Building Healthier Relationships through Equine Therapy

In equine therapy, students learn about communication and relationships. The horses provide a powerful mirror for our students– reflecting their moods as well as verbal and nonverbal communication from the student. This mirror from the horses enables our students to evaluate and change their communication patterns and relationship styles.

For instance, when students learn the concepts of pressure and release with horses during a session, they can begin to understand how to apply and respond to these similar pressures in relationships with friends and family. With this knowledge, students learn to improve communication and how to be constructively assertive. Equine therapy at Solstice East residential treatment center builds emotional regulation, better communication skills, self-awareness, and mindfulness.

How Equine Therapy Relates to Life

Over time, people can develop relational patterns that become entrenched and damaging to building healthy, productive relationships. These patterns are typically a result of loss, stress, depression, trauma, or pathology. While these patterns may at one time have helped them survive, they have become problems that undermine intimacy, trust, and understanding in one’s relationships.

When a student works with a horse, they receive honest, immediate feedback that is completely informed by the way a student communicates verbally and non-verbally with the horse in the moment. This enables students to receive this honest feedback and adjust communication patterns with others based on this information.

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During my time at Solstice East I was able to let my guard down and trust people. I was able to build strong bonds again.

Allison, 16, on her struggles with relationships