Recovering from an addiction can be a daunting prospect to a person. However, thanks to equine assisted programs, individuals no longer need to feel isolated. The combination of a horse and an individual seeking healing makes for a powerful combination. The horse provides a blank slate, with no preconceived notions or opinions about the individual. Drug rehab with horses allows a unique chance for the two to bond.
A course of recovery from addiction often begins with the 12 step program. This important process brings to mind that an individual cannot control their cravings for drugs and helps them to appeal to a higher power for strength. It also encourages them to examine their past behaviors and see if a chain of events led to them abusing a harmful substance and learning to live a new life free from those errors. Because of its nature, equine therapy for addiction supports the steps. Horses by nature live in a herd and therefore are in tune with the emotions of those surrounding them. The advantage of this method is that while a person can lie to their therapist, the horse senses the truth. For example, if the caregiver approaches the horse in an angry manner, it will react stubbornly. Similarly, if they are fearful, the horse may appear worried.
At a rehab horse ranch, a bond gradually develops between the client and the horse, eliciting both an emotional and physical response. The caregiver is responsible for the horse`s daily care and activities, such as brushing it. This brings a realization of a horse`s size and power and their dependence on human interaction with them. Another important activity is lounging, where the person in essence learns the horse’s language and attempts to control it through body movements as the horse walks around them in a circle. If they feel comfortable and have the strength, some people may eventually ride; this emphasizes the concept of teamwork, that the horse and rider and one. It is important for people to understand that an important part of remaining addiction free is to not rely solely on their own willpower and to feel comfortable asking for help.
Equine therapy provides an effective way to help individuals get through rehab and form emotional and physical bonds. It provides an alternative to the traditional couch approach and allows a chance to feel responsible for another living being.