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Equine therapy may sound like a new concept, but the idea of using horses for therapeutic purposes dates back to the Ancient Greeks. Studies have shown that spending time with animals can help improve one’s mood and lessen symptoms of some mental illnesses. Equine therapy is a form of pet therapy, however it is not solely beneficial as a stress-reliever. It can also be helpful as a way to address underlying issues that can cause mental health instability.

Some issues that can be addressed with equine therapy include low self-esteem, lack of assertiveness, a lower stress tolerance, and lack of empathy. These and other traits can be lessened by cultivating a relationship with a horse. Someone who needs help with self-esteem may feel proud of themselves when they successfully go on their first ride. You must have a level of assertiveness to safely control your horse, so this skill is developed as well. Stressful situations can happen while caring for your horse, and you must have empathy to help them live healthy, comfortable lives. In addition, for people who struggle to live their lives without thinking about their mental illness, they may benefit from equine therapy due to the amount of attention it requires. It is much more difficult to think about your own problems when you have to focus on caring for your horse.

Equine therapy can be used to treat a number of conditions. Anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, are commonly associated with pet therapies. However, even people with conditions such as Bipolar Disorder may benefit, as this form of therapy requires a dedication that does not allow for impulsive behaviors. Trauma and trauma-related illnesses can also see benefits, as building a positive relationship with a horse can give comfort to someone who may feel more comfortable around animals than humans.

To find an equine therapy center, try searching online to see if there is a place near you. Although it may seem uncommon, equine therapy is actually quite prevalent in many areas. If there are horse boarding stables near you, there is a good chance that you can find equine therapy. Sometimes equine therapy can be billed to insurance, but it depends on the type of condition being treated, as well as the goals for treatment. It is more likely that a physical condition will be covered, rather than a mental condition. Paying out of pocket may not be ideal, but many equine therapy centers offer flexible pricing for those who cannot afford the full cost.

Equine therapy is a fun and relaxing form of treatment for many mental conditions. Whether it is a bout of stress, a mental illness, or any other condition, equine therapy can make a big difference in someone’s quality of life.