization called DTOM220.org This organization helps Veterans work through mental and physical issues using horses. Did you know that horses are very therapeutic? I actually did a paper on it for my Master’s degree. I won’t get into the technical terms but I’d like to open your eyes to what horses provide for therapy in different situations! (Disclaimer- This is my observations, thoughts, feelings)
I worked with a youth home for kids that were in the system and at risk for going to jail. They had a full blown ranch for these kiddos. What I observed was shy, absurd kids finding their voice with horses. They smiled and talked to the horses. They learned to communicate without words. See, horses can sense distress. The right horses will foster a bond with the distressed rider and help them to open up. On the flip side, I watched the “bullies” soften. They learned that they could not be rough with the horse and angry words didn’t foster what the child needed when working with horses. They learned to soften, trust and open their hearts. A lot of the bullies had fear when it came to horses. It was very humbling for them when they sat in the saddle! To watch these kids BLOOM around horses was simply breath taking!
Hippotherapy also helps with disabilities. Anything from pain, amputation, muscle defects right down to autism and other challenges! First, you move when they move. So wheel chair confined patients get the opportunity to have four legs under them! It has been shown to increase circulation and endorphins! For people with disabilities, horses open a door that humans can’t. I have watched an autistic kid go from not talking, severe touch sensitivity to openly communicating with the horse followed by hugs!!! I have seen kids in wheel chairs find their legs! I have seen the impossible, possible!
If I keep going, this will turn into a thesis 🤦🏼♀️. So I will add this…. when I’m over run by my anxiety, fears, stress, etc, my place is with my horses. It’s my therapy. I went a year without a horse to care for and it was the longest ever. I went to bed at 8pm. I woke for work every morning. But I lost my “purpose”. As a mom, I can say I have way more purpose than I did back then, however, take my horse away and watch me crumble. I can testify that riding horses does, in fact, help with PTSD, Depression, Anxiety and other issues us humans deal with daily. The right horse will change your life. I encourage you to look around for organizations that offer therapy using horses. Most all of them are non-profit. Make a donation! It can be time, used tack, or financial. These places are few due to insurance expenses and lack of volunteers! www.dtom220.org is just one of many! Let’s help them out!!!