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Addiction Recovery: How Equine Therapy Works

Horses are an essential part of how equine therapy works.

Part of your addiction recovery treatment could include equine therapy. Equine is another name used to describe horses. So, equine therapy means you will get to spend time around horses during your treatment sessions. Let’s discuss exactly how equine therapy works, and what it involves.

What Is Equine Therapy?

Horses are highly intuitive animals who easily form bonds with humans. As such, they are able to detect what humans are feeling and even tell when they are lying. The purpose of equine therapy is to assist people in addiction recovery to tackle emotional and behavior issues they developed during their addiction.

In addition, equine therapy can be used for co-occurring conditions, such as when someone is also suffering from PTSD. The horses used for equine therapy are trained to interact with humans and like being around them.

It is worth mentioning that you do not need to know how to ride a horse to participate in equine therapy. However, if you want to learn how to ride a horse, this can be included as part of your equine therapy plan. 

What Steps Are Involved in Equine Therapy?

Since horses are pack animals, they will make their new human companions a part of their pack. This sense of belonging and the overall experience of interacting with horses can be very beneficial for recovering addicts.

Horses are very patient animals that exhibit kindness. Furthermore, horses are also very gentle, making it easy for people in recovery to form bonds with them. This is why they are perfect for helping people face their emotions and feelings to overcome their addiction.

Step 1: Learn how to approach the horse.

The initial step is getting to know your horse buddy. Taking the time to learn how to approach the horse and earn its trust will help the bond between horse and human to develop.

Step 2: Learn how to interact with your new horse buddy.

Once you know how to approach the horse, you need to learn various interactions that can be a part of your equine therapy. For example, you may learn how to brush, feed, and care for the horse. 

Step 3: Learn how to share your feelings and emotions with your horse buddy.

Your horse will become attuned to your emotions and feelings as your bond develops. As a result, they will be able to tell when you are telling the truth and when you are lying. 

Step 4: Use the horse’s response to learn how to control your moods, behaviors, and actions. 

The feedback your horse provides can help motivate you to continue to work on your recovery. Part of this process is learning techniques for controlling your moods, behaviors, and actions, as well as learning new ones. 

Benefits of Equine-Assisted Therapy

Some of the benefits you can gain through equine-assisted therapy include:

Learn how to trust again.

The disease of addiction causes people not to be able to trust others. Addiction can also damage trust between family and friends. Equine therapy helps people learn how to build trust through interactions with horses.

Learn how to identify your feelings. 

Another benefit you gain is learning how to identify your feelings. For example, during therapy sessions, you may say you are feeling one way, yet your horse buddy will respond in a manner to show you are not telling the truth. 

Learn how to overcome your fears.

It can be intimidating working with a horse. However, once individuals learn how to interact with them, they can start to face other fears. For example, they may have a fear that the horse will not like them. Instead of giving in to this fear, the person learns how to work through their fear by developing coping skills they can use to help process other emotions tied to their addiction. 

Learn how to establish boundaries.

Horses have natural boundaries and will let you know when you have crossed into it. By understanding and learning the natural boundary, it can help you apply this knowledge to your life. So, you can start to learn how to establish boundaries with others and how to let them know when they have crossed your boundary. 

Learn interpersonal and communication skills.

Part of the recovery process is learning how to develop effective interpersonal and communication skills. Equine therapy helps you learn how to communicate with your horse and interact with it. These skills can then be applied to your human relationships. 

How Does Equine Therapy Help with Addiction Treatment?

How equine therapy works is by helping you better understand the components of your addiction, your needs, and the type of care you need to continue your recovery and sobriety through time spent interacting with horses. In addition, equine therapy can help you feel more grounded, so you can develop a solid recovery foundation to build upon throughout your treatment program. 

Addiction Treatment and Equine Therapy in Texas for Men

At Casa Colina, we offer addiction treatment programs with equine therapy in Dallas for men struggling with addiction. Our luxury rehab facility provides a safe, supportive, and caring environment free from distractions to allow you to focus on your recovery. 
We are also equipped to treat co-occurring disorders, including PTSD. For further information about our addiction treatment center and equine therapy for men, please feel free to contact us or call us today!

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