Equine Therapy

Horses in Psychotherapy

Embodiment is the experience of truly connecting to all five senses, and occupying the body and mind with intention. In the presence of a horse, we become embodied and our sense perceptions are activated and enlivened. This awakening comes naturally as a response to being in the presence of an animal that can weigh over 1000 pounds and is powerful, strong, and graceful.

Horses are incredibly sensitive creatures and some of the largest land mammals. They have evolved to be a part of a herd, to attune to the movement and energy of the individuals as well as the surrounding environment. Domesticated horses, like those I use in my therapy practice, encounter humans with a refined perception of safety and security: is this human safe, is their energy grounded or threatening?

A horse does not judge us by the way we look: weight, clothing, physical attributes, or social status. They can, however, sense if we are scared, sad, excited, disinterested or inquisitive. Through their subtle perception, the horse responds to our authentic self, being open to feeling our internal experience. As the human becomes more authentic, the horse attunes by relaxing and approaching; this creates a feedback loop, allowing the individual to become more authentic and work to align what we feel, think and how we act.

If you haven’t spent a lot of time near horses you may feel a mix of fear, fascination, awe, and curiosity. The stability and mystery of these incredible creatures can help draw people out of a self-absorbed state and into a desire for connection. Their presence inspires us to become aware of the current moment, where the power of equine facilitated psychotherapy begins.