Horses can have extremely positive therapeutic effects on children with emotional and behavioral issues. Many times, these kids have a hard time trusting and/or communicating with people, especially adults. Equine assisted programs can have a profoundly positive impact on children with special needs when included as part of their cognitive therapy services.
Providing a healthy break from some of the gravity of their emotional or behavioral challenges, kids with special needs can focus their attention and energy on feeding, grooming, and be exercising the horses. These interactions with the horses can do things like alleviating stress, dull fears, and improve self-esteem – all things that can improve the quality of life for children living with emotional or behavioral issues.
To work up to the point where children with special needs are interacting with horses, they must learn new skills, a process which can also be therapeutic. These tasks require things like communication, patience, focus, flexibility and confidence. By training in this area of equine care and interaction, children with emotional and behavioral challenges can make measurable strides in improving these areas.
Equine assisted therapy acts as a safe place for kids with special needs to work through their challenges and improve their quality of life. Kids with emotional and behavioral issues can begin to model the improved skills and relationships that formed inside their equine assisted therapy programs outside of that environment, enjoying improved functioning across their lives.