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Thread: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

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    Lightbulb How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Kids with emotional and behavioral issues can be difficult to work with.

    Most of them are slow to trust adults, and may be unwilling to trust anyone at all. In addition, if the emotional or behavioral issues are caused by abuse, the child could be angry and prone to emotional outbursts.

    Cognitive therapy that includes an equine assisted program can be of great benefit to this type of person.

    There are several aspects of cognitive/equine assisted therapy that work well with kids who have emotional and behavioral issues. One of the simplest aspects is diversion.

    When a young person is focused on grooming, feeding, or exercising a horse, his/her focus is no longer on his own issues and problems.

    Far from being a "means of escape", caring for the horse provides an often-needed respite for the person's emotions and intellect.

    It can actually help the person feel refreshed and energized because the mind has been allowed to "rest" from its current problems.

    Quote The open communication that's needed when learning new skills enables the therapist to "teach by example" as he communicates with his client.

    The young person will likely get frustrated, giving the therapist an opportunity to discuss - and model - appropriate ways to express emotions. The communication between the therapist and horse professional can provide this same kind of example as well.

    The young person may live in an environment where people yell when they disagree.

    During equine assisted therapy, the therapist and horse professional could provide real-life evidence that it's possible (and more productive) for people to talk instead of yell.
    A child's responses to the horses can also provide excellent insight into the child's opinions of self and of others, especially authority figures.

    Equine assisted therapy offers kids with emotional and behavioral issues a safe environment in which to work through issues of fear, anxiety, self-doubt, and poor communication.

    By teaching the child how to work with and communicate with the horse, the therapist will be indirectly teaching the child how to apply these same skills in inter-personal relationships.

    (Other forms of animal assisted therapy includes, Canine, Elephant and Dolphin. I've personally watched Dolphin assisted therapy and what I saw was quite impressive.)

    Link: Animal assisted therapy for troubled Teens - http://www.equine-therapy-programs.c...bledteens.html


    Quote Most domestic animals also shy away from aggressive behavior. Animal assisted therapy can help a troubled teen learn that quiet, gentle behavior gets better results than behavior that is loud and aggressive.

    Animal assisted therapy
    Some people hear "animal-assisted therapy" and think that it means kids are simply hanging out with pets, but true AAT is a formal, planned program in which the teen participates. Interactions with the animal(s) are controlled, and are done for specific reasons.

    Facilities that choose to implement animal-assisted therapy typically conduct extensive studies and develop strict rules and guidelines for their programs. Far from being haphazard, these programs are focused and intentional, and often produce marked positive results.

    Counselors have seen teenagers, even teens in juvenile detention facilities, that are unresponsive to the counselor open up and actually "talk" to a therapy dog or horse. Some are so overwhelmed by a therapy dog's unconditional kindness that they break down and cry.

    This kind of emotional breakthrough is vital in the treatment of troubled or at-risk teenagers, and allows the teen to begin moving toward emotional and psychological healing.
    (Source)

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Hi Bob, just curious, what made you think about this today?
    I agree it looks like a great/promising therapy.


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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    I have a good friend who works with disabled kids, and we were talking today about the great results he is seeing.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Hello siblings,

    There is a similar therapy involving lamas (seriously)... it's gaining in popularity in Germany and Switzerland.
    Apparently Lamas are amazing animals, they are very intelligent, and they bond to the "beings" around them.
    They will bond to sheep, for example, and chase off dogs or wolves when they try to "play with" or "eat" the sheep.
    But they will also bond with each other (obviously) and with humans, if they are around often enough.
    Lama therapy basically involves depressed people spending time with Lamas.

    be happy :-)

    lucidity

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Quote Posted by lucidity (here)
    Hello siblings,

    There is a similar therapy involving lamas (seriously)... it's gaining in popularity in Germany and Switzerland.
    Apparently Lamas are amazing animals, they are very intelligent, and they bond to the "beings" around them.
    They will bond to sheep, for example, and chase off dogs or wolves when they try to "play with" or "eat" the sheep.
    But they will also bond with each other (obviously) and with humans, if they are around often enough.
    Lama therapy basically involves depressed people spending time with Lamas.

    be happy :-)

    lucidity
    and with dolphins for autism, down syndrome, neurological impairments of all kinds

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Llamas and Alpaca's and folks in nursing homes

    [CENTER]




    Last edited by Bob; 9th October 2015 at 04:59.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    A few more





    Last edited by Bob; 9th October 2015 at 04:59.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Any animal that lives with a human being and receives love and kindness will show you how sweet they are and they will not cause any trouble unless they feel threatened. I guess the majority of animals will help people with any disability or lack of health.
    Breathe in the air

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Please also read the story below, it is quite poignant.

    Tthe first picture is Kiwi, the Gulf spotted tropical dolphin, who treated Mini Flash (Kiwi is with Dr Flowers, a speech therapist) 3 years in a row when Mini was about 10-11-12 years old. Kiwi lives in the Gulfarium of Fort Walton Beach. Dr Flowers now works in Panama City dolphinarium.

    The second picture is Princess' painting, a bottlenose dolphin. The painting was made specially for Mini Flash while she was holding the frame/canevas on which Princess was painting. Mini Flash is a young member of the forum. Mini Flash must have been about 11 when she had it done for her. Princes lives in Fort Walton Beach Gulfarium.

    The third picture is a piece of art done by Mini Flash, a collage about dolphins, she did that (12).

    Here is Kiwi and Dr Flowers



    Here Princess' painting and Mini Flash collage
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    The first year we went there, another spotted dolphin, Daphne, had chosen to work with Mini Flash - in fact, Kiwi and Daphne were kind of fighting to be with Mini Flash, lol, and Daphne won. Why? Because Daphne was not doing well, the staff did not know what she had and did not want her to work with children.

    As i was looking at Daphne swimming around, I had the feeling that she was really depressed. I told the staff what I saw and told them that Daphne could help Mini Flash as much as Mini Flash could help Daphne and asked the staff to let them be together for thérapies. When Daphne the dolphin started with Mini Flash, she was doing fine. The staff switched the schedule to make sure it was not time dépendent, like feeling good in mornings and rotted in the afternoon, but no, whenvever Daphne was with Mini Flash, she was doing fine.

    So they worked together for 2 weeks.

    Mini Flash will still tells that Daphne was her first true friend ever. Which is kind of true. Dysphasic children cannot communicate much and have trouble making friends.

    The following Christmas, Mini Flash had a nightmare. She dreamed that we were back in Fort Walton Beach but Daphne was not there anymore. I wrote Dr Flowers and she wrote back that Daphne was fine.

    When we went back in July, they took me apart and told me we would have to announce to Mini Flash that Daphne had died last April. I reminded Dr Flower the e-mail I had sent her. She checked when back home and could not believe it. Mini Flash knew before Daphne even died.

    So Daphne was Mini Flash first real friend, and also her first mourning experience. She often dreamed of Daphne afterwards.
    Last edited by Flash; 18th May 2015 at 08:11.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Oh my God, I just found out that kiwi died in 2010. The last dolphin at the bottom of the list http://www.ceta-base.com/phinventory...gulfarium.html

    How am I going to tell Mini Flash!

    She was a Young dolphin. Both Kiwi and Daphne had a trainer that loved them tremendously, Ken, and another one that was real careless and hearless but ..... gosh, after Daphne died, they overworked Kiwi. So sad. Daphne did not have a normal death (I did not tell Mini Flash for a long time), this is why Dr Flowers went to work elsewhere.

    Here Kiwi



    Daphne died in 2008

    Here Daphne


    Last edited by Flash; 14th May 2015 at 07:20.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Bob, wonderful subject. We had an Equine Therapy Clinic in our neighborhood, and I volunteered to help. Mostly, I walked alongside holding the people on the horse, they were disabled. I don't know how the horse feels or how the horse is so helpful to us. These young people with such difficulties would be upsetting to be around, yet horses have a calming affect on the teen. Grooming is a huge part of the therapy, horses (because we have them fenced in and housed in stalls) need lots of care. Possibly the horses sense the needs of the teens, I just know horses are incredibly amazing animals. I have loved them all of my life, have ridden since I was 14, had a small horse farm (my dream). Caring for them IS therapeutic. Learning to ride a horse requires teamwork like nothing else I know, between a human being and an animal, a large and powerful animal. I rest my case.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    That happens Flash - I recall when the dolphin that I knew so well in the early 90's died when I got a call from her human guardian. It was sad.. Still though the memory goes on and never-the-less, the wonderful healing possible with animal assisted therapy with folks who care is simply amazing.

    Appreciate everyone's sharing.. The kids just open up as well as the old folk, those who see something with the animal there in their time of need - help them .. they relate





    (Flash - I've corrected your links for the two dolphin, here are they, Kiwi and Daphne)

    Interesting both spotted dolphin. First one's that I met of the spotted's was in the Bahamas. Experience was the spotted's tended to be more family oriented than the tursiops (bottlenose) who frequented the pods.
    Last edited by Bob; 9th October 2015 at 04:56.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    The Guardian had an interesting article - (Source)

    Quote the psychological benefits of working with horses are being recognised by growing numbers of therapists who work with autistic children, young people with behavioural problems, adults with depression or celebrities with addictions.

    "The horse is the perfect mirror, they are very emotional beings; we're only starting to realise how intelligent they are," said therapy counsellor Gabrielle Gardner, of Shine For Life, watching the horse dance around his pen at a farm in Blackstone, a village a few miles north of Brighton.

    "A lot of my clients start off being very nervous, so I wouldn't always use such a big horse. One of the reasons I think equine-assisted therapies work so well is that everyone has a reaction to horses; nobody is indifferent. People either love them or fear them, so that's two big emotions that immediately reflect what most of life's issues revolve around. If you can work with an animal like this and overcome the fear, then it isn't a bad starting point."

    Gardner has worked with all types of clients, including young offenders, and says a horse picks up on the way people are feeling, mirroring their emotions and responding. As a herd animal attuned to stress and body language, a horse will move away from an angry person, follow someone it trusts and be unsettled when it senses fear.

    "It's especially good for people who don't take to talking therapies. Counselling is not a 'one size fits all'. While you might forget a conversation you had with your counsellor a few weeks on, it's unlikely you'll forget what happened when you stood in a field with your counsellor and a horse. It's not like patting a dog; it's a big animal."
    "It has been clinically documented that just being around horses changes human brainwave patterns. We calm down and become more centred and focused when we are with horses," he says. "Horses are naturally empathetic. The members of the herd feel what is going on for the other members of the herd."

    Quote In Scotland a charity called HorseBack UK is achieving tremendous results using horses to rehabilitate injured and traumatised members of the armed forces. Jock Hutcheson, a former marine, had retired to breed horses when he offered to take a group of former combatants riding. Self-confessed as "horse daft since I was three", he said that even he hadn't expected the horses to have such a huge impact. Last year he had 156 people through his Aberdeenshire centre.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    Horses are beautiful and magical animals -soulful. Through out my life I've worked with them intermittently and mucked out stalls at a ranch for a while for extra money for school. Spent a lot of time with them. They are very receptive to and connect with humans in a deep way. They're special.

    I used to work in an eating disorder, dual diagnosis treatment facility. Often people with eating disorders are totallly disconnected from themselves or dissociative. One of the therapies at the facility was equine therapy. I saw some amazing things happen with the clients while I was there. A lot of them were able to develop relationships with the horses and over time they became more in touch themselves. Love is a great healer.

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    Beautiful story Flash.


    Love

    Nora
    Last edited by Guest; 14th May 2015 at 10:13.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?


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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    *bump*

    Horses are deeply sensitive and aware, as are many ruminant species (giraffes, cattle,etc.). My wife and I saw a giraffe at a park recently, and were overwhelmed by the sheer power and gentleness its aura exuded.

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    Default Re: How do Horses Help Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Issues?

    The horse is a being endowed with nobility, gentleness, love for people of all categories, the power to be friends, the ability to feel souls and can do the impossible, possible in many cases.

    By excellence, hippotherapy offers the opportunity to spend time in outdoor therapy, stimulates socialization, introduces novelty and exit from everyday life and creates the context of effective rapprochement between people and horses through nature.

    Hippotherapy is for everyone. The feeling felt is a complex one, of relaxation, of exaltation, of joy and contentment, of power, of liberation.

    In many conditions, this type of therapy brings benefits:

    - recovers coordination and balance, basic components of psychomotor skills; stimulates and improves balance;
    -stimulates joint mobility; stimulates appetite, digestion;
    -stimulates blood circulation; improves body flexibility;
    -improves strength and coordination of movements; improves reflex times and cardio-respiratory functions.
    And all this to be just human.

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