As horse owners and riders, we know the benefits that spending time with these incredible animals gives us including fresh air and exercise, but also unseen benefits, namely better mental health.
There have been many studies and articles on the impact of animals, and horses in particular, to healing trauma or helping those with physical and intellectual challenges. Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) have been part of many therapy programs for veterans, first responders, troubled youth, incarcerated people, and others who struggle including marginalized persons. We’ve written about various programs and fundraising on our site over the years as well.
Word has spread of the wonders of horses well beyond the equestrian community. This month, two global leaders from non-horse related fields ‒ one in fashion, one in alternative medicine ‒ have joined forces to create a new EAT initiative. Stella McCartney, designer, horsewoman, daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney, and Deepak Chopra have launched Healing Power of Horses to promote equine therapy on a large scale.
“Horses have saved my soul so many times,” McCartney says in a promotional video on the new website. Working with the Chopra Foundation’s mental health initiative, Never Alone, McCartney is hoping to raise awareness, especially for teens, for how horses and equine therapy can help those struggling with mental health issues.
The website offers a directory for where you can access equine therapy (currently the interactive map works only in the US), testimonials from patients, a video with Andreas Liefooghe, founder of UK-based equine therapy facility, Operation Centaur, explaining why horses are great therapists, and a guided meditation by Deepak Chopra himself.
While the mental health benefits of horses isn’t news to those of us who already spend countless hours at the barn, it’s a good reminder that we should never take our equine partners for granted, or underestimate how much they help us even when we don’t realize it.