Home MISSION What is AAT Services Donations Events Sponsors

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



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 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.

In order to properly care for a horse, new skills have to be developed. The process of developing these skills can help kids who are especially impatient, anxious, or have low self-confidence. Open communication between counselor and client is important when the client is learning new skills. The young person is reassured that learning these skills takes time, and it's ok if he doesn't get things right the first time. Skill development gives the young person a safe environment in which to make mistakes. He or she may have a parent or sibling who's very critical and unforgiving of mistakes, so equine therapy sessions can be an excellent tool for counteracting the criticism. Feelings of fear, frustration, or anxiety can be validated by the therapist, teaching the young person that these feelings are healthy while he's developing appropriate coping mechanisms. As the young person gets better and better at caring for the horse, his confidence often increases. Some of the skills, like learning to walk or talk. A horse, can be learned fairly quickly and give the young person an immediate taste of success.

A Place For Dreamers Community Development Corporation “Continuing the Legacy of HEALING”

What is AAT?

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment. The goal of AAT is to improve a patient's social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Advocates state that animals can be useful for educational and motivational effectiveness for participants.[1] A therapist who brings along a pet may be viewed as being less threatening, increasing the rapport between patient and therapist.[2] Animals used in therapy include domesticated pets, farm animals and marine mammals (such as dolphins). Research literature presents the

Relationship between human and companion

Animals  favorable.