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How do Horses Help in Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery?

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Participants in the Lower Lights Recovery program visit Quiet Pastures of Green Oaks every other Friday for Equine Therapy. (Also known as horse-assisted therapy or H.A.T.)

The women's day at the horse farm usually starts with a devotional or time of meditation and a bible lesson. They will then start on their chores by looking after the horses; feeding them and cleaning out the stables. After eating a meal together the women get to have time with the horses which include walking and riding them.

How does Equine Therapy (or Horse Assisted Therapy) Help in Drug Addiction Treatment?

Horses have keen sensitivity to the changes of a person's emotional and mental state.

Comparable to a mirror, a horse’s reaction reflects a person’s state of being, exposing emotions that the person may or may not intentionally show. A horse’s behavior helps gain self-awareness and establish trust because most people perceive horses as non-judgmental and inviting.

Studies have found Equine Therapy assists in developing the following skills: confidence, self-efficacy, self-concept, communication, trust, perspective, decreased isolation, self-acceptance, impulse control, social skills, boundaries, and spiritual connection.

A Lower Lights drug addiction treatment and recovery participant who has frequently received horse-assisted therapy has shared her thoughts on what visiting the horse farms has meant to her...

"The horse farms are an amazing place to go to feed your soul. I've learned how to quiet my mind and listen close to the world around me. I have built a relationship with the horses the way God intended for me to. A lot like me the horses were found abused and starving and they have been nursed back to health just like being in recovery has nursed me back to health. The horses are survivors just like me. God has blessed me with a second chance and my time at the horse farms has helped me understand that." - Jackie, Lower Lights Recovery Participant

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