Foster & Adaptive Families - The Benefits of Equine Therapy

Adjusting to a new family can be stressful and difficult for children in care. These children are often removed from their home through no fault of their own. This is the beginning of a journey that is life changing.

These children may be the victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment. They are placed in a well intended foster home, but it is not their home, they are not their parents. The rituals and rules are different. The food is different, everything is different! This can be a nightmare.

Horses are bred for a sport based on what their parents accomplished, horses are not asked what would you like to do? Jump, work cows, pull a carriage. They are given a job, no questions asked. Children that have no choice in where they live or with whom they live often try to fight for what they want or run a way, similar to horses. This is a natural response, we get it, horses are the same.

Equine therapy allows us to consider some other ways that we can deal with these issues.

When you bring a new horse home to the farm, it is just like adding a new member to your family. They don’t know the rules of the barn, when you eat or what you eat. They are turned out into the field and the other members of the herd or family tell them who is in charge. They either fight for their place in the herd or family or they run and hide. After a while things settle down and your place is found.

Using horses we are able to discuss the process through demonstration, it is less personal, but the example and ability to say, “I know how that horse feels,” gives us the ability to address those fears and how to handle them. We are able to talk about what will make you feel better, more comfortable. What questions would you like to ask the horse. What would you say to him? Do you think he feels good or bad? This type of therapy gives everyone involved a voice an opportunity to express their feelings.