We call L’équithérapie a medical supplement that uses the horse as a therapeutic partner in order to achieve goals set according to the specialty of the therapist.Equithapy is essentially an activity with the horses. It is important to learn the functioning of the animal and it’s helpful to kids and youngsters.
The goal of the project:
The aim of this activity was to help youth to become more self-confident and that they can feel being able to carry out the tasks by themselves. It was important to show them one or two times and after they are confident enough, leave them alone to carry out the tasks. During the activities I had to teach youngsters not to be afraid of the animal and how to be able to understand it in its whole.
Each meeting we took a lot of time to clean the horse because this part is very important so the youngsters can tame the animal. After each activity they were less and less afraid about it. Physical contact with the animal is a very important part of this therapy, so we did some exercices about touching, how to approach the animal, understand their gestures and to know how to comunicate with the horse nonverbally. I taught them to be calm in front of them, because animals are very clever and they feel the younsters mood. I also taught how to guide the horses on the ground. We worked in freedom, like walk in front of the animal, but to be careful about the animals unpredictable behaviour. Week after week the youngers created a little team, and they helped each other when I asked them questions and gave exercises. When they asked questions about horses I took my time to answer them and they showed that they would like to know more about them.
The process of conducting the project:
My thoughts, emotions, conclusions. Each thursday we had two hours with horses, so we spend around one hour to clean the animal, then we had 45 minutes to do the activity and clean them again. When we could go to the head of the ranch I used accessories to create some activity like games, like slaloms and such. Most of the time I had three youngsters so I took my time with them individually. In this time the others worked alone.
Now: They know how to put on the halter, how to clean and handle a horse and know how to react and behave in front of them.