Next week at LIV Durban we are relaunching our equine therapy program! Preparations are underway and we wait with excited anticipation for our three new horses to arrive on Monday. Having horses is especially exciting for us as we have seen the difference they can make to children who have gone through trauma, abuse and neglect. When some of these children arrive in the village, they are so traumatised that they will not speak to any of the other children or adults. Often we have found that being around an animal can be a great first step in making them comfortable.
A story of hope and restoration
When *Anele joined the village he hated being around people. He struggled to interact with anyone and wouldn’t talk to those who wanted to help him. Partnering *Anele with a horse assisted him to connect with his emotions again, allowing opportunity for counselling to take place and healing to happen. “Before I didn’t like to be with people but since being with the horses I don’t mind it anymore. Being friends with the horse is the best encouragement.” *Anele
We hope our new horses will bring about many changed lives and stories of hope like *Anele’s.
Why Equine Assisted Therapy?
All of the children here at LIV have gone through some form of trauma, loss, abuse and/neglect, which can cause them to emotionally shutdown and struggle to connect with humans. Equine Assisted therapy creates opportunity for the children to process unfinished business, adjust negative and unproductive behaviours, alleviate psychological distress and learn to be fully present in the moment.
Horses are a flight animal, which makes them very sensitive to what is happening around them. When faced with a non-threatening child, they can show extraordinary understanding of the situation.
The children are able to influence and control these huge animals, giving them a sense of control over their own lives in the process.
It is known that interaction with horses aids in lowering blood pressure, brings a positive change in neurochemicals and lowers stress/anxiety levels. It is proven to be beneficial for building trust, confidence, social skills, emotional awareness, problem solving and empathy. There are also real health benefits for children with developmental disorders or cerebral palsy. The movement of the horse has proven to make a big difference in the quality of life for these children, especially as a means of improving coordination, balance and strength. It is unbelievably fulfilling to see the smiles that abound from the children when they are able to interact with horses