I’m standing awkwardly in the stable aisle. I don’t want to be here, I think. I want to go home. Then I feel a nudge on my back, so strong I stumble forwards. I turn around – a horse is poking his head out of his stall. I tentatively reach out and stroke him – his mane is long and coarse. “Oh, that’s Sunup,” Katie says next to me. She laughs. “Welcome to equine therapy.” As I found throughout the next few weeks, equine therapy worked for me.
The Research on Equine Therapy
I went to Bridle Paths to receive treatment for bipolar disorder and U.S. Army-connected PTSD. However, Katie Fallon has worked with many more clients with many more types of challenges. Equine therapy can be offered to people with developmental disabilities, who have experienced trauma, who suffer from a mood disorder. It’s highly adaptable, and it’s proven to be very effective. An article published by Psychology Today touts its many benefits, as do research studies.
In Her Own Words
“What we’re trying to offer is meaningful paths to connection and partnership with horses,” Katie says. “It’s predicated on the idea that… horses offer this really unique opportunity to come as we are and be as we are… so with people it’s expected, required in some cases, that we say one thing and say another, with horses we can be our authentic selves… we don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have to be happy all the time, it just has to be real. We do best with the horses when we allow ourselves to be whatever it is, because they can meet [us there].”
New Hope For Treatment
With PTSD rates soaring, particularly in veterans, equine therapy offers a new potential avenue of treatment. More centers are opening up around the United States. To find a place near you, check Psychology Today or Equestrian Therapy