Starting equine assisted therapy for the first time can be exciting, but sometimes it’s a nerve-wracking experience. This kind of therapy has many benefits such as reducing stress, managing emotional responses, and fostering a stronger sense of connection with people. It is an alternative mode of therapy that can be suitable for a wide range of people, not necessarily people who are familiar with horses.To increase the chances of the therapy working for you, doing things to prepare for your first session is recommended. There are some helpful tips if you are a patient who is starting equine assisted therapy.
During your first equine assisted therapy session like one offered at Lotus Wellness Center, the instructor will give you hands-on guidance during your first interactions with the horse. They will not make you interact with the horse without first becoming familiar with the horse and approaching it cautiously. You will get accustomed to the horse’s behavior and its needs. After your initial introduction, you will get to do some of the regular activities that a session usually consists of, such as grooming, feeding and walking the horse.
Spending Time Outside
Once you and the horse become accustomed to one another and you learn how to safely interact with it, you can begin spending time with the horse in a safe and controlled environment. Several minutes of being outside is beneficial for both you and the horse. When you are in an environment with a lot of open space that is quiet, it has a calming effect. Paying attention to your surroundings fosters a strong sense of awareness of what’s around you and promotes mindfulness.
Feeding and Grooming
One of the things that you may do during an equine assisted therapy session is to learn how to feed the horse. Horses feed on hay and grass as part of a high fiber diet, and people can learn how to hand feed them. Learning how to feed a horse helps patients to focus on building unique skills. Brushing a horse, changing horseshoes, and petting them are all therapeutic tasks for patients. The repetitive nature of grooming helps reduce anxiety and improves concentration. Patients who are autistic or have disorders like cerebral palsy or Down syndrome can benefit from regularly doing these tasks because they are one of the first skills that they can develop and help them become comfortable with the horse in a calm setting.
Walking the Horse
Working with horses takes time and a lot of patience. The horse will not immediately trust any person right away, so patients must utilize the skills they learn to slowly earn it. You learn how to build trust with a horse. Walking with a horse is a slow-paced and leisurely activity that is beneficial for patients with issues like PTSD, anxiety, and those working on emotional regulation. Patients can develop their self-confidence, coordination, and emotional management, learning how to lead the horse on a path and how to effectively communicate with them.
You can find out more information about equine assisted therapy by scheduling a consultation now.