Horses have evolved to be able to communicate with each other through body language. The herd will establish its order initially through biting and kicking, but then it relies on a variety of small movements of the ears, tail, feet and body to communicate with the herd.
The ability to communicate through body language and create a smooth functioning group has helped them survive by enabling them to travel in the safety of large herds. They are able to live in harmony because of the entire herd’s ability to practice the skills of acceptance, tolerance, kindness, patience, forgiveness and compassion.
The horse’s extraordinary ability to read body language translates to humans as well. You may think you’re acting like everything is fine, but if you’re angry, grieving, or stressed—your horse will know. They will always see, feel and respond to your real emotional state.
Research has shown that the horse’s capacity for “reading” human body language goes farther than simple communications. A horse is able to demonstrate qualities like acceptance and compassion; enabling them to help people heal from a variety of physical, psychological and emotional injuries.
From stress, to emotional pain, to physical pain, to psychological pain, a horse has healing powers beyond what you may think possible. Whether you’re dealing with a physical injury, PTSD, or grieving the loss of a loved one, spending time in the company of a horse will help you get yourself back on the path you want to be on.
Here are just a few ways that equines can help you heal:
Prisons use inmates to help manage free-roaming wild horses through the Wild Horse Inmate Program.
With the cost of hiring professionals to remove and train wild mustangs from American ranges being prohibitive, the prison system came up with a solution. Teach the prisoners how to calm and train wild horses.
Something unexpected started to happen though. When the tough prisoners, mostly gang members, met the wild mustangs, they began to soften. Some of the horses were violent and aggressive, lashing out at anyone who approached, much like the prisoners. The inmates had to learn a new way of relating with these horses.
As the men learned how to gain a horse’s trust, they realized that the mustangs’ violent behavior came from fear. The horses were just trying to survive, much like the prisoners.
The men started to realize that the motive for their violent behavior had also been fear, a need to survive. They learned that, like the horses, they could change and they began to feel compassion for the horses, for each other, and for themselves.
Horses are now being used as tools for military veterans to help them gain confidence, trust and build social skills. Horses for Heroes started as a physical therapy program using horses for veterans who had lost the use of their limbs. But the therapists began to notice that the horse-human connection was also having an impact on the emotional healing of the soldiers. They were beginning to overcome depression and anxiety and it had a profound effect on soldiers suffering from PTSD.
The calm spirit of the horses helped the soldiers to gently ease themselves into feeling trust for another being. While the soldiers felt socially withdrawn, the horse created a positive relationship interaction that allowed the soldiers to develop stronger social skills and learn boundaries.
Today several equine programs all over the country help veterans recover from physical and emotional wounds. These programs allow the soldiers to engage slowly and at their own pace so they can build their confidence and learn to trust again. And the horse’s genuine, accepting disposition helps to ease any anxiety and depression the soldiers may be feeling.
Equine therapy has been shown to be successful with calming anxiety, healing grief and depression, building confidence and trust, overcoming trauma, and reducing stress. With the many benefits of equine therapy, it is becoming a common and popular form of therapy and recovery.
I know firsthand how the horses can help you heal. If you are tired of traditional therapy and want to come and see what the horses can do for you give me a call and set up a FREE consultation. I can be reached at 970-682-4405 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Let the whisper of the horse echo the spirit of the soul. ℠