For centuries, humans and horses have had a mutual bond of need, support, and ability. Horses run wild, as often do humans do.
They are temperamental, have remarkably distinct personalities, and sometimes, they cannot be tamed. Addicts and alcoholics in treatment for recovery have much to learn from horses because they have much in common.
Metaphors about horses such as leading a horse to water but not being able to make them drink, apply to the confusion and difficulty of addiction.
It isn’t until an addict or alcoholic decides it is on their time to seek help and recovery that they choose to do so.
In the same way that people have to be very cautious around horses, friends, family members, and even treatment providers must proceed with caution around horses. Addiction treatment, as well as long-term abstinent recovery, requires tact, compassion, and patience.
Equine-assisted therapy is one of the many alternative therapies provided at Castle Craig to supplement clinical therapy. Our goal is to have each of our patients graduate in optimum mental, physical, and spiritual health. Equine therapy helps support our patients in ways that other traditional forms of therapy cannot. Building and rebuilding relationships based on trust, communication, and provision are challenging in recovery.
By working with horses and building a relationship with them, patients get first-hand experience. Unlike humans, horses cannot offer a harsh word, judgment, or criticism. Patients often feel encouraged to express their emotions and talk to the horses because they know the animal can only listen.
The equine-human connection runs deeper than words. Horses have an innate ability to respond to human emotion, offering a head-butt or nuzzle of the nose.
Each equine-assisted therapy session is run by a licensed and certified equine therapist. Working with the entire treatment team, the equine therapist is informed about the progress and issues of each patient. Tailoring the therapy sessions, the therapist can make a metaphor, meaning, and healing activities for each patient.