Horses and Anxiety

Anxiety can be overwhelming. It can determine what you do and how you do it.

If you would like help to find ways of coping with your anxiety, let me tell you how horses could help you…..

I have loved horses forever! Growing up I spent a lot of time at the stables and little did I know back then, just how much these beautiful creatures were so good for my mental health. It wasn’t until years later that I recognised I had always struggled with Anxiety. But I, like many people, hid it, denied it and struggled in silence.

I took a long break from horses after becoming a young mum and just 5 years ago I entered back into he world of horses. Since this time, I have spent lot of time, studying and spending time with my herd, learning just how great horses are in helping with Anxiety.

Firstly, spending time outdoors, taking time to notice the world around us, breathe in the fresh air and just relax is something we don’t seem to do often enough! Then when horses are added into the equation, something quite special happens.

Horses have a sixth sense that enables them to recognise emotional states in people such as anxiety, stress and fear. Through spending time and taking part in activities with the horses, this helps us to identify emotions in ourselves. The horse acts as an emotional mirror, responding to the feeling state we are presenting which creates the opportunity for reflection with the therapist.

Horses are prey animals and live in herds. Being a prey animal, survival is the most important factor for life! Although horses are now domesticated and don’t need to be on the look out for predators looking for their next meal, the strong emotional sense which is used as part of their survival tool has never left them. This tool, in the wild, would be used to sense any danger around them and to communicate between the herd. Horses do not talk for communication but are able to read through body language and sensing emotion, how their herd members are feeling and the message they want to get across. It is this skill that helps people look deeply into their selves and be able to explore further from the non-verbal feedback given from the horse.

Spending time with horses in this experiential therapy form allows the opportunity for self-reflection and self-learning. Observing the interactions between horses can help find coping techniques that are transferable to into your life situations.

Horses are unbiased and non-judgmental and will only respond to peoples intent and behaviour that is there in front of them – this is where the magic happens.

So horses will help you with Anxiety by being part of guided sessions with you, they will reflect back to you an emotional sense that they pick up – sometimes this may not be immediately recognised by you but from exploring with the therapist it will help you to recognise where it is. Help you to learn about your body processes and where in your body the anxiety may lie. They will also help you identify coping techniques by assisting you in developing a greater confidence to be able to deal effectively with your anxiety.

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