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History and What is Therapeutic Horesmanship?

Those who are familiar with horses recognise, appreciate and understand their incredible power to influence people and the therapeutic benefits of interaction with horses which dates back centuries.  Horses were used for therapeutic riding and ancient Greek literature documented the therapeutic value of horses in 600 B.C. In more recent times, the benefits of Hippotherapy (where mounted activities are used to improve physical well being) were recognised and the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) was established.


Recently, Therapeutic Horsemanship has been developed for the purpose of contributing positively to the social, cognitive, emotional and physical well-being of individuals through the use of groundwork techniques and activities with horses.  It provides benefits in the areas of health, education, sport and recreation & leisure to help improve emotional and mental well-being.  Participants will learn about themselves and others through the use of interactive groundwork activities and techniques. Theraputic Horsemanship is widley used in other countries and is becoming more recognised in the UK due to the associated benefits as follows:




























Theraputic Horsemanship can, at the very least, give participants a feeling of improved wellbeing and achievement.  You do not have to have a problem or special need to come to us. Some people attend for personal challenge and development, to build confidence or increase self-awareness.

Cognative Benefits:


Planning, following direction/instruction

Skills building

Problem solving

Safety awareness

Environmental awareness

Attention to task

Pysical Benefits:

An effective form of release

Being in the great outdoors will enhance a sense of happiness

Help to feel less stressed with a general feeling of well-being. 

Emotinal Benefits:


Self-esteem and confidence building

Empathy development

Assertiveness and encouraging responsibility

Human-Animal bonding

Coping techniques and impulse control

Positive relationship building and social skills

Problem solving skills

Communication and trust

Decreased isolation and self-acceptance

Improving awareness and mindfulness boundaries

Enhancing choice-making and goal-setting skills


Social Benefits:


Integrations with others

Communication skills

Leadership skills

Non-verbal communication and understanding

What Therapeutic Horsemanship Is Not?

No riding will take place at any time. We do not provide any councelling or psychotherapy.

Why We Use Horses?

Although other animals can be used for therapeutic purposes, horses have become the most popular animal to use because they have so much to teach us about various forms of communication. As prey animals, horses have evolved to have highly developed instincts. They don’t use words but can convey and communicate using body language, movement, and posture on a very subtle level. People are continually communicating although they may not be aware of it, everything we do, feel, say and even think sends out a message. Horses help people become aware of how they communicate on every level – mentally, verbally, physically and emotionally.  They give immediate feedback about your own actions and body language through mirroring. A horse cannot pretend or hide his feelings but they can read hidden intent. If you are nervous or tense in anyway or hiding fear or in denial (although you may think you are hiding these feelings), the horse will change their behaviour depending on the emotions and energy around them and it therefore may be easier for us to read our own emotions and reactions when mirrored in the horses behaviour. This feedback will help people learn to act and react appropriately and helps even the most challenging groups or individuals deal with any emotional issues.


Fun and enjoyment can come out of working with our horses. Our activities are very hands on and participants may not feel they are involved in a learning session. A horse can appear large, intimidating and powerful. To achieve the ability to communicate with and control a +500kg animal can take confidence levels to great heights.  This requires their handler to overcome fear and gain trust around the horse through emotional growth and learning, all of which can be transferred to potential challenging situations in life.


Just like humans, horses are social animals.  They have clear roles and boundaries within their herd and live by a pecking order.  Horses display individual personalities, attitudes and moods and also like to have fun.  One method of working with a horse won’t necessarily work with another which is why the horse provides an excellent comparison to what may really be going on with the client.

Horses4Help CIC

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