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EQUINE THERAPY

Equine therapy is a form of experiential therapy that involves a person safely interacting with horses for the purpose of social-emotional and relationship skills building, building connection with self and others, and personal development.

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It can sometimes include horsemanship activities such as grooming or going for walks on the beach to promote physical, occupational, and emotional growth. It is led by equine specialists and learning facilitators with extensive knowledge of horses, herd dynamics, individual characteristics and a keen eye for health and safety, to provide a unique and insightful interactive experience.

Designed for people of all ages, equine therapy has been shown to treat a wide range of mental health issues, addressing both physical and psychological concerns associated with a diagnosis. That is why it is often touted as an alternative aid for helping persons with a myriad of afflictions from anxiety, to depression, dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to name a few.

Stevey & Maxime share a common goal - to provide revolutionary personal development programs for all walks of life. All horse-assisted modalities can have significant associated mental health benefits. 

Maxime Willems
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HOW CAN EQUESTRIAN THERAPY & EXPERIENCES HELP?

How It Helps?

Equine experiences in general can fulfil mental and emotional support, and can be a strong addition to room-based therapy, where clients, rather than only ‘talking about’, learn to actively participate in their support sessions by doing and exploring. 

What sets equine therapy apart is the remarkable way horses instantly react to a person's breath, energy, and intentions. This unique dynamic gently reveals hidden aspects of human behaviour, unveiling deep-seated emotional triggers and pain. As a result, equine therapy becomes a potent means to cultivate conscious leadership and enhance emotional intelligence.

During these sessions, participants acquire tangible skills for enhancing emotional well-being, establishing boundaries, earning respect, and substituting aggression or anxiety with poised assertiveness. These empowering experiences are beneficial for individuals seeking to improve their communication skills, whether in a personal or professional setting.

Team Wellbeing
Wellness with Horses

Some of the things you can expect to address in a session may include: 

  • Calming our nervous system

  • Increasing focus & concentration

  • Embracing unique talents & skills

  • Growing self-esteem & building confidence

  • Developing healthy relationships, including couple & family relationships 

  • Grief & loss

  • Trauma & depression

  • Healthy emotional expression & regulation 

  • Exploring (un-)helpful behavioural patterns

  • Experimenting with blocks/obstacles/motivations

  • Enhancing communication skills

  • Working around personal boundaries

Equine Assisted Therapy Benefits

Equine therapy stands out due to the horses' immediate response to an individual's breath, energy, and intentions. This extraordinary connection delicately brings to light concealed human traits, uncovering deeply rooted emotional triggers and pain. As a result, equine therapy proves to be a powerful tool for nurturing conscious leadership and advancing emotional intelligence. This renowned and globally recognised healing process has garnered widespread acclaim for its ability to profoundly transform the lives of individuals across the world.

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“Horses have finely tuned senses such as hearing, smell and touch. Horses can also sense our emotional state, even when we are not aware of it. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is not about horsemanship or dominating the horses nor about riding, but about becoming a guest member of the herd. Horses will then naturally reflect what is going on for that person emotionally at this time. The experience occurs without words and therefore there is no risk of miscommunication via spoken language.”

 

– Dr Anja Kriegeskotten 

Australian Psychiatrist & Equine Specialist.

WHY HORSES?

Interacting with horses inspires us to remain in the present moment. As prey animals, horses have developed a remarkable sensitivity to their surroundings. They respond to our non-verbal cues and body language with immediate authenticity, offering invaluable insights and feedback on our personal presence and relational dynamics. With their non-judgmental, highly perceptive nature, horses accompany us on a journey of self-discovery, providing a safe space to experiment with new ways of being and encouraging us to release behaviours that no longer serve us.

Why Horses?

Experienced therapy horses are carefully selected for their exceptional ability to remain unfazed by distractions and their capacity to handle unpredictable or erratic human behaviour. These horses, renowned for their remarkable patience, keen perception, and emotional acuity, possess the ability to reflect human emotions without judgment.

 

In contrast to traditional household pets like dogs and cats, horses are unreserved creatures, unafraid to provide immediate and unfiltered feedback. Moreover, horses cannot be controlled in the conventional sense due to their size and power; instead, collaboration is key. As individuals in therapy build a bond and learn how to guide and communicate with such a large and formidable partner, a profound process of emotional healing and newfound clarity often unfolds.

“Horses taught me how to be present and to be aware of what’s going on around us. How to come back to a sense of calm after riding a wave of anxiety or anger. How to authentically relate to others and clearly express personal boundaries without feeling the need to apologise. They have so much wisdom and kindness to share."

 

- Maxime Willems

Maxime Willems - Equine Therapy
MEET THE HORSES

MEET THE HORSES

The horses used for all equine experiences are well seasoned animals who have rich histories and backgrounds of their own. They have been specially selected due to their consistent nature and individual personality traits, making them the ideal match for ground work sessions. 

Smurfette and Sensitivo

Sensitivo

It's in the name. Sensitivo was named literally on her debut ride with the Murphys as they found her to react to just about every emotion thrown her way. On the ground, she is the very same sensitive creature, reading, watching and reacting in her honest self. You can rely on her to be a mirror to our inner selves.

Morrocco

Morocco

Morocco would be seen as the boss mare of the group. She dominates the role of overseer and creates movement when things are just a bit too still for her liking. She likes everything to be on her terms, whether thats affectionate attention from us or her herd, she decides!

Oakley

Oakley

Oakley is the sweetest boy. He loves going off for long walks in the paddock seeking peace and quiet away from the herd. He is the perfect advocate for youngsters and adult first timers around horses. He offers a safe space and emits a sense of wisdom, allowing anyone hesitant to embrace his calming energy.

For more information and for private bookings please go to Maxime Willems Therapy & Training

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