How Does Equine Therapy Work?

Working with animals may be the last thing on your mind when thinking about addiction treatment. Perhaps you didn’t know about animal assisted therapy or would never have considered it in the past. The reality is addiction treatment is taxing and challenging on the mind, body, and spirit. Any opportunity to spend time doing other things while in treatment besides work on trauma history, talking about personal issues, and detoxing can be an opportunity to grow in new and unexpected ways. Learn more about how equine therapy can help you or a loved one in treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse.

How it Works

Equine-assisted therapy helps a person in treatment work with a horse to support their therapy. Horses have been used for a long time to assist people in recovery from everything from mental health issues to behavioral addiction and substance abuse issues. Research is ongoing in this area, but it focuses on how working with horses specifically helps people find healing in treatment. A few of the benefits include:

  • Enhance mental health and boost mood
  • Raises endorphin levels
  • Learn responsibility for something else
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Builds confidence and emotional stability

People in recovery go through myriad emotions and physical challenges. It is one of the hardest things a person may experience in their journey. This type of therapy works with other therapeutic modalities like talk therapy, group work, and a 12-step model which can support a person’s recovery.

Cognitive Skills

Working with horses can help build a person’s cognitive skills in recovery. Horses are very sensitive creatures. They respond to emotions, feelings, and thoughts at the drop of a dime. Humans can learn a lot from horses by considering how to engage with the animal in a respectful manner. A horse’s needs lots of grooming, attention, feeding, and interaction to warm up to a person. This helps an individual in recovery work on their skills, build consistency, and focus on making better choices every day. Trust is another thing horses need to feel comfortable around a person. Without trust, the horse will not listen to the person in charge and may even buck against them. Being outside is good for people in recovery, but working to build trust again with a horse is good practice for learning to rebuild trust in other broken relationships they will encounter in recovery. Horses don’t judge people by their past experiences. They show up if the person shows up and do the daily work of connecting, so long as they are sincere and do their daily work, as well.

The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.