Horses display great accomplishment when they step up on a pedestal for the first time. The same sense of accomplishment shows on the face of a client when he or she first succeeds at a Horse Agility task.
Today we are seeing more and more unconventional physical and emotional therapy for recovering veterans being conducted in an outdoor setting. We at the Veterans Multi-Purpose Center realized this phenomenon many years before it was popular.
Originally, as a Vietnam veterans support organization, we always strived to develop programs that required recovering veterans to be pro-active in the recovery process. One of our recent program creations is titled EQUINE AGILITY AS THERAPY. Over the years, we have and continue to conduct programs of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Equine Assisted Learning, Equine Assisted Recreation and now Equine Agility. Most all of our programs are conducted “on the ground” no riding experience is required.
The Veterans Multi-Purpose Center is the only organization in the country using an Equine Agility program as a therapeutic modality for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other emotional conditions.
Our goal in using Equine Agility as therapy is to take a horse and a client who have both learned how to learn and are willingly and enthusiastically eager to interact in partnership in a challenge that has a great sense of accomplishment.
If you ever watched a dog going through an agility course you know that it requires the use of various props such as pedestals, cross over bridges, bouncing balls, and pass through curtains. It also requires the handler to guide the animal through the course. Horse Agility requires the same type effort and props. Equine Agility is commonly used as a competitive sport but, here at the Veterans Multi-Purpose Center we use it as a therapeutic activity that requires Focus, Patience, Sensitivity, and Persistence. All key elements necessary as coping mechanisms for PTSD treatment.
Horses display great accomplishment when they step up on a pedestal for the first time. This task/reward action is easily understood by horses, even if they at first resist. The same sense of accomplishment shows on the face of a client when he/she first succeeds at a Horse Agility task.
If we measure the horse’s intelligence by his ability to retain memory, and ability to learn, then the horse must be considered a very intelligent creature. Its memory often surpasses that of humans and its ability to learn quickly nearly always surpasses ours. Many, who know, claim the horse as the most intelligent of all domestic animals. Most horses possess intelligence that surpasses the training they receive. Horses have much to teach us if we are willing to listen.