Horses have played a role in all our lives, through Disney characters like Maximus (Tangled) and Sitron (Frozen) to delivering the milk and working the land, although perhaps not so much in the present day.
Horses are flight animals, therefore super sensitive to their surroundings, they have the ability to show us how we are feeling by their body language, they also have the ability to affect our emotional state from theirs, ie calming effect.
Horses are strong and quite intimidating because of their size but they are also soft and incredible gentle, this mix allows clients to feel safe and often very childlike. This dynamic taps into the parent/child diad.
Working therapeutically with horses is based within the psychodynamic camp with Attachment theory as horses have the ability to offer healthy attachments and object relations theory for a ‘good enough’ experience, these are of paramount importance.
We also draw upon Gestalt as horses live very much in the here and now, and Ecopsychology, using nature and the natural world to influence mood, as being outside is a major benefit. Mindfulness also plays a significant part as clients become more aware of their own behaviours and body language when working with the horses.
Working with the horses enables clients to speak more freely than being a room, face to face with a counsellor, as this can be difficult for some.