Therapy Incorporating Equines and Nature
The incorporation of equines (i.e., horses and donkeys) and the equine environment into the therapy process by a licensed mental health practitioner provides clients an alternative to the traditional office setting. In choosing to include a more natural and experiential environment with your therapist, you still receive the same clinical treatment as you would in the office, but with the added benefit of interacting with equines and the outdoors. Relating to horses together with your therapist in nature creates a unique therapeutic synergy to enhance the treatment experience.
The relationship between humans and equines has demonstrated general wellness and psychological benefits for centuries and as far back as the Days of Hippocrates. The human-animal bond benefits are well documented in research and promulgated across medical and public spheres. Studies highlight that simple contact with an animal can lower blood pressure and respiratory rates and provide a sense of wellbeing and calmness. We also know the healing power of a human’s connection with nature is universal and innate. Integrating equines and the outdoors in a farm environment into already effective mental health treatment enriches the treatment process. Research also demonstrates this alternative to a traditional office setting is an important factor in motivation for humans to participate in and stay in therapy.
Equines are acutely adept and swift to process information via their sensory organs. They are continuously scanning their environment seeking serenity, calmness, safety, and survival. They are innately relational with a high need for socialization with their species. Their uncanny ability to process and respond to environmental stimuli in the here-and-now equips them to provide authentic and immediate feedback about how they perceive their surroundings without judgement. Their natural state of being and authenticity in nature and therapeutic milieu helps clients self-reflect and translate these insights into their personal growth endeavors.
Qualified licensed Mental health clinicians integrate the human-equine-nature triad into the therapy process in a manner that helps clients reach their therapeutic goals while enabling them to simultaneously experience the regenerative power of this interconnectedness in the moment.
Each Horse and Donkey has a unique personality. One trait they all have in common, though, is their gentle and kind demeanor.
Leotie is a young Mustang mare who was once wild living in the vastness of the Salt Wells, Wyoming open range until she was nearly 5 years old.
In 2016 she was adopted by her human and has underwent significant training to gentle and transition her to a life of domestication. As a once wild prey animal, her heightened sensory abilities enabling her to read and respond to human interactions are unsurpassed. She is very gentle and kind, and energetic.
Joey is an elderly and wise Spotted Saddle horse whose lived a long active life. He is a gentle and caring soul and keeps a close watch over the herd. Joey is highly trained and has many years of experience trail riding and competing in shows and obstacle courses with his human partner. Joey still enjoys his active lifestyle of pleasure riding.
Tehya is a young Jenny (aka female) Burro that lived the life as a wild burro roaming the Mojave Desert in Arizona until she was gathered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the age of 3.5 yrs. Tehya was adopted by her human shortly after her gather in 2018 and was 10 months pregnant at the time. She is now a trained, gentle and loving equine with strong prey instincts. Tehya is the mother of Lewana.
Lewana is the foal of Tehya. She was born Sep 25, 2018. She is very playful and social. She loves attention. Lewana is the farm’s protector and often the first equine to greet visitors when they arrive to assess their intentions with the herd.
Sally joined her new family as a 6 year old feral burro. She was gathered by the BLM in 2017 from the Twin Peaks, California region and remained in a government holding facility in California until adopted and brought to her forever home with Dr. Hall in 2020. Don’t let that strong stoic face fool you. She is a gentle-loving soul and a real “smart ass”.
Cookie S’more joined her new family as a 2 year old feral burro. She was gathered by the BLM in 2018 from the Buffalo Hills, Nevada region as a foal and remained in a government holding facility in California until adopted and brought to her forever home with Dr. Hall in 2020. Cookie is super sweet as her name suggests. The youthful and affectionate presence emerging from this young Jenny is heartwarming to behold.
In addition to individual psychotherapy that includes equines, Ray of Hope Counseling Services also offers the following group therapies that incorporate equine interactions.
• Military/Veteran specific group therapy
• Teen skill building, ages 12-17 group therapy
For more information about adding equine interactions and a natural environment to your therapy, please contact the Ray of Hope Counseling Services main office at 678-213-2194 to schedule an initial clinical assessment or speak with one of our clinical staff.