More used to the offer of craft, drama or DJing as an activity to engage young people in work addressing parent abuse, I was intrigued to hear about the use of horses in therapy, specifically as an aid to understanding emotions and relationships.
HorseHeard is a not-for-profit social enterprise company with the tag line, “Experiential learning through interaction with horses”. For those not so used to being around these beasts, horses are apparently very sensitive to non-verbal communication, mood or intention and provide instant feedback to those working with them. As such they have been useful in enabling people to explore and understand feelings of self-awareness, communication or, of particular interest here, issues around parenting or challenging behaviour.
Animals have long been used therapeutically in many ways, whether as visitors to care homes, rearing and farming activity in residential schools, or training in secure young people’s establishments. Their efficacy in calming or in developing responsibility is well established, but those working with horses claim that their use in this way offers a significantly greater level of insight and change. Stables are not confined to the well-off leafy suburbs, but are also found in inner city areas, though the costs incurred in buying such interventions may prove prohibitive for many (most?).
Are there other interventions out there that we haven’t thought about before?!