If dogs are man’s best friend, horses are our best teacher. In equine-assisted psychotherapy, clients work with a mental health professional to build selfawareness and improve relationships through interaction with horses.
The role horses play in client change is complex, according to Meg Kirby, founder of the Equine Psychotherapy Institute.
“They’re a big, beautiful model of living in the present moment,” she says, adding that they also have a uniquely calming presence and a heightened sensitivity that can help people identify and express their feelings.
“If a person approaches a horse with a particular feeling or way of relating that feels unappealing or uncomfortable, the horse will respond,” she says. “That gives the client and practitioner immediate feedback.” Repressed grief or anger, for example, is quickly revealed.
Because of the diverse exercises that horses can participate in – a session can involve anything from observation to mounted experiences – this kind of therapy is useful for a wide variety of people.
“It’s really great for clients who’ve had a trauma with humans,” Kirby says, but adds that she’s worked with children, veterans, people with addictions and even corporate groups.
$240 for an hour-long session.
Find a practitioner at equinepsychotherapy.net.au