If you believe that equine therapy is only meant for kids and adults suffering from physical, mental, or developmental disabilities, think again. Many of you would be surprised to know about therapeutic horseback riding for veterans. However, if you starch the surface, you will find that veterans and horses share a lot of similarities. Both veterans and horses are hypersensitive and hyper-vigilant to their surroundings.
After years of living in hostile conditions in war zones and handling tactical jobs, when veterans return, they often fall into the trap of PTSD. They experience difficulties in adjusting to civilian lifestyle or find a suitable job for a living. Equine therapy is ideal in helping veterans come out of the war trauma and reconnect with themselves.
What is Veteran Horse Therapy?
Equine therapy or therapeutic riding for veterans is an experiential treatment that consists of activities where veterans and horses interact with each other in a controlled and supervised environment.
Most of the programs and activities focus on offering an experience of bonding and connecting with the horses to combat veterans.
The therapy is designed for veterans who indulge in horse grooming and caring sessions. They also ride the horse and take care of them. The program offers a platform for all the veterans to come together and bond.
How is Therapeutic Horseback Riding for Veterans Help?
A report by CRC Health has shown that equine therapy has shown positive results in
- Improving emotional awareness in veterans
- Enhance their assertiveness
- Develop a sense of empathy
- Reduce the level of stress and anxiety
- Improving tolerance to stress
- Control of impulse
- Enhance problem-solving abilities
- Increase self-regard
- Enhance interpersonal communication
- Help in healing traumatic brain injury and PTSD
In equine therapy, horses and veterans use their expertise to sense the emotions and surroundings. The hypersensitive nature of both veterans and horses make it easier to connect and form a bond of trust and respect instantly.
Therapy horses are trained to respond in a certain way when they sense fear and anxiety. When they interact with an anxious or stressed veteran, they react to their feeling making the veteran aware of their thoughts. This helps veterans focus their shift on overcoming their emotions.
Why Should Veterans Enroll for Horseback riding therapy?
It offers veterans peace of mind: The trotting of the horses is rhythmic and very therapeutic. When riding the horse, our body moves with every moment the horse takes. For veterans with traumatic war experience, escaping into the farm with horses is calming and peaceful enough.
It offers a new experience: For many veterans riding a horse is a novel experience. It gives them a chance to master a new skill. Horses are some of a few animals with an exceptional level of patience. They are also non-judgmental. Veterans can take their time learning horse riding.
Perfect Physical Activity: Once out of service, veterans often struggle to keep up with their daily fitness regime. Horse riding is the ideal activity for such folks.