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Horses are large, powerful, often intimidating animals, but they are also uniquely sensitive, forgiving and honest. They are very social animals, living in family groups, or herds. They are very perceptive to non-verbal communication, and due to their instincts being prey animals, will react accordingly. This allows the therapy team, made up of an Equine Specialist (ES) and a licensed Mental Health Professional (MH) to to see behaviors and patterns that may not come to light in a standard therapy setting.
The purpose of the horse is to read and react to non-verbal communication offered by the client. Because of their instincts as prey animals, horses will react to that non-verbal communication and people around them must change their own thoughts, attitudes and behaviors to get different results. This allows one to confront their own behavior and attitude. The horse can also act as a metaphor for relationships, giving the therapy team a unique insight to the client's perspective on issues.