Horses as Healers
For 20+ years, horses have shown up as teachers, guides, and partners to therapists and coaches all over the world. While the methods and focus differ, horses by being horses offer accurate reflections, messages, and life-changing experiences to people who are open to their presence.
Working with facilitators, horses help bring about healing from trauma, assist youth and adults in recovery, veterans, and others with PTSD. Equine programs such as Serenity's offer effective support for life transitions, self-discovery, and leadership development.
The focus of Horses as Healers is not riding or horsemanship. Within the sessions, individuals can explore what’s real for them in the moment or pursue an issue such as processing grief. Participants learn about themselves and others by taking part in activities with the horses, and then processing feelings, behaviors, and patterns.
Horses are both prey animals and herd animals. They track everything in their environment, and rely on other herd members to accurately reflect what is going on. Having other herd members that they trust helps them to relax and feel safe.
Horses, relying on instinct and intuition, read non-verbal cues and become mirrors reflecting back on the individual. Going back to the horse’s desire to be able to trust a herd mate with their accurate reflection of the environment, the horse as healer is looking for the person to become aware of the tension they present when they are not accurately reflecting what is going on within.
As soon as the person acknowledges how they are really feeling, the horse will be more comfortable. The person’s inside and the outside now match. We call this being Congruent, and horses like this a lot.
Documented research shows positive physical and psychological results from humans interacting with horses. These include, but are not limited to, decreased blood pressure and heart rate, lower levels of stress, reduced feelings of tension, anxiety, anger and hostility, as well as increased levels of beta-endorphin, and beneficial feelings of self-esteem, empowerment, patience and trust.
Serenity clinics and individual sessions provide a safe environment for self-discovery and exploring emotional roadblocks and creating new ways of being for healing. We honor the horses as healers and their capacity for accurate reflection and invite you to join us. If you're interested in an individual or group sessions, please contact Patricia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans from around the country come to Serenity to work with our therapy horses in the Horses as Healers program. We are grateful to our veterans for their service and proud to work with them. Therapy sessions are booked through Wounded Warriors Project Odyssey.
Dante hugs a wounded warrior