At Courage Reins, we see clients with various physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Our programs are designed with our clients’ unique needs in mind, with the goal of achieving the best and most therapeutic experience possible. We offer four specialized approaches to equine therapy in an effort to reach as many individuals as possible while maintaining a high level of proficiency in each program.
In enhanced therapy, we perform what is called “Hippotherapy.” Don’t be deceived, we’re still using horses. Hippotherapy refers to the use of the horse as a medical treatment strategy and not as a method to teach riding. This type of session is a recognized medical treatment millieu in making gains with various impairments, functional limitations, and individuals experiencing neuromuscular dysfunctions. We use a wide range of activities on the horse that are meaningful to the client. Treatment takes place in a controlled environment where graded sensory input can elicit appropriate adaptive responses to improve neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can then be generalized to a wide range of daily activities.
As strange as it may seem, adding a horse to the psychotherapy and learning equation may be the missing piece you’ve been looking for. Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand their ability to influence people in incredibly powerful ways. The benefits of a good work ethic, personal responsibility and assertiveness, effective communication, and healthy relationships have been seen as contributing significantly to happy, well-balanced individuals. Horses naturally help us in acquiring these benefits. The use of horses is growing and gaining in popularity with the rise of new approaches in working with the horses, such as Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) activities. EAP incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse to address treatment goals. EAL focuses on educational goals and the acquisition of a variety of life skills. These goals or skills can be defined by the individual or group.
There’s a special bond between horses and humans — a relationship and understanding that has to be experienced to be fully understood. It’s this unique, gentle connection that makes horsemanship a leading form of animal-enhanced therapeutic healing. Leave those problems at the gate and experience the calming effect of connecting with a horse. We take the therapist out of the equation. Instead, highly trained volunteers and our experienced, loving horses help guests set and meet personal goals aimed at improving their quality of life. Proven benefits of natural horsemanship include strengthened leadership skills, improved self awareness, improved interpersonal abilities/connection, gained confidence, and the ability to thrive and collaborate in a team environment.
Horseback riding for those with disabilities is recognized as one of the more progressive forms of therapy. The ability to control a horse as well as one’s own body inspires self-confidence, responsibility, and teamwork. Best of all, it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, which creates a special relationship between rider and horse and offers continually changing opportunities for growth.