The six important mental health benefits of equine therapy

There are other benefits animals provide humans beyond the pet-owner relationship other than the exceptional amount of emotional support. For centuries, animals have provided humans with extraordinary health-promoting benefits, such as horses for therapeutic horseback riding Virginia and equine-assisted psychotherapy, among many others.

With equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) currently among one of the most effective therapy methods with scientifically-proven results, it’s not surprising to find professionals or equine-assisted therapeutic riding center near me.

What are the health benefits of equine therapeutic horseback riding Virginia? Well, horse assisted therapy offers a variety of therapeutic settings, which includes using horses for counseling sessions and treatment for numerous mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), just to name a few.

Trust and empathy

Horseback riding therapy enabled patients to learn and understand the value of trust between the horse and the rider. It also helps develop empathy in establishing the relationship between horse and patient.

Horses are sensitive creatures in such a way that it closely resembles human emotional behaviors, where verbal and non-verbal interactions are responsible for responses that take place within the riding session.

Problem-solving skills

The horseback riding session enables the patient-rider to enhance their mental ability to allow the horse to follow commands to make it go, turn left or right, prance, speed up, or slow down. Horses do not generally follow direct commands, rather, are more perceptive of emotional triggers that control their responses.

Emotional awareness

Since horses are sensitive to their surroundings and the people around them, they usually sense emotions and adjust their behavior accordingly. This is why their patient-riders are taught to learn how to adjust their emotions to allow the horses to respond accordingly throughout the riding session.

Social skills

Horses are social animals and know how to discern signals and cues from another horse or people in close contact with them. While horseback riding is already therapeutic in itself, the ability to socialize is promoted through the sharing of experiences and becomes a catalyst for discussion and interaction with the therapist or another person.

Impulse control

Horse therapy helps train patients to exercise self-control and delay gratification, which is critical in the decision-making process. It helps to achieve impulse control by not immediately giving in to whims or qualms, like in horse therapy where a rider is taught to resist the urge to pressure the horse to bolt or travel faster.


The feeling of confidence is bolstered once the patient-rider is comfortable and in con troll of the riding situation and lets the horse willingly follow commands and appropriately responds.

The health benefits of therapeutic horseback riding Virginia are truly compelling and revolutionary. It has given true value to the meaning of a symbiotic relationship that encourages a more healthful and peaceful co-existence between man and animal to promote wellness and improve quality of life.