Therapeutic Horsemanship & Equine Therapy
Building Relationships Based on Trust and Respect
Natural Horsemanship for Therapeutic Intervention represents a fundamental part of our experiential therapy program at Sedona Sky Academy.
The central aim of equine therapy is to help our struggling teen girls create healthy relationships based on mutual trust and respect.
Many times, the lack of understanding of the importance of “trust” and “respect” is the teen’s core issue.
Therefore, “trust” and “respect” becomes the focal point of the therapeutic goal. Horses are used for therapeutic purposes because they are exceptional “mirrors” for our young women.
Many of our students struggle with emotional control and their verbal and non-verbal communication.
Horses sense and reflect these emotions and behaviors. If a girl brings tension into the horsemanship therapy session, the horse will be tense.
If a girl has negative body language or acts in a way that breaks the trust of the horse, the horse will respond accordingly.
Our innovative horsemanship program extends beyond typical equine therapy as our programming teaches respect and accountability, values which many of our students have underdeveloped to date.
A Program Custom Tailored
for Each Individual Girl
The Value of Therapy with Horses
Many young women at Sedona Sky Academy have worked with multiple therapists and treatment settings and have been “superficially compliant” in therapy.
Many parents describe the feeling of trying to “fix a plane while they are flying it,” and not being able to make “traction” in therapy.
The powerful techniques and lessons introduced through Sedona Sky’s equine program are a catalyst for powerful and lasting change. The building blocks of such a relationship, in part, are based on the fact that the horse will never engage in high risk behavior, and relies on the protection of the herd. The herd has rules that keep all of its members safe.
This truth is critical to recovery, metaphorically suggesting students associate with “safe” peers and to avoid high risk behavior. Working with horses encourages the girls to seek and use new solutions when old ones fail.
The responsibility of having to care for a horse teaches students how to engage in healthy self-care, which is critical for individuals struggling with issues ranging from relationships to depression, anxiety, and high risk behavior.
Working with a horse helps the student understand the need for limits and boundaries in order for them to become productive adults.
Natural Horsemanship for Therapeutic Intervention is based on the premise that horses provide an “in the moment” therapeutic experience that promotes emotional growth and healing.
The horses provide an excellent way for the therapists to provide feedback to the students. When girls have issues of trust regarding adults (including therapists and counselors), the horses serve as a bridge to allow the therapeutic process to proceed.
Our therapists use the fruitful experience between the girl and her horse to teach lessons that parallel the life of the girl herself.
Therapeutic Natural Horsemanship has shown to have many positive benefits
- Improved self-confidence
- Healthier Boundaries
- Better Communication Skills
- More Trust
- Better Perspective on Life
- Decreased Isolation
- Improved Self-Acceptance
- Increased Impulse Control
- Better Social Skills
Teen girls are empowered as they not only learn important therapeutic lessons but master lifelong horsemanship skills. Students feel the weight of responsibility and the excitement of working with nationally recognized, prize winning blood lines.
SSA students will look back upon these lasting and impactful life lessons for years. Some of the most dedicated girls will actually take these skills and utilize them in paid positions and internships within the equestrian world, knowing that they have had some of the best training available.
Whatever their path, no girl is left untouched by the power of this experience and the magnificence of these animals. A recent study shows how horse riding has positive effects for mental health and intelligence.