I was actually a little nervous when I first got there, because things didn't seem to be going well. I found the address where I was supposed to go, but it was just a private building and no signs on the doors or anything. So I didn't even know how I was supposed to get in. I mean, there were doors, but none of them were clearly a door for customers or clients or whatever. I ended up knocking on one of the doors. A Hispanic man opened it. The reason I've specified that he was Hispanic is because he didn't really speak English so it was hard to tell him why I was there and who I was looking for, but he did let me in. Then the barn manager, who was a lady with two dogs, told me that the therapist I was supposed to be meeting had gone off to run errands. She let me go into the "club room" to wait. At this point I was really confused because, although everyone was nice, nobody seemed to know why I was there. But the barn manager had two dogs, a black lab and a German shepherd. The German shepherd was only a puppy.
I was waiting for a long time. I had left my phone in the car and there were no clocks in the room, but I just started to suspect that the time my appointment was supposed to be at had come and gone quite a while ago. I wondered if the therapist had forgotten about me. I thought about just getting up and leaving. I started feeling pretty disappointed that it hadn't worked out.
But I'm glad I didn't leave, because eventually the therapist showed up! It turned out, she had written the time wrong in her calendar. She was really nice though.
We walked through the barn to where her horse was. Then I was starting to understand why nobody seemed to know why I was there. The farm was basically a stable where people could board their horses. The therapist boards her horse there, and is allowed to use the rooms there, but the other people I'd seen there were just workers at the stable, and had nothing to do with equine therapy.
ANYWAYS... The therapist introduced me to her horse, and she asked me a bunch of questions about whether I was comfortable around horses and whether I had any experience with them. Although I really haven't had any experience with horses, I felt pretty comfortable to go inside the stable. The therapist gave me carrots to feed to the horse, and the horse ate them out of my hand! I think the horse liked me because she kept nuzzling me with her nose and she even licked me a few times, just like a dog!
Most of the time for the session, it was just like a regular counseling session, talking about my experiences and problems and stuff. Except, the whole time, I was brushing, petting, and interacting with the horse!
|I didn't have my phone to take a picture of the horse, but this is very similar to|
what she looked like.
Beforehand, the therapist had mentioned that being around a horse can help someone learn to ease their anxiety, because in order to be around a horse you have to take deep breaths and feel calm, since they can sense your emotions. But I didn't even have to try to be calm around the horse... it just happened naturally!
So. Originally I was thinking I'd do this maybe once a month. But I was able to get so much out of it, I think I want to do it more often. Of course I will have to pay every time I go. So I am thinking of quitting the social skills group I joined, and using the money to pay for equine therapy instead. I feel bad for dropping out when I just joined, but I just can't afford to pay hundreds of dollars a month on therapy, and I really think I will benefit a lot more when there is a horse involved.
When I first mentioned horse therapy, the blogger from C-ing Spots left a great comment about how awesome horses were and how much I would love being around them. I think she was definitely right! I can't wait to go back!