“There is nothing so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse.” Speaking from experience I can honestly say that horses are one of the most therapeutic animals to work with. Without vocalization, horses are able to provide you with the comfort and security so many people seek during periods of hardships, insecurities, pain, and loss. That is why horses are a central and critical component of a ranch that seeks to address the traumatic experiences faced by survivors of sexual exploitation.
Horses are able to love us when we cannot yet love ourselves. They don’t see us for the mistakes we made, or judge us due to the circumstances we have been put in, but they love us just for who we. They accept our brokenness, and instead of exploiting it, they love it. They get to know a voice and recognize a familiar face. They’re always willing to listen and provide a nose to kiss when needed. They want nothing more than to give love and receive love. In my personal life, there have been many times where I go out to the barn on the days where I want to do nothing more than cry, vent, or sit in silence and de-stress. In all of these cases the same soft nicker, and a nose pressing against my chest greet me. This greeting, and the look of love in my horse’s eye is all I need to know I am loved, and that when everything seems to be falling apart around me, there is always someone looking forward to the next time they get to see me. And that is one of the most powerful things in the world.
Horses provide us with confidence and a sense of self-worth. They are not small animals. They are big, powerful, and have a mind of their own. Learning to work with, trust, and being able to control these animals is no easy feat. In doing so, one gains confidence in their abilities. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. Once you start understanding how to work with these powerful creatures, you gain confidence. With an increase in confidence, comes a sense of believing in yourself. This can carry over into how you approach everyday tasks. The more you work with horses, you’ll find yourself more confident and comfortable around them. This improvement means you’re allowing yourself to open up.
Through working with these animals, you accept their personalities, and the quirks that make them who they are. In order to accept the personalities of the horses, a person first has to open themselves up to the animals. In doing this, the healing process begins. As the girl who was always bullied, I have first-hand experience in how this works. When the world knocked me down and told me I was nothing, the Lord provided me with an escape through the horses. Through working with them, I was able to find out more about myself, and my confidence in who I am and my abilities grew tremendously. I am the person I am, due to my involvement with horses.
Horses help us heal. They take away stress, give us confidence, provide us with social skills learned through a nonverbal situation, and provide us exercise without the effort of going to a gym. Horses provide us with a sense of true friendship and acceptance. Once you earn their trust and their affection, there is nothing in this world that will bring such a sense of belonging and love as walking into the barn and hearing that nicker. And to a broken person, that can, and often is, vital. They need the love and acceptance the horses are longing to give. That’s unconditional love, provided straight from the horse’s mouth.