Equine-Assisted Activities (EAA): When most people think of horses, they think of riding them. However, some of the biggest benefits from equine therapy is with both your feet on the ground.
Roughout Ranch's quiet environment is perfect for interacting with our small herd of horses. Supervised to maintain the highest degree of safety, participants learn how to care for the horses as they bond with them. Horses are large animals and require a lot of care, including grooming, haltering, leading and even just playing with them to keep them entertained.
Participants will learn how to properly groom a horse and experience the bond this creates. Having something else to care for such as a horse is very therapeutic, both as the participant reaches a feeling of accomplishment and as the bond grows between horse and groomer.
While horses are massive animals, we lead them with a mere halter and rope and a few key things the horses are trained to respond to. Participants will learn how to handle a horse with ease, guide them in the correct direction, and be safe on the ground beside a horse.
Obstacle courses are a fun challenge for some participants. We’ll set up a short obstacle course that participants then must lead their horse through, just as you may be encountering obstacles and need someone to help you. Facilitators can then use these experiences to help participants work through their own obstacles in their everyday lives.
Horses are social animals, even with humans. Participants might find themselves starting out grooming, but end up finding the best therapy just by laughing at a playful horse or scratching his forehead. Equine-assisted activities fits a broad scope of activities we do here, but all of it is, safe interaction with the horses in the quiet of the peaceful ranch.
Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) is a new approach to learning life skills where participants and certified Equine Specialists team up with a horse to reach their goals. Trust, honesty, and communication are invaluable skills for daily life. They’re also critical skill when working with horses. When some people struggle to learn these, equine-assisted learning can help them.
Even though horses can’t verbally communicate, they can nonverbally. To learn how to understand them, you must learn to understand their body language and signs. While people can speak, unlike horses, our nonverbal communication still makes up 93% of all contact we have with people. For people with a hard time learning these skills while among other people, equines offer a judgement-free learning area.
Self-awareness is not only an invaluable trait for your own well-being and mental health, but also when around such large animals. By working around such large, strong animals, participants will learn how to be aware of everything that’s going on around them and in their own selves. Also because of how large horses are, it instills a sense of self-confidence because you’re able to control something so much larger than you.
Finally, working with a horse is nothing if not building a team. Participants will learn the leadership skills it takes to manage horses, and how to team up with their horse in order to accomplish a goal. This will instill leadership and team building, on top of everything else participants learn in sessions. As with the other sessions, each is tailor made to you and will vary in actual content. Some of the possibilities range from grooming, observing the herd, haltering, leading the horse, obstacle courses, and/or just quiet, peaceful time to focus on the nonverbal communications and bonding happening.
Weekly sessions may focus on topics such as:
Equine-Assisted Activities (EAA) are widely recognized as one of the most beneficial forms of recreational therapy that people with special needs can receive.
Physical disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy to accidental injury, cognitive difficulties and disabilities, mental illness, autism, developmental delay and emotional disorders have all responded positively to equine facilitated activity. Riding offers an effective alternative to develop muscle tone and improve posture, with the added advantage of the dynamics of the horse's movement. The bond that develops between human and horse also opens many new opportunities, such as independence and responsibility.
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