Horse therapy for PTSD

Therapeutic encounters with horses have been shown to help heal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Recent studies in America with a group of veterans showed a significant drop in PTSD levels after therapeutic horse riding.

Six weeks of horsemanship sessions reduced their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) scores by 87 per cent.

After three weeks of hourly sessions, the veterans were measured using specific military PTSD checklists as well as other tests. They were measured again after six weeks to see if any improvements were made.  The participants had experienced a significant decrease in PTSD scores. A decrease of over 65 per cent after three weeks. After six weeks there was a decrease of 87 per cent in the PTSD scores.

Faced with a traumatic experience, a person may often internalise the trauma emotions. As a result, they are left with unprocessed emotions. This causes  PTSD. Part of the healing process is to resolve the trauma.

Dogs and other domestic animals are also known for providing therapeutic support. Unlike dogs which trust instinctively, horses are hyper-vigilant until they learn they are in a safe environment. Because people with PTSD can also be hyper-vigilant, they can relate to the trust of the horse.

When someone does equine-assisted therapy, a trust develops between the client and the horse. Then the non-judgmental acceptance of a horse enables patients to feel safe enough to be themselves.

The team at Retreat South strive to provide a range of approaches to dealing with the complex condition that PTSD can be. Equine-assisted therapy is one of these approaches. For more information about how Retreat South can help you on your path to recovery call us today.