The horse is a perissodactyl mammal of the equidae family. It has great resistance, long legs and great strength that help it runup to 50 kilometers per hour, helping it escape many of its natural predators.
If we go back to history, the horse has been considered a special animal for thousands of years. For example, the Celts used to give a horse to a person in the community who had suffered the loss of a loved one because they knew it would help heal the absence. In addition to them, several cultures knew how to see that the horse could not only be used for fighting or as a means of transport, but that it had a different power to modify the moods of man.
Animals are known to be great therapists for individuals due to their ability to selflessly perceive and love. In the case of horses, their great sensitivity allows them to relate to people from an emotional awareness, so that they can elucidate moods, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
So much so that, in the mid-twentieth century, they began to be used for the rehabilitation of different diseases that involved physical and mental disability, giving rise to what is known as equine therapy, a type of treatment that uses the horse as a mediator to improve quality. life of individuals. But, in what cases can this work methodology be useful?
Some of the pathologies that equine therapy works:
- Muscle coordination problems
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Developmental disorders
- Behavioral Problems.
- Neurosis, psychosis, schizophrenia.
- Down's Syndrome
How does this therapy work?
The experts explain that equine therapy works on three principles: the horse's movement is very similar to the physiological pattern of human gait, which makes them capable of improving numerous pathologies (provided that the therapies are carried out by the hand of a suitable professional) and the transmission of both body heat and rhythmic impulses.
The horse is a mirror of the human soul since, through its body and emotional language, it gives back to the person the possibility of reflecting on what is happening inside; what they feel, they reflect in their behavior. The cure is carried out from the feelings and not from the verbal language.
It should be noted that equine therapy consists of a comprehensive therapy, because it improves both the physical, social, mental and psychological aspects of the human being.
Common therapies today
Social equine therapy: This therapy takes advantage of the affective bond established with the horse to help the patient overcome their social adaptation conflicts. A work is developed that aims to discover and strengthen resources in people, using all the senses to cross the emotional barrier.
Therapeutic horse riding: It proposes that the patient be responsible for the different care that the horse needs. Acquiring this responsibility has a very positive impact on the capacity for interaction and independence.
Hippotherapy: Physiotherapeutic treatment, with a neurophysiological basis, carried out with and on the horse as a working tool. It is performed by physiotherapists and generates multiple stimuli on the patient to improve aspects such as coordination or balance.
Adapted horse riding: It is aimed at those people who practice horse riding, but who, due to a disability, need the riding to be adapted to their individual needs, which is why this methodology must be supervised by a specialist.
Occupational equestrian therapies: These are those that are carried out in order to favor the labor insertion of people with disabilities, so that they can have under their command some activities such as hygiene and brushing of the horse, riding, among others.
Now that you know how horses improve the health of our species, remember to protect them and fight for their rights, whenever they need it.
They are there when we need them most. May their behavior also mirror our good deeds.
By Jezebel Handel
La Nación newspaper
Epona Equine Therapy