Many people wonder about why horses can be such powerful ‘therapy’ animals. The truth is that the bring a lot of interesting things to the game.
Horses live in the moment. They do not spend time worrying about past or being anxious about the future. They interact with us in the here and now.
They are non-judgemental. They don’t care what you look like, the color of your hair or how you move. They will respond to you in the way you interact with them – kindness results in acceptance.
They are prey animals, so it is important to understand what types of things will worry them. They don’t respond well to sudden movement, loud noises or ‘high’ energy. In order to be success while working with horses you have to being your energy down, stay calm, move slowly and speak softly. All good things for people with challenges to work on.
What’s more, new research has show that horses are smarter than most people give them credit for. NPR shared this story of a new study published in the journal Animal Cognition, which indicates that horses know their routine and will guide humans to get what they want/need in a situation.
Not every horse has what it takes to be a good therapy horse. But when a horse has the right combination of kindness, curiosity, willingness and self-confidence (among other things) they can be GREAT THERAPY HORSES!