When it comes to figuring out the recipe for success for troubled teen boys, many parents will do just about anything. While therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers frequently make a difference in the lives of troubled teens, one type of therapy is making experts sit up and take notice–equine therapy at a boy’s ranch.
Equine therapy is a cognitive-based therapy using trained horses that helps troubled teens replace current coping skills and behaviors with new ones that are better suited to establishing and maintaining healthy relationships and work better in staying on the right path in school, work and at hoe. Many skeptics don’t understand what an important role equine therapy can play in the healing process of a troubled teen boy. The benefits of an equine therapy component in an overall program are quite high.
Here are 5 reasons why a boys ranch with equine therapy may be a troubled teen boy’s best chance at finding success:
1. Horses are neutral. By the time troubled teen boys arrive at a teen help facility, they are usually angry, sad and don’t trust adults. Horses are neutral to the teens, and they don’t argue, judge or criticize. Teens can start working with horses right away and their unique aspects often entice otherwise reluctant teens to interact.
2. Horses respond to their caregiver’s emotions. When the caregiver is sullen, angry, loud or aggressive, horses won’t respond positively. In order to get horses to obey commands, teens must learn to control themselves, present a calm exterior and focus on the horse’s needs above their own.
3. Horses reward good behavior. When a horse’s caregiver is gentle but firm and in control of mind and body, the horse responds accordingly by being obedient, giving affection and deepening the trust relationship. Teens learn what they need to do to build and sustain healthy relationships when working with horses.
4. Horses take a lot of care. Because so much goes into feeding, grooming and working with horses, troubled teen boys can focus on their new friends instead of their own problems. They also gain self-confidence and new skills as they provide care for the horses. Also, troubled teen boys learn to take responsibility for another and realize consequences if they do not.
5. Horses require flexibility. When it comes to caring for and working with horses, very few things are on a schedule. Teens must be prepared for the unexpected, and quickly learn to adapt as new challenges arise. Using the coping skills they learn in working with horses greatly benefits them in their human relationships.
Equine therapy at a boys ranch offers troubled teen boys with emotional, behavioral and social challenges a unique environment in which to safely work through their issues. When a teen learns to communicate with and work with a horse, the inter-personal relationships with the humans in his life greatly improves.