At Flourish, I practice equine (horse) assisted psychotherapy, which is work I really enjoy. I love working outside with clients, and giving our clients a more “hands-on” experience in their therapy. However, one comment that I have consistently heard during the first sessions from my clients who have never worked with horses before, is that “its [the horse] like a big dog.” This could not be further from the truth, I assure you.
It is in our nature as human beings to use what we know already and to apply it to what we don’t know that may look similar. Doing this is essential to understanding our world and for our safety. You may notice a young child who has already been taught what a cat is, and points at a dog for the first time and says “cat” because the child has never seen a dog before.
In this case, take it one step further with dogs and horses. Many adults have never had much, if any exposure to horses before in their lives. Many adults find horses scary and intimidating, largely due to their size. This is understandable, given a average quarter horse weights around one ton, and stands 5 to 6 feet tall. A part of equine assisted psychotherapy is building a trusting relationship with a horse, and learning how horses behave and communicate.
Lets look at some of the key differences between dogs and horses, in a therapeutic sense:
In equine assisted psychotherapy, its all about the relationship you are building with the horse. Its helpful since horses will tell you why a relationship isn’t working, without all the “noise” we would get from the complexities of human relationships. Wanna talk more about equine assisted psychotherapy? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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