There are many different types of therapy to help people with anxiety disorders. One of the most interesting is equine therapy. Equine therapy relieves anxiety by using horses to help promote and model emotional growth. Equine therapy is great for troubled youth, especially when they are resistant to other types of therapy. Therapists who utilize equine therapy generally teach many lessons that focus on the horse itself, how they learn, follow instructions, and react. These lessons can then be transferred to the troubled person, providing them with a different example and outlet for their troubles.
Students also learn how to lead horses, which is very effective therapeutically. Pulling on the lead rope is ineffective, and the students learn that the best way to lead a horse is by being by its side.
Typically, when students are just starting out with equine therapy, the instructor will stand the horse in the middle of an arena. The person receiving therapy is then supposed to get the horse to move outside of the circle in the arena without touching the horse. Generally, students will yell, whistle or clap, but these tactics will not make the horse move. This lesson illustrates how, no matter who it is (parents, teachers, friends, etc.), getting someone to do something by yelling or being forceful is not the best way.
When taught correctly, equine therapy relives anxiety, depression, attention deficit, and conduct behaviors, and has been shown to increase confidence, self-efficacy, communication, perspective, self-acceptance, self-concept, impulse control, social skills, and trust.