Smoke Signals newsletter

    The West Today

The Hidden Magic of Horses in Healing 

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

—Winston Churchill

 

Two HorsesThe power of the horse helped build this country. Their strength to endure the hardships of punishing journeys and their power to sustain in the harshest of conditions made settling the West possible. These magnificent animals that tower over 6 feet tall and weigh over 1,000 pounds were the life-line for the people that risked it all to create a new and better life.

Today, this beautiful beast, revered for its power and strength, is taking on a new and equally powerful role in helping to create new and better lives. The world of equine therapy, that is, the use of horses for healing victims of trauma and substance abuse, is rapidly gaining momentum. In this issue of Smoke Signals, we take a look at some of the centers in the country that are pioneering in the use of horses to help heal women who are recovering from substance abuse and trauma. At first glance, it might seem counter intuitive to have these powerful and yes, potentially overpowering animals, working with the most vulnerable of people. But it’s pure magic in so many ways.

Two HorsesPainting a broad brush, many women who are in recovery from substance abuse, turned to a substance to mask or numb themselves from an ongoing abusive situation or horrible trauma. They often have a history of rejection, extreme lack of self-esteem, fear of inadequacy and fear of being overpowered physically. Through the use of and interaction with horses, women begin to learn trust in an environment that is emotionally and physically safe. They begin to develop relationships with these precious animals that nurture their emotions of unconditional love and respect. They begin to see a genuineness in the relationship they may have never experienced. They begin to take risks and experience respect and the importance of teamwork and community. They begin to feel safe.

Over time, most clients in these programs begin to realize that these huge animals are loving, sweet and loyal — likely feelings that they have never felt before.

horse and womanConversely, the women in these programs are exposed to the vulnerable nature of horses and their own emotional dispositions. In some cases, the center may acquire a horse that has always been part of a herd. These horses can exhibit emotional distress and separation anxiety. The women, through working and building a trusting and loving relationship with these types of horses, help the horse heal. Along the way, they are able to see the parallel between their own trauma and the trauma the horse is going through. This creates the wonderful dynamic of empathic treatment — empathy is discovered.

There are a number of centers throughout the country that are pioneering this incredible journey of healing through horses.

The horse – their quiet power continues to be instrumental is building new and better lives.


Smoke Signals is honored to support these programs and encourages you to reach out and support the important organization of your choice. Equine Therapy is also being very effectively used in treating PTSD, depression, dementia and autism.

Below are two of the centers near and dear to our hearts:

Vista Hill, San Diego, CA
www.vistahill.org

Mahala’s Hope at Reilly’s Ranch of Recover, Eden, WI
www.mahalashope.com

—Jayne Skeff


 


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Mission Statement

Smoke Signals blows your way from High Noon Western Americana of Los Angeles, California, producers of the High Noon Antique Show & Auction for 25 years (1991-2014). Smoke Signals eMagazine was founded in 2010 from a desire to share thoughts and facts with the High Noon community and look at what is going on in the Western world while feeding our readers with great recipes and giving advertisers a chance to blow their own smoke.

And hopefully we educate along the way.

Linda Kohn Sherwood, Editor


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