WHO: Military Personel, Victims of Violent Crimes, Natural Disaster Survivors
PTSD/Anxiety disorders – Anxiety and PTSD are often birthed from traumatic events that the individual didn't anticipate and had no control over. Equine involved opportunities can provide tools for individuals with anxiety disorders/PTSD begin to regain confidence and a sense of security. When handling a horse is mastered, the same concepts can be applied to one’s own circumstances. When someone learns to control their thought patterns and reactions with the horses, what they have learned can be applied to events that were previously paralyzing.
People who have PTSD live in a state of hyper-vigilance and can feel threatened by everyday events. Horses, being prey animals, exist in a similar state and they effectively mirror the mood, body language, and behavior of the people around them. By interacting with horses, people with PTSD will often see their own emotional state mirrored in the reactions of the horse.
Horses also force people to take charge, be assertive, enforce boundaries, and to step outside of their comfort zones. Interacting authoritatively with an animal much larger than the individual can empower the person living with anxiety. These new confidences remind the individual's thought life to choose to respond appropriately recognizing the control the individual can have if he chooses.