Equine Therapy for Addiction in Florida
There’s no animal more beautiful than a horse. From Mustangs to the Florida Cracker Horse, these majestic animals measure up to six feet in height and weigh up to one-thousand pounds. Horses are natural leaders, social, and loyal creatures. Equines have a fantastic memory, and they’ll never forget a bond with humans. Horses were domesticated around 3500 BC in southern Russia and Kazakhstan, so they’re no stranger to humankind.
What sets horses apart from other animals is that they form a close connection with human beings (similar to dogs). Not only that, but horses actually care for us, and they show affection by rubbing, nuzzling, and resting their heads on us. And although not unheard of, horses generally don’t display aggression towards humans.
As you can see, horses are distinctive animals that play a massive role in the lives of human beings. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers took note of horses’ positive qualities and incorporated them into therapy programs. Nowadays, horses are a critical part of numerous treatment centers nationwide. Addicts often lose their self-esteem at the lowest points of their addiction, forgetting their true value. Equine therapy enables recovering addicts to recognize their purpose by taking care of horses and assuming day-to-day responsibilities.
A Look At Equine Therapy
Equine therapy in South Florida is highly effective and benefits recovering addicts in various ways. At first glance, you might think equine therapy involves riding a horse, but that’s generally not the case. Instead, patients care for the horse by grooming, stroking, and leading it. They also perform circle work and bond with the equine. Over time, these casual activities cause the guest and horse to form an inseparable bond that’s mutually advantageous. Some rehabilitation facilities allow participants to ride the horses if they have the equipment, but guests generally must become acquainted with the equine beforehand.
The Advantages Of South Florida Equine Therapy For Drug And Alcohol Addiction
Equine therapy is not only educational, but it’s also relaxing and alluring. This form of treatment is very popular amongst recovering addicts because it’s not what you think of when you envision “substance abuse therapy.” Equine therapy provides an outlet and is also a coping mechanism for those battling negative thoughts. When someone engages in equine therapy, they can think of the present instead of living in the past or worrying about the future. This therapy is also excellent for horses since they admire the attention of humans – it’s a win-win! If you’re on the fence about equine therapy, let’s look at just a handful of the endless traits you can develop:
- Self-restraint and discipline
- Appreciation for those around you
- Increased confidence and positivity
- Non-verbal communication skills
- Problem-solving abilities
- Social development
Animals often provide unconditional love – something that’s hard to find from humans. Many individuals prefer working closely with animals because they feel accepted and appreciated from the git-go. On the other hand, it typically takes more time to receive support from your peers since you must first build trust. Horses are quick to show affection, and they’ll reciprocate the adoration you give them. Individuals who have isolated themselves from their friends and family find that equine therapy is an effective way to start reforming relationships and regaining trust.
You may wonder, is there a professional trainer present during equine therapy? The therapist that spearheads the equine program has extensive experience working with horses. They know how to care for the animals and identify the rare spouts of aggressive behavior. However, as patients become more comfortable with the horse, the therapist will give them more autonomy. The therapist may also talk with the recovering addict as they tend to the horse, enabling them to share their feelings, successes, and struggles openly.
Equine Therapy’s Effectiveness
Equine therapy isn’t just enjoyable; it’s also highly effective at treating substance abuse disorders. In fact, human beings have used horses for therapeutic purposes since the era of Ancient Greece. Nevertheless, equine therapy didn’t start to take off in the United States until the commencement of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). This non-profit organization has over 7,000 members who help support more than 53,000 children, men, and women worldwide. PATH aims to promote “safe and effective” therapeutic horseback riding in the United States and Canada.
This type of therapy doesn’t follow the status-quo (i.e., group and individual therapy sessions). In other words, it’s an outlier that’s intriguing to those who have the option to participate in an equine therapy program. Therefore, rehabilitation centers that offer equine therapy can spice up their guest’s experience and fuel their recovery journey with the power of these loved animals. Moreover, horses can sense the way humans feel and respond accordingly. If someone is feeling irritated, a horse will help them relax.
Like our beloved cats and dogs, Horses don’t judge us for our mistakes. They won’t ask you questions about drugs or relationships you have damaged. Horses offer unconditional friendship. They won’t talk back to you, but they’ll probably express their support in non-verbal ways.
Equine Therapy At United Recovery Project
If you’re ready to explore unique treatment options in South Florida, we highly recommend giving equine therapy a chance! It’s important to note that not all rehabilitation centers offer this form of treatment (in fact, many don’t). Here at United Recovery Project, equine therapy is one of the various treatment options our guests can choose to recover from substance abuse disorder and gain lifelong skills that encourage sobriety.
Are you ready to explore equine therapy in Florida?
to speak with one of our staff members. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about equine therapy and the different treatment options we offer.