Written and submitted by Jenny H.
Animals have become man’s best friends. They are always there when we need them the most, and are our ultimate healers. Therefore, many organizations have turned to animal-assisted therapy as a way for medical patients to improve their physical and emotional support during treatment. Most of this therapy is geared towards dog lovers; however, there is an increasing focus on horses and equine-assisted therapy.
Unlike many other domestic animals, horses give patients a feeling of empowerment. Horses are big and powerful animals that may be intimidating to some. This creates a natural opportunity to overcome this fear and develop confidence. When patients can overcome this fear, it helps them develop confidence in taking on other fearful situations, such as their medical condition and treatment. When you care for a horse, you gain a new sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.
Horses are just like us. They like to be in a social environment, but are sometimes stubborn. This creates an opportunity to learn how to deal with individuals and situations where people do not get their own way. Horses also mirror our body language. They will respond to you based on your behavior. If you are stubborn with a horse, he will remain defiant. However, if you can change your behavior and change yourself, the horse will reward you. This mirroring of behavior also helps patients to emulate motor movements.
Equine-Therapy Facilities Close to Wedgwood and View Ridge Neighborhoods
Situated in a great location, Wedgwood and View Ridge Neighborhoods provide easy access to facilities that provide equine-assisted therapy treatments. Here are some centers that are easily accessible to our beautiful neighborhoods.
Unbridled Counseling: Located 13 miles east of Wedgwood across Lake Washington, Unbridled Counseling uses equine-assisted therapy to address assertiveness, trust, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. Patients will learn how to take care of the horses and develop their own unique relationship with them. After various activities, patients are given the opportunity to discuss their experience and directly correlate it to other areas of their life.
Little Bit: Located 20 minutes outside of Wedgwood in Redmond, Little Bit is a therapeutic riding center which is dedicated to improving the bodies, minds, and spirits of individuals with disabilities. The adaptive riding program teaches horsemanship and riding skills tailored to the individual’s needs. The center also provides hippotherapy, which is a physical or speech-language therapy that uses horse movements to engage the motor, sensory, and cognitive system of patients. It mimics normal walking patterns and helps sensory skills and motivation for disabled patients.
Rainier Therapeutic Riding: At Rainier Therapeutic Riding, horses are used to provide physical and emotional healing for the nation’s veterans and their families. The services provided at this facility are centralized around riding for therapy and healing. This center is an hour drive from Wedgwood.